Sydney Thunder have fallen agonisingly short in another nail-biter at Lilac Hill after a fine bowling display by the Perth Scorchers.
Thunder captain Alex Blackwell won the toss and elected to bowl first. Lisa Griffith (2-17) picked up the key wickets of openers Amy Jones (5) and Meg Lanning (1) in the second and fourth overs to see the Scorchers drop to 2-14 early in the innings. Nicole Bolton (50) and Lauren Ebsary (33) put together an important 78-run partnership to bolster the Scorchers' total before Rene Farrell (2-21) clean bowled them both in the final over.
128 proved to be a solid target on a worn Lilac Hill pitch. Thunder had a shaky start, losing Rachel Priest (0) and Naomi Stalenberg (4) in quick succession however a 56-run partnership between Rachael Haynes (33) and Alex Blackwell (37) steadied the ship.
In the end the Scorchers attack led by Heather Graham (2-8) and player-of-the-match Nicole Bolton (2-26) was just too strong. Thunder managed just one boundary from the final eight overs and ultimately fell three runs short of the target.
Belinda Vakarewa came back into the Thunder XI for Maisy Gibson. Scorchers also made one change with Mathilda Carmichael replacing Elyse Villani who was out with a hamstring injury.
Sydney Thunder: Alex Blackwell (c), Sam Bates, Nicola Carey, Rene Farrell, Lisa Griffith, Rachael Haynes, Harmanpreet Kaur, Rachel Priest (wk), Naomi Stalenberg, Stafanie Taylor, Belinda Vakarewa
Perth Scorchers: Meg Lanning (c), Nicole Bolton, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Kate Cross, Lauren Ebsary, Heather Graham, Amy Jones, Emma King, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo
THE TURNING POINT
A wicket-maiden by Heather Graham in the eleventh over broke the Haynes-Blackwell partnership and swung the momentum in the Scorchers favour.
THE FINAL OVER
Heather Graham had the ball for the Scorchers with Thunder requiring nine runs from the over to win.
Harmanpreet Kaur (19) was caught in the deep off the first delivery to bring Nicola Carey to the crease. Not an ideal start to the final over but Stafanie Taylor wasn't going to give up easily. Her and Carey ran hard to pick up two runs from the next delivery but managed just three singles from the next four balls to fall three runs short of the target.
PERFORMANCE OF THE MATCH
Lisa Griffith took two key wickets to put the Scorchers on the back foot early in the innings, including the wicket of the dangerous Meg Lanning (1) before she could cause any trouble. Griffith finished with a very tidy 2-17 from her three overs.
Thunder return home to Spotless Stadium to take on cross town rivals the Sydney Sixers on 2 January 2019.
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