A brave knock, full of youthful exuberance by Phoebe Litchfield almost snatched victory from cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers at Sydney Showground Stadium on Wednesday night.
Litchfield made 46 from 36 balls, hitting three consecutive fours in the final over, and needed four from the final ball to force a Super Over but it wasn't to be. The Thunder made 8/143 in reply to 7/147.
Throughout the run chase, a win for the Thunder looked unlikely as the Sixers bowlers kept the run rate in check. But enter Litchfield to provide an unexpected thrilling finish.
Erin Burns prevented a Thunder victory with four catches and 3-28.
Thunder bowlers found it hard to contain Alyssa Healy (44 from 22) early in the match, but South African speedster Shabnim Ismail (2-32) secured the crucial wicket of the super star Australian wicketkeeper-batter, hitting the stumps.
Sixers captain Ellyse Perry (28) and South African allrounder Dane van Niekerk pushed on before Ismail again broke through removing Perry leg before wicket.
Van Niekerk went on to make 45 from 39.
Sammy-Jo Johnson struck twice in the 17th over dismissing van Niekerk and Erin Burns (13), then claimed the wicket of South African Marizanne Kapp in her very next over.
Johnson claimed 3-25 from her four overs.
The in-form Hannah Darlington (2-27) claimed two wickets in the final over and found herself on a hat-trick for the second time in four days, and again executed the 20th over perfectly.
The Sixers removed Tammy Beaumont (2) early caught in the deep from the leg-spin of van Niekerk. Not long after fellow opener Rachel Trenaman (16) also departed.
Haynes then again joined Knight at the centre. but unfortunately their match-winning partnership of the previous evening against the Melbourne Renegades could not be repeated, and Knight departed for 16 and Haynes for 27 from 22.
PERFORMANCE OF THE MATCH
From a position of peril, Litchfield gave the Thunder hope with her 46 from 36 deliveries particularly three successive fours in the final over. Her innings included seven boundaries.
The Thunder play their first match at Drummoyne Oval for WBBL|06 on Saturday, and will look to bounce back to winning ways, against the Adelaide Strikers starting at 2:30pm (AEDT).
The match live streamed on www.cricket.com.au and available on Kayo Sports.
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