NSW Breaks Vic’s Spirit and claims first win

THE NSW Breakers have started their 2021/22 WNCL season off in the perfect fashion, beating Victoria in their opening match of the season at the Junction Oval.

Going into the game, it was announced that Australian captain Meg Lanning would not be playing in the match, which was a huge out for the home side. She was taking a break after a big international and WBBL seasons already this summer.

Instead, it was fellow Aussie star Ellyse Perry who took charge of the home side. She lost the toss though to NSW skipper and good friend Alyssa Healy, who sent the Vics into bat.

Victorian openers Rhiann O’Donnell and Mackinley Blows made a solid enough start in the first five overs, before O’Donnell was caught by Phoebe Litchfield to find the Vics at 1/26 at the end of the 6th over. They were then able to double their score before Blows was caught by Maitlin Brown. Unfortunately for Victoria, Perry was dismissed only four balls later.

Victoria then had several partnerships around the 30-40 run mark in the middle of their innings, but just kept losing wickets at a rate that was far too fast. In the end, they ultimately finished on 8/270 off their 50 overs.

The surprise packet of the innings was Nicole Faltum. The keeper made 88 not out to top score for the Victorians. The next highest was Annabel Sutherland with 57.

The star with the ball for the Breakers was Hannah Darlington. The young quick took 3/54 off her 10 overs. Ash Garder took two wickets, while Brown, Emma Hughes and Erin Burns each took one.

Although 270 is certainly a competitive enough score (with a run rate required of 5.4), Victoria could certainly not rest on their laurels in the chase, considering how stacked with talent the Breakers side is.

NSW openers Healy and Rachael Haynes got off to a brilliant start. They put on a 116 run opening partnership before new Victorian recruit Sam Bates struck and bowled Healy out. Sutherland struck only five balls later and Tahlia Wilson was gone for a duck to leave NSW at 2-117.

Haynes and new batter Gardner were able to put on a 36 run partnership before Gardner fell cheaply for only 18. Only 10 balls later Litchfield fell for a duck and things were starting to get interesting. The Breakers were at 4/159 when Litchfield fell, but still had 20 overs to go. Haynes and new batter Burns battled beautifully together and put on a 109 run partnership before Haynes fell just short of a century. She finished on 96.

By this stage the job was essentially done, and Burns and Anika Learoyd finished the job off and secured a Breakers win. Haynes was top scorer with 96, but Burns also batted beautifully and made 80 not out.

In the end Bates was the pick of the Victorian bowlers. She had continued her good Premier Cricket form from last weekend and took 3/61 off her 9.1 overs. The other wicket takers both took one each. They were Vlaeminck and Sutherland.

Victoria does not have to wait long to exact revenge on their neighbours and long time rivals. The two sides meet again on Sunday at the same venue.

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