Smriti Mandhana began her Women's Big Bash League season with a duck, but bounced back with a match-winning half-century to take Hobart Hurricanes to their first win of the fourth edition of the league.
Mandhana struck 69 off 41 balls, with 13 fours, and found good support from the Windies' Hayley Matthews as Hobart posted 196/6 on Sunday, 9 December. A combined bowling effort, with England's Heather Knight taking 3/10, wrapped up the Melbourne Stars innings for 124 to seal a 72-run win.
Good to be back in purple 😊 https://t.co/RNirpf4iX0— Heather Knight (@Heatherknight55) December 9, 2018
The India opener brought up her fifty in just 24 balls, making the opposition pay for dropping her. Her second-wicket stand with Matthews was worth 98, ended only by a run-out.
Matthews had struck two sixes and four fours to reach 42, and was looking in good touch, but fell awkwardly at the non-striker's end while attempting to turn and return to her crease. Not only was she run out by the bowler, but she also appeared to have hurt her knee seriously and had to be helped off the field. The severity of her injury is expected to be clarified later this week.
Useful cameos from Knight (23 off 19), Corinne Ball (23* off 17) and Sasha Moloney (23* off 9) carried the Hurricanes to their highest ever total in their WBBL history.
On Saturday, in the match-up between the same sides, Knight's 82 off 55 balls had been in a losing cause. But this time, she did her bit with the ball as well. Erin Osborne and Mignon du Preez, who led the Stars' rescue act with half-centuries on Saturday, were dismissed cheaply in the repeat fixture, and the innings lasted just 16.5 overs.
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