Sydney Thunder coach Trevor Griffin said his advice for his team as they prepare for the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League Final at North Sydney Oval was to live in the “now” once the match starts.
Thunder forced their way into Saturday night’s showdown with Melbourne Stars at North Sydney Oval by holding their nerve to defeat a Brisbane Heat team which collapsed – losing six wickets for 12 runs – when the defending champions appeared headed towards victory.
Griffin was full of praise for the lion-hearted showing by his players, including 18-year-old Hannah Darlington who sealed the Player of the Match award with her 3-19. Her haul included two wickets in as many balls during the 18th over.
“It was a proper game of cricket where it ebbed and flowed,” said Griffin. “I thought we started off well with the ball and then Laura Kimmince came in and had a bit of good fortune where the ball hit the stumps and the bails didn’t come off.
“She’s a dangerous player, and once she got going [scoring 37 from 17 balls] the girls needed to stay in the game and the contest – and they did that fantastically well. Making the final is a reward for the hard work and commitment this fantastic team has put in.”
With his squad determined to replicate the efforts of Thunder’s team that won the title in WBBL|01, Griffin said he wanted them to simply play as they have all tournament.
“The important thing is we don’t get carried away,” he said. “We stay in the moment, that’s the beauty of cricket it’s a team sport played by individuals and it’s a one ball game. We can’t do anything about a ball that’s gone, and we can’t get ahead of ourselves – you just focus on that one ball.
“We said all along that we want the girls to go out and play their own game and to be brave and to transfer the pressure back onto the opposition. It’s about taking on those tough decisions and having courage within the battle.
“Nothing will change for us at all – we’ll just focus on what we need to do. We’ll focus on what we can control.”
Captain Rachael Haynes – who’ll lead three teenagers in the title decider – said Thunder was benefiting from their decision to invest in youth.
"We lost a few of our middle-tier players a couple of years ago and we had to invest in youth," Haynes said. "I think the experience of last year and getting an opportunity at this level is really paying dividends now.”
Sydney Thunder Squad vs Melbourne Stars (28/11 )
Rachael Haynes (c) (15)
Samantha Arnold (3)
Sam Bates (34)
Tammy Beaumont (91)
Hannah Darlington (25)
Saskia Horley (23)
Shabnim Ismail (89)
Sammy-Jo Johnson (58)
Heather Knight (5)
Anika Learoyd (4)
Phoebe Litchfield (36)
Kate Peterson (33)
Lauren Smith (2)
Rachel Trenaman (8)
Tahlia Wilson (21)
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