78 A feast of Stars
Villani proves Perth not a one-woman show
Yesterday, the breakfast of a champion was bacon and eggs.
Melbourne Stars opener Lizelle Lee revealed she had mixed up her regular morning routine ahead of her side’s opening WBBL match of the season against Sydney Sixers — and it paid off in spades.
The big-hitting South African was unstoppable as she scored just the sixth century in WBBL history with an unbeaten 102 at Junction Oval, including 16 fours and three sixes.
In live betting late in their innings, the Sixers had been $1.01 to win, after electing to bat first, on their way to a more than respectable 7-165.
Fresh off Australian duties at the Women’s World T20 in the West Indies, Ellyse Perry (58) and Alyssa Healy (70) had put on an opening partnership of 108 to set up that total.
But the reigning champions fell short of their expected target as they lost three wickets for just nine runs from their last 20 balls — debutant Nicola Hancock finishing with 4-22 off four overs with the ball — and suddenly the Stars had a sniff.
Enter Lee, who blitzed her top score of 76 in the WBBL last season and stood tall from start to finish in the Stars’ innings, despite struggling to find a solid partner in the middle until fellow South African Mignon du Preez (33 not out) came along at No.5.
Together the pair put on a partnership of 76 runs to get the Stars to 3-166 with 16 balls to spare.
A humble Lee was quick to talk down her own performance, but the smile couldn’t be wiped from her face after the upset win — as the Stars had been widely tipped to finish last in the competition this summer.
“It’s very good (to score a century) but at the end of the day it’s all about the team and I’m just glad we got our first win,” Lee said.
“The bowlers brought the game back well, they were nice PERTH Scorchers proved they have more strings to their bow than just Australian captain Meg Lanning as they downed Hobart Hurricanes in the opening match of the WBBL season yesterday.
Fresh from leading Australia to victory in the Women’s World T20 in the West Indies last week, Lanning failed to fire in her Scorchers debut, caught behind for just eight. Perry Healy Gardner Burns McGlashan Van Niekerk Kapp Smith Extras Fall: 108, 109, 125, 152, 156, 156, 165. Bowling: Sutherland 2-013-0, Ferling 3-0-26-1 (1w 1nb), King 3-0-29-0 (1w), Osborne 3-0-28-1 (1nb), Elwiss 3-0-26-0, Blows 20-19-0 (1w), Hancock 4-022-4 (1nb). Overs: 20. Lee Reakes Mackc Osborne Du Preez Extras Fall: 57, 84, 90. Bowling: Kapp 4-0-26-0 (1w), Cheatle 1-0-18-0, Perry 3-0-25-1 (1nb), Van Niekerk 3-0-22-1 (1w 1nb), Aley 1-0-20-0, Gardner 3.2-0-32-1 (1w), Smith 2-018-0. Overs: 17.2 Stars won by seven wickets. and fast. So it was just good to have a good hit. There’s nothing wrong with being the underdogs, I think.
“It’s actually very good, you go in with no pressure on you.
“But it’s a done game, we need to go into our next game and start from the beginning.”
The Stars were without captain Kristen Beams, and no time frame has yet been put on her return as she recovers from an achilles tendon injury.
The Stars face the Hobart Hurricanes in Burnie on Saturday.
But an impressive knock of 58 off 39 balls from fellow opener and Australian teammate Elyse Villani, along with a fighting final partnership from Lauren Ebsary and Chloe Piparo, helped the Scorchers across the line at Junction Oval, posting 4-147 with three balls to spare in reply to 7-143.
Villani, the player of the match, said winning without a major impact from Lanning was a positive start for the team, which lost to Sydney Sixers in last season’s final.
“We’ve got some areas of improvement, but it’s nice to start the season with a win, that’s for sure,” she said.
“I think we let ourselves down in the field a little bit and in some of our bowling.
“I don’t think we executed some of our plans as we would have liked.
“The good thing was there was plenty of people who stood up today with the bat and it was great that Lauren Ebsary and Chloe Piparo finished that off pretty clinically at the end.”
The Hurricanes missed England captain Heather Knight, India’s Smriti Mandhana and West Indian allrounder Hayley Matthews.
The ECB bans players lining up within a week of internationals, Mandhana hasn’t arrived and Matthews broke her toe at training on Friday.
Hurricanes opener Erin Fazackerley made 38 off 16 balls with seven boundaries, while Georgie Redmayne (49) at No.3 was a rock before being run out in the final over.
Scorchers medium-pacer Heather Graham took 3-25.
58 70 0 8 14 2 0 5 8 102 13 3 5 33 10 Stars opener Lizelle Lee on her way to an unbeaten 102, while Sixers star Ellyse Perry (inset) is bowled for 58 at Junction Oval yesterday. Picture: MICHAEL KLEIN