Brisbane Heat defeated Sydney Sixers by three wickets to win the Women's Big Bash League for the first time. (Image credit: Twitter)
For the first three editions of the Women’s Big Bash League, the Sydney franchises, Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers had dominated the tournament. Sydney Thunder won the inaugural edition while the Sydney Sixers won the last two tournaments. Heading into the 2018/19 final, Sydney Sixers were looking good for a hat-trick but an inspired performance from the Brisbane Heat helped them win by three wickets with four balls to spare to clinch the title for the first time at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney on Saturday. This was an inspired performance from the Heat, who had to overcome extremely hot conditions and an in-form batting and bowling line-up to beat the Sixers, who chose to bat in the final.
The Brisbane Heat bowlers maintained a tight line and did not allow Alyssa Healy and Elysse Perry to get going in the powerplay overs. Healy was bowled by Delissa Kimmince for 18 but Perry and Ashleigh Gardner strung a solid partnership. Perry, who had scored 740 runs at an average close to 100 and a strike-rate of over 120, looked in great touch again but Grace Harris sent back Gardner Jes Jonassen’s left-arm spin accounted for Perry for 37.
With their skipper gone, Sydney Sixers tried to build momentum but Harris kept taking wickets at regular intervals to finish with 3/23. Some big hitting from Dane van Niekerk, who finished with 32 off 15 balls which included two fours and two sixes helped Sydney Sixers reach 131/7.
In response, Harris and Sammy-Jo Johnson both departed cheaply and at 14/2, Brisbane Heat faced an uphill task. However, Beth Mooney, their experienced batter and Kirby Short steadied the innings with a crucial 84-run stand for the third wicket. While Short played the sheet anchor role to perfection, Mooney found the boundaries on a regular basis. With Mooney clearly struggling in the heat, she had to take medication in order to ensure she guided the Brisbane Heat over the line.
However, when van Niekerk got rid of Mooney for 65 and Short for 29, Brisbane Heat needed 30 off 31. When Erin Burns got two more wickets, it seemed that Sydney Sixers could turn the match around and register a famous win. With four runs needed off five balls in the final over bowled by Marizanne Kapp, Laura Harris pulled a short ball to deep midwicket and a collision between two Sydney Sixers fielders resulted in the Brisbane Heat winning the title in grand style.
Mooney was awarded the Player of the Match for her knock while Ellyse Perry was named the Player of the Series for her 777 runs at an average of 86 in addition to her 10 wickets.