The Perth Scorchers squandered a golden opportunity for back-to-back Women’s Big Bash League wins at the WACA Ground, falling to Hobart by two runs chasing a modest target of 138.
The Scorchers needed seven off the final over and six to send it into a super over, but could only manage four to finish on 8-135 as Australian death-bowling specialist Nicola Carey held her nerve.
Leg-spinner Alana King, who was starved of strike late in her unbeaten 12 off 10 balls, needed a six off the last ball to win – or four to level the scores – but hit it to long on for two.
Poor fielding early let player-of-the-match Rachel Priest (54 off 48 balls) off the hook, with the New Zealand ‘keeper-batter bravely battling a fractured left index finger to score the only half-century after getting a trio of lives as the Hurricanes posted 8-137.
It was a stop-start chase with in-form openers Sophie Devine (25 off 15 balls) and Beth Mooney (one off five) out within the first four overs, three days after their match-winning 165-run partnership against Melbourne Renegades.
After struggling for form and opportunities in the first half of the tournament, Chamari Athapaththu produced her best knock in orange of 33 from 31 balls.
The Sri Lankan’s strong square of the wicket game was perfect for the bouncy WACA conditions as she hit regular boundaries and rotated the strike nicely.
She combined for important partnerships with Chloe Piparo (20 off 24) and Heather Graham who looked in terrific touch during her 19-ball 24 to back up a two-wicket performance with the ball.
But Athapaththu’s dismissal sparked a late collapse of 5-30, with the majority of the Scorchers batters throwing their wickets away.
Seamer Belinda Vakarewa (2-23 off three overs) was the pick of the bowlers and Aussie regulars Carey (2-17 off four) and Molly Strano (2-30 off four) did their jobs late as Hobart clung onto a thrilling win to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
“It was disappointing not to get the win,” King said.
“Our goal was to take it as deep as possible, even when we lost a cluster of wickets, which we did but we just didn’t capitalise when we probably should have.
“We thought it was very chase-able, considering we made close to 200 on Wednesday, and we only need just over six runs an over.
“We’ve got to re-group really quickly because we’ve got the same opposition tomorrow.”
Spin twins Lilly Mills and King continued their outstanding debut seasons in orange after crossing from Brisbane and Melbourne Stars respectively, grabbing two wickets apiece as Hobart lost 7-47.
Mills has a team-high 12 scalps at 11.6, one shy of tournament leader Jess Jonassen, while King isn’t far behind with 10.
Priest, the Hurricanes’ leading run-scorer for the tournament with 256, was caught off a Taneale Peschel front-foot no-ball on five and dropped twice on 11 and 46 including one on the boundary from usually-reliable Marizanne Kapp which spilled over the rope for six.
The Scorchers’ fielding improved after some early blunders, with King taking a brilliant catch on the boundary to dismiss Richa Ghosh for a duck and Mills showcasing her quick reflexes with a sharp caught-and-bowled against Mignon du Preez (23 off 20).
The Hurricanes produced their best power play of the tournament, 38 without loss, but King’s introduction straight after had an immediate impact with Naomi Stalenberg knocked over for 15.
The two sides face off at the WACA Ground again on Sunday afternoon before the Scorchers leave for a five-game stint Adelaide to finish the home-and-away season.