WBBL: Lisa Sthalekar excels as Sydney Sixers win ninth in a row to seal derby WBBL final

Big hitting: Alyssa Healy smashed 32 off 22 balls as the Sixers cruised into the WBBL final. Photo: Robert CianfloneSydneysiders had rare cause to compliment the Melbourne weather on Friday when rain held off long enough at the MCG for the Sydney Sixers to extend their astonishing Women’s Big Bash League winning streak to nine to earn a berth in Sunday’s final against Sydney Thunder.

Veteran Lisa Sthalekar, who came out of retirement for the tournament, was chiefly responsible for Hobart struggling to 8-86 in their 14 overs. She claimed 3-9 from her three overs, removing three of the Hurricanes’ top four.

A further rain delay reduced the Sixers’ target to 55 from eight overs which they reached with all 10 wickets and 10 deliveries to spare, thanks to an unbeaten opening partnership from Alyssa Healy (32 off 22 deliveries) and captain Ellyse Perry (21 off 16).

The Hurricanes chose to bat. They were only 1-6 after two overs but managed to salvage a decent powerplay, which was reduced to four overs in line with the rain reduction, by hitting four boundaries in the next two overs.

Sthalekar’s impact began with her first delivery, when she claimed a sharp return catch to remove England vice-captain and Hurricanes captain Heather Knight to begin the fifth over.

The Hurricanes’ best partnership came when Amy Satterthwaite joined Erin Burns. New Zealand international Satterthwaite was particularly strong down the ground, finding the long-on boundary three times.

At 2-65 after 10 overs the Hurricanes were well placed to surge in the last four overs. They were denied by Sthalekar, who removed both Satterthwaite (24 off 24 deliveries) and Burns (26 off 27) in her final over.

The only thing that did not go perfectly for Sthalekar in the field was dropping a catch in the final over, although by that stage it was of little consequence given how much the Hurricanes battled to score after that key partnership was broken.

Rain which arrived just as the Hobart innings ended caused a further delay. Had it persisted the Hurricanes would have progressed as the higher-ranked team. Thankfully – and deservedly – for the Sixers the rain cleared.

Healy made the most of the reduced powerplay of two overs by hitting two fours and a six to take her team to 0-20, needing just under a run-a-ball for the remaining six overs. Her crisp hitting meant Ellyse Perry barely had to get out of gear early.

The only time the Sixers showed a hint of vulnerability in the chase was Healy was given a life on 17 in the third over, courtesy of a dropped catch at square-leg by Brooke Hepburn.

Perry then scored boundaries in each of the next two overs to reduce the target to a leisurely 12 off 18, with all 10 wickets in hand. It would have been nine had it not been for another life for Healy, a missed stumping by Emily Smith off Knight.

The Sixers scored boundaries off all but one over, which allowed them to coast to victory and set up a Sydney derby for the final.

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