McGrath shines as Strikers, Renegades win
Australian allrounder Tahlia McGrath has brought her white-hot form to the WBBL and enjoyed an outstanding Adelaide Strikers captaincy debut against the Sydney Thunder.
McGrath top-scored with 42 and took 3-17, including two crucial wickets, as her team mauled the defending champions by 30 runs on Saturday night at Hobart's Blundstone Stadium.
All four of the weekend's scheduled games are going ahead, despite southern Tasmania's snap COVID-19 three-day lockdown that was announced on Friday afternoon.
The games are being played with no crowds and under strict biosecurity protocols.
Earlier on Saturday, the Melbourne Renegades survived a late scare to upset the Hobart Hurricanes by six wickets.
But McGrath, who is coming off excellent form for Australia against India, was clearly the star of Saturday's games.
She became only the third player to score 40 and take three wickets in a WBBL game, after Perth's Nicole Bolton and Sydney Sixers ace Ellyse Perry.
About the only thing that went wrong for McGrath in her captaincy debut was that fellow first-time WBBL skipper Hannah Darlington won the bat flip and fielded.
At 19, Darlington is the youngest captain in WBBL history.
Adelaide were teetering at 3-26 and then 4-46, before McGrath combined with Madeline Penna (35) in a crucial 71-run stand.
McGrath belted her 42 from 34 balls, with four boundaries.
Sydney also started badly, with McGrath taking a wicket as they stuttered to 3-34.
But Corinne Hall, who top-scored for Sydney with 38 and Anika Learoyd (23) gave the Thunder hope with their 59-run stand.
Enter McGrath, who removed Hall and Learoyd with successive deliveries at the end of the 15th over.
Sydney lost 7-17 off 28 balls as they were dismissed for 110 in 19.2 overs.
Bridget Patterson took an outstanding catch on the boundary rope to dismiss Issy Wong off Amanda-Jade Wellington's bowling for the ninth wicket.
Also on Saturday, Australian legspinner Georgia Wareham starred with the ball as Melbourne restricted the Hurricanes to 121 from 20 overs.
After a late stutter where Melbourne lost three quick wickets, Wareham combined with Indian T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur to see them home.
Kaur belted 24 from 19 balls, including the game-winning boundary, and Wareham was unbeaten on five as the Renegades scored 4-125 with four balls left.
Kaur also gave the Renegades a scare when she fell awkwardly while trying to take a catch early in the Hurricanes' innings.
She left the field for about half an hour, but returned and bowled, taking a wicket.
Wareham bowled three wides in her first over, but she quickly made a big impact.
She snared 3-13 from four overs, after only managing three wickets in the last WBBL season as Wareham battled injury.
New Melbourne captain Sophie Molineux took 2-12 with her orthodox spin, while Naomi Stalenberg top-scored with 28 from 27 balls.
Opener Jemimah Rodrigues top-scored for Melbourne with 33 and Belinda Vakarewa was the pick of the Hobart attack with 2-21 from four overs.
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