Sydney Thunder captain Alex Blackwell couldn’t be prouder of her team despite narrowly missing out on a spot in the WBBL|04 final.
Thunder lost to Heat by four runs yesterday at Drummoyne Oval in a thrilling semi-final that went right down to the final ball.
“I’m obviously really disappointed we haven’t progressed but we’ve had some fantastic cricket this season,” said Blackwell after the match.
“We played a pretty good game today. We were probably a little slow in the middle with the bat and I thought they bowled with off-pace beautifully, especially not allowing us to hit to the short side. Full credit to them. We probably fessed up a couple of full tosses and at the end of the day, one boundary was all the difference.”
Just as the game appeared to be slipping away, Blackwell (29) blasted 14 from the eighteenth over to bring her side right back into it before Nicola Carey made 19 runs from 10 deliveries in an almost match-winning effort.
Carey, who has averaged 34.67 at a strike rate of 131.65, has proven her power-hitting ability time and again this season, including a game-saving 39* against the Melbourne Stars in Bankstown.
Blackwell praised the efforts of the all-rounder to keep victory within reach after the Heat restricted Thunder to just 26 runs from six overs through the middle of the innings.
“Fantastic from Nicola Carey at the end to, under pressure, keep us in the match,” she said.
“We probably could’ve done better but we took the chase to the last ball so it wasn’t a train wreck by any means but there were certain periods of the run chase that were probably a little bit slow, maybe too eager to hit the big shots than making sure we score off every ball.”
Thunder needed five runs to win from the final ball. Carey’s shot looked set to clear the rope before Heat’s Haidee Birkett took a stunning running catch on the boundary to win the game for her side.
“It happened so quickly. If it’s a six we win the game, if it’s a four we go to the super over so in actual fact I was thinking ‘who’s batting in the super over?’, ‘which end are they going to bowl from?’, they’re the sorts of things the captain’s thinking in that situation,” said Blackwell.
A second consecutive semi-final defeat wasn’t the finish the group were hoping for but Blackwell said it won’t take away from a great season.
Thunder dominated the home-and-away season, dropping just four games, three of which were decided in the final over, to finish second on the ladder and secure a third finals appearance in four seasons.
“I’m really proud of our girls. I think we’ve had a fantastic season, we’ve had a lot of fun, we’ve seen great development especially in our bowling group and now onto bigger and better things next season,” said Blackwell.
The WBBL|04 final between the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat will take place on Saturday 26 January at Drummoyne Oval. Tickets are on sale now – adults $10, concession $5 and kids free.
Sydney Thunder's BBL season continues on Tuesday 22 January when they face the Melbourne Renegades at Spotless Stdium (7:15pm start). Supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to save on match day price.