The Melbourne Renegades’ baffling decision to play injured captain Sophie Molineux backfired spectacularly as the Adelaide Strikers ruthlessly waltzed into Saturday’s WBBL final with absurd ease.
The Renegades eked out a measly 8-88 after being sent in, with eyebrows raised amid the clatter of wickets when Test allrounder Molineux, who has opened regularly but was listed to bat seven, slid down to No.11.
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Renegades coach Simon Helmot confirmed Molineux’s batting absence in The Challenger final came down to a foot injury.
“She’s been in a moonboot for most of the week,” Helmot said during the television broadcast.
“She’s got a sore foot.
“We were desperate for her to play. She really wanted to play and we gave her that chance.
“We were hoping we weren‘t going to require her tonight.”
Molineux‘s middle-order experience and powerplay expertise were sorely missed as the ’Gades crumbled from the moment Megan Schutt castled makeshift opener Josie Dooley with the match’s first ball.
Young speedster Darcie Brown (2-9) devastated with the new ball, before Wednesday‘s destroyer Amanda-Jade Wellington struck in her first over.
And when Tahlia McGrath trapped Player of the Tournament Harmanpreet Kaur for six, the Renegades were history.
Molineux appeared uninhibited with the ball but proved expensive as big-hitting Dane van Niekerk and red-hot Katie Mack spearheaded Adelaide‘s successful chase with 55 deliveries to spare.
It was even more plain-sailing than when the Strikers coasted to victory 24 hours earlier against Brisbane Heat and will give upcoming final opponent, the Perth Scorchers, plenty to ponder.
“It’s hard to put into words what’s happened tonight. It’s been a complete demolition job,” cricket legend Brad Hodge said in commentary.
Things went from bad to worse for the hapless Renegades when Courtney Webb copped a rare diamond duck in the most unfortunate fashion.
A firm straight drive from Eve Jones flicked Wellington‘s outstretched finger and ricocheted onto the stumps, beating Webb’s attempt to ground her bat by milliseconds.
English import Jones was then undone by a direct hit after attempting to pinch a second run when Sarah Coyte fumbled a routine save at mid-on.
Coyte recovered magnificently to unleash a dead-eyed shy at the non-striker’s end to reduce the ’Gades to 7-47.
Mack looms as a key figure in Saturday’s finale.
She is simply in the form of her life, having plundered 332 runs in her last six knocks, for one dismissal.
Fittingly, Mack raised the victory when she slapped Rhiann O’Donnell for four in the 11th over.