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Women’s Big Bash League: Sydney Thunder crash through Melbourne Stars to claim title

Shabnim Ismail dreamt about knocking over Meg Lanning before landing the killer blow that claimed the Sydney Thunder their second WBBL title.

Ismail was the star in the Thunder’s WBBL triumph, taking 2-12 to help the Sydney side run through the Melbourne Stars and claim a seven-wicket win.

The South African quick in turn became the first overseas player to be named player of the match for a men’s or women’s Big Bash final.

She did it in style, as the young Thunder side shocked the minor-premier Stars by restricting them to 9-86, then chasing down the target with 38 balls to spare.

After claiming the early wicket of the dangerous Elyse Villani at cover for 1, she then had Lanning caught behind on 13 to leave the Stars in tatters at 3-20 after 6.1 overs.

“Last night I was laying in bed just thinking ’how am I going to get Meg Lanning out?’,” Ismail said.

“She was a very key wicket for the Stars.

“I just thought if I come out just bowled heat and just change a few things. I could pull it off for us.

“When the first three wickets fell we had the game in hand.”

Fellow quick Sammy-Jo Johnson was equally impressive with 2-11.

The Thunder celebrate victory after the Women's Big Bash League Final.
Camera IconThe Thunder celebrate victory after the Women’s Big Bash League Final. Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Her opening two-over spell of 1-2 had the ball seaming and swinging late, regularly beating the outside of the bat and trapping Mignon du Preez lbw on 4.

She later returned to claim the wicket of Erin Osborne (6) when the former international skied one to cover.

By the time the Stars had fallen to 5-37, it marked their worst start to a game with the bat in the tournament’s six-year history.

And with that, their shot at a maiden title after eight weeks in the hub was all but gone despite some late resistance from Annabel Sutherland (20) and Katherine Brunt (22no)

“Ismail and Sammy-Jo were just too good for us,” Stars captain Lanning said.

“It’s very disappointing, we’ve had such a good tournament. To finish like that is pretty hard to take.”

In reply, the Thunder never looked troubled.

Openers Rachel Treneman (23) and Tammy Beaumont (16) both started fast and captain Rachael Haynes finished 21 not out.

Heather Knight (26 off 19) then kicked off celebrations in style, lifting Alana King (1-30) over the long off boundary to clinch the trophy.

It marked the Thunder’s first title since the inaugural competition in 2015-16, with only Haynes still around from that team that beat the Sixers.

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