Beth Mooney and Sammy-Jo Johnson secure Brisbane Heat back-to-back WBBL titles

Cricket


Brisbane Heat 4 for 162 (Mooney 56*) beat Adelaide Strikers 7 for 161 (Wellington 55) by six wickets

The Brisbane Heat became the first back-to-back champions in the WBBL with a display of their batting prowess to overcome the Adelaide Strikers by six wickets with 11 balls to spare in the final, at a sold out Allan Border Field.

Beth Mooney capped a prolific season by anchoring the chase with 56 off 45 balls after Sammy Jo-Johnson had given the Heat’s chase almost unstoppable momentum with 27 off 11 balls in the powerplay.

The Strikers had managed to respond well to the early shock of losing Sophie Devine in the second over, but fell away after the fielding restrictions were lifted as Amelia Kerr won the battle with fellow New Zealander Suzie Bates. A fantastic half-century from Amanda-Jade Wellington resurrected the Strikers’ hopes, but the Heat had such confidence in their batting that a victory for them rarely felt in doubt.

No record for Devine

Devine has produced the greatest all-round season in the WBBL but did not have one more big innings in her for the final. The Heat made a tactical switch, giving the new ball to Georgia Prestwidge who had been sparsely used in the powerplay this season but had the ability to bowl a good short ball. Prestwidge started with a short delivery that Devine cut to the off side, and then her second delivery was even shorter outside off; Devine tried to go up and over backward point but it took more edge than middle and flew straight to third man. The Heat’s celebrations were of a plan that had come together perfectly and it meant Ellyse Perry’s record of 777 runs, set last season, remained safe. However, Devine’s loss did not dent the Strikers’ powerplay output as they ended the six overs on 1 for 54 thanks to a strong counterpunch from Tahlia McGrath.

Wellington saves the innings

The Strikers’ innings fell away in the middle overs as they slipped from 1 for 62 in the eighth to 5 for 93 in the 14th. That included a brilliantly alert leg-side stumping by Mooney to remove Sophie Mack who was unsure where the ball had gone as it rebounded off her pad. The success of the Strikers’ top order this season has left the middle order with little batting but this was their chance to shine. Wellington stood up with her first WBBL half-century in a superb display of strokeplay in the closing overs with strong drives and deft reverse sweeps. She took on Jess Jonassen in the penultimate over with three consecutive boundaries and found two more in the last as the Strikes made 37 off the last three overs.

Sammy-Jo’s powerplay blitz

Johnson has a floating role in the Heat’s batting order, given the license to come out in the powerplay when the situation dictates and just swing hard. It worked a charm today. It took her three balls to get off the mark, but then facing Devine in the fifth over unfurled a game-changing display as she launched four sixes in five balls – at least two of them landing on the roof of the building at deep square leg. Devine kept feeding her length in the slot before, with the final ball of the over, coming back over the wicket and producing a slower ball that Johnson tamely chipped back to the bowler. But the damage had been done.

Prolific Mooney seals the cup

At the halfway mark of the chase the Heat needed 71 off 60 balls but, in the pressure of a final, the Strikers could have caused some flutters if they had managed to find a breakthrough. The golden chance slipped from their grasp, literally, when Wellington – who an hour earlier was giving the Strikers hope – shelled a simple opportunity at extra cover when Jonassen was on 18. That knocked the stuffing out of the Strikers and by the time Mooney brought up a 36-ball fifty the Heat could sense victory. After a wild hack from Grace Harris, sister Laura launched three boundaries from her first five balls. For a team with such dynamic batting, it was fitting the target surged into view with a flurry of fours.

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