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Scorchers Roll Thunder To Bolt Into Final

01 February 2018

The Perth Scorchers have progressed to their second-consecutive Rebel Women's Big Bash League Final, after today recording a 27-run win over the Sydney Thunder at Optus Stadium.

A crowd of more than 10,000 witnessed the first women's sporting event at the state's new stadium, with the Scorchers qualifying for Sunday's Championship decider.

The Final will be played as a double-header with the KFC Big Bash League Final at a venue to be determined based on results from those Semi Finals.

The Thunder won the toss and elected to bowl, with a strong opening pairing leading the Scorchers to an imposing 2-148 that proved too great for the visitors to overcome.

Captain Elyse Villani (38 from 36) led from the front alongside Nicole Bolton (37 from 26), compiling a 65-run partnership and invaluable foundation for the innings.

The opening pair powered the Scorchers to a solid 0-51 out of the powerplay, with Villani in particular exploiting the shorter straight boundaries.

Bolton took a more canny approach, crafting good returns from her shots through holes in the field, before the first wicket fell for the Scorchers, with Nicola Carey (1-16(2)) trapping Villani.

Villani's 38-run stand took her past 500 for the season, just the fourth time the feat has been achieved by a player in the WBBL competition.

Bolton lifted her intent at the crease with the fall of her opening partner, taking to Carey in the 10th over with three consecutive boundaries. 

However, a change in bowling netted the second wicket, as Bolton sliced a Stefanie Taylor (1-23(4)) delivery to point to have the Scorchers 2-86 at the halfway mark of the innings.

It was a strong platform that allowed Natalie Sciver (38 not out from 28) and Heather Graham (25 not out from 29) to play with freedom and see out the innings without further loss.

The pair combined for a 62-run partnership from 50 balls, finding boundaries when they were there and seeing the Scorchers to an imposing 2-148.

The total demanded a run-rate of more than seven an over for the Thunder to secure victory and they were on track after a rapid-fire first over from Rachel Priest (25 off 19).

However, the clinical Bolton (1-22(4)) returned to the frame with ball in hand to snare the first wicket, trapping Rachael Haynes for one to have the Thunder 1-10.

The off-spinner had a chance for her second when Priest, on 18 at the time, was put down pulling to deep square leg.

The damage was limited when Pieper Cleary (1-24(4)) drew a top edge that was held at mid wicket, with Priest adding just a further seven and the Thunder stumbling to 2-31.

Spinner Emma King (3-17(4)) entered the attack and 2-31 quickly turned into 4-44, as Naomi Stalenberg (one from six) was stumped, misjudging a charge down the pitch, and the experienced Alex Blackwell (nine from 22) mistimed a drive to be caught at cover.

The Scorchers had pushed the required run rate to more than 12 as the game entered the final five overs, with victory for the Thunder looking more unlikely the longer the game went.

The hosts had one foot in the final when Carey (22 off 20) chopped on to give King her third wicket and leave the Thunder reeling at 6-88, requiring a further 60 runs with just 26 balls remaining.

It was a bridge too far for the visitors, as the Scorchers picked up a further two wickets on their way to the 27-runs win.

The WBBL|03 Final will be played as a double-header with the KFC Big Bash League Final, with the venue to be confirmed following those Semi Finals. The Scorchers' opponent will be determined in tomorrow's second WBBL|03 Semi Final between the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Sixers.