A steady stream of wickets meant the Melbourne Renegades were always on the back foot during their six-wicket loss to the Adelaide Strikers in the opening match of their WBBL|05 campaign on Saturday.
How did the Renegades fare with the bat?
Entering the match chock full of firepower at the top of the order, the Renegades quickly found themselves with their opening four batters back in the sheds and only 21 runs on the board after Megan Schutt and Stafanie Taylor flexed their muscles with the ball in the opening six overs.
Opener Sophie Molineux signaled her intent with a boundary off just the second ball of the day, but that’s where the early highlights began and finished for the Renegades, as Danni Wyatt (1), Molineux (10), Claire Koski (6) and Tammy Beaumont (1) all departed in the first powerplay.
Captain Jess Duffin (44 off 32 balls) led the rescue effort and helped the ‘Gades to a competitive 7-117 from their 20 overs.
Duffin’s innings was a masterclass in Twenty20 batting, first stabilizing the innings with good support from Courtney Webb (16 off 25 balls) and Josie Dooley (20 not out off 19 balls) before cutting loose later on with four fours in as many deliveries.
She was unlucky not to make the half century she deserved, caught by Taylor off Devine in the 18th over.
What was the response with the ball?
The pace and accuracy of Lea Tahuhu led to enough early breakthroughs, including a double-wicket maiden, to mean the visitors were in with a chance.
Then, when Maitlan Brown was introduced into the attack, she clean bowled Bridget Patterson, leaving the home side precariously placed at 3-32.
Unfortunately for the Renegades, Devine and Taylor put on 62 in less than 10 overs, with Player of the Match Devine helping herself to some boundaries at the end to finish on 72 not out from 45 balls.
A keeper to keep
Nineteen-year-old Josie Dooley made a big impression during her eight games for the title winning Brisbane Heat last season.
It’s little wonder the Renegades were so pleased to secure her services for WBBL|05, and on the basis of her efforts against the Strikers, it’s easy to see why.
Dooley came to the crease at 5-55 in the 13th over and stayed there for the remainder of the innings. She finished 20 not out at a tick over a run per ball, but importantly build a 40-run partnership with Duffin. Dooley’s calm demeanour and hard running between the wickets complemented her captain’s big hitting in the later overs and was a key reason behind the side’s eventual total of 117.
There was no time to rest, though, for in the field Dooley was again in the action almost immediately, pouching two smart catches off Tahuhu’s bowling in only the second over of the day.
Speaking of Dooley, it would be remiss not to refer you to her cap presentation, which was conducted by Maitlan Brown.
We’ll let the video tell the story.
Got a curious fact for us?
In 52 WBBL matches for both the Renegades and the Sydney Sixes, Claire Koski has only ever been called upon to bowl once.
That, for the record, was back in WBBL|03, when she sent down one over of fast-medium pace against the Adelaide Strikers in a nine-run victory.
Two years on, Koski was summoned to bowl for just the second time in her WBBL career – again against the Strikers.
What comes next
A blessing of the WBBL|05 fixture is a series of back-to-back matches that, in this instance, will give the Renegades an immediate chance to atone.
They will meet the Strikers at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval at 2.30pm (AEDT) on Sunday 20 October to do it all again as they look to return to Melbourne with their first win of the season on the board.
Melbourne Renegades WomenRebel WBBL|05