Stars stun Sixers in season opening thriller

THE Melbourne Stars have pulled off the first upset of the WBBL09 season, defeating the much fancied Sydney Sixers by two runs in an absolute thriller in the season opener.

After the Stars put a strong total of 8/165 on the board, it ultimately went down to the wire but some composed bowling from Alice Capsey at the absolute death helped hand the Stars the win.

The Stars made a solid start to their batting innings, with openers Sophia Dunkley and Meg Lanning making 32 off the first four and a half overs before Dunkley was dismissed.

In her return game, Lanning really was the carrier of the innings early, and she was assisted by Capsey and then Annabel Sutherland to help keep the Stars’ chugging along nicely.

Once Lanning was dismissed for 55, it started to fall apart a bit for the Stars. Sutherland and Maia Bouchier kept things going for a little bit, but after that the partnerships really struggled to get into double figures.

Although their total could have been even bigger, it was still a big total.

On the opposite side of the equation, Lauren Cheatle and Ash Gardner were the pick of the bowlers for the Sixers, each picking up two wickets. Things could not have started much worse for the Sixers in their chase, with Kim Garth bowling a maiden to Suzie Bates in the opening over of the Sixers’ innings.

Unfortunately for the Stars all that good work was just about reversed when they conceded 11 runs off the second over. Garth was looking on track to register a second maiden, but although she did not quite get that second maiden, she did pick up the first wicket of the innings, ensuring Bates was caught at mid off.

Sophie Day then rectified her first over in her second as she sent Alyssa Healy on her way, and all of a sudden things were looking good for those in green. Milly Illingworth then made her WBBL debut one to remember in the sixth over when she trapped fellow debutant Kate Pelle in front.

Rhys McKenna joined in on the wicket taking fun the following over, and things were really looking good for the Stars.

Sutherland then did some damage with the ball, picking up a wicket in two consecutive overs and now the Sixers were into the tail end.

Gardner was providing a bit of resistance for the Sixer, hitting multiple sixes and providing a force of stability in the innings. As she continued to build her innings, heading past 50, and set up a partnership well with Maitlin Brown, things started to get a bit tense.

It took until the 19th over, but Gardener was finally dismissed, succumbing to a change in pace from Sutherland after making 72. However, there was still work to be done for the Stars, as the Sixers needed 11 runs from 10 balls.

Brown then went three balls later, and things were really placed precariously with the Sixers ultimately needing eight from the final over. The Sixers certainly pushed it right to the final few balls, but with only singles and a run out in the final over, the Stars held their composure to take the win.

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