Despite an heroic and quite brilliant knock from Chloe Tryon who made 44 not out from 22 balls the Hurricanes had to settle for another hard fought and very close defeat.
Earlier in the calm of the early evening light, Hurricanes captain Corinne Hall won the toss and sent the Adelaide Strikers into bat.
The experienced pair of Kiwi internationals Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates set about building a very solid opening partnership, they got through the power play at 0 for 49 without too many concerns. That was despite a good all round effort with the ball and in the field by the Hurricanes. Tayla Vlaeminck bowled possibly her best opening spell of the tournament.
When the score had reached 0 for 85 at the end the 12th over the Hurricanes were in real need of a breakthrough. Then right on cue Belinda Vakarewa was clean bowled Sophie Devine for 31. It was Vakarewa’s 19th wicket of the tournament and certainly one of the most timely.
From that point on the Strikers were never really able to get away from the Hurricanes. Tahlia McGrath and Suzie Bates took the score to 111 before Bates was well caught at deep mid wicket of the bowling of Heather Knight for a well made 64 off 54 balls. An innings worthy of her 300th T20 game.
McGrath struck some long blows but the Hurricanes did well to keep the run rate in check. Tayla Vlaeminck finished with 0 for 23 off her 4 overs. Vakarewa 1 for 32 off 4. Maisy Gibson conceded just 27 runs without taking a wicket from her 4 overs, Heather Knight did her job as always and had figures of 1 for 22 after her 4 overs and Nicola Carey despite conceding 14 off her first over took 1 for 31 in her spell.
Despite losing just three wickets The Strikers finished with a good but not overwhelming total of 143. The Hurricanes knew at the half way mark they were well in the match.
The run chase began badly for the home team. Openers Fran Wilson and Erin Fazackerley both fell early and at 2 for 10 in the 3rd over the Hurricanes middle order needed to produce a recovery. Nicola Carey and Heather Knight put on 42 off 36 for the 3rd wicket before Knight fell to a sharp catch at backward point by Katie Mack for 22. Carey and Hall then chipped away at the target with a 22 run stand for the 4th wicket off 29 balls. Just as she tried to lift the run rate Carey was well caught at long on by Sophie Devine. The score was 5/103 in the 17th when Chloe Tryon joined Corinne Hall.
The South African power hitter announced her intent with 12 runs off the first three balls she faced. Well supported by Hall the pair took the score to 5 for 103 at the start of the 17th when the Hurricanes skipper was caught at leg gully by Alex Price playing a reverse sweep, she’d made a typically creative 25 off 20 balls.
Sasha Moloney walked out to the middle knowing that her primary role was to support Chloe Tryon. She made just 4 from 4 balls being well caught at deep mid wicket. That brought Maisy Gibson to the centre with the same intentions.
The Hurricanes were back in it when Chloe Tryon took 14 runs off the 18th over. Suzie Bates was on the wrong end of the onslaught. Tryon hit her first ball over long off for 6, an audacious front foot drive that was possibly one of the shots of the tournament. The following ball was hit over extra cover for 4 and the tempo of the game had changed. Tryon kept the strike and kept on finding a way to the boundary. She launched the last ball of the 19th over from Amanda - Jane Wellington into the Ponting stand for another majestic six.
It all came down to the last over. The Hurricanes needed 11 to win. Maisy Gibson found a single from the first ball to give Chloe Tryon the strike, when she flayed the next ball through extra cover for 4 it looked like the Hurricanes would pull off the win. The Strikers kept their composure in the field though, the third ball of the over yielded no runs for the Hurricanes.
The next ball Tryon couldn’t get a leg glance through the infield. No run was taken but Gibson was sensibly sent back and run out at the non-strikers end, crucially Tryon retained the strike. The following ball was a Yorker and a priceless dot ball for the Strikers. The penultimate ball was hit well by Tryon, Coyte fielded on the follow through and the batters crossed for a single. Perhaps taking that single was a misjudgement. It left Tayla Vlaeminck on strike needing 5 runs to win the game and four runs to force a super over. She managed to play it to deep mid-wicket but couldn’t find the boundary. Strikers were home by two runs and the Hurricanes and a visibly distraught Chloe Tryon were left to rue a game that quite possibly they let get away.
The Strikers were very composed in the field and professional with the ball. Sophie Devine with 1 for 19 from 4 overs was the pick of the bowlers. They’ll be a team to watch out for in the finals.
For the Hurricanes it’s off to Lilac Hill in WA next weekend for a double header against the Scorchers. Consolation wins are their goal now but on their form this weekend they are definitely a threat to the best teams in the competition...