The match in a tweet: UNREAL! An absolute screamer on the boundary off the final ball and the Heat are through to the FINAL!
The Score: Brisbane Heat 7-140 (Johnson 33, Harris 32*; Carey 1-23) defeated Sydney Thunder 7-136 (Priest 44, Blackwell 29; Johnson 1-12) by four runs in the first WBBL semi-final at Drummoyne Oval
The Big Moment: Five runs needed. One ball remaining. In-form Nicola Carey at the crease, experienced spinner Jess Jonassen with ball in hand. Carey’s shot looked set to clear the rope, only for Haidee Birkett to take a stunning running catch on the boundary to seal the Heat’s place in the decider!
The Hero: Sammy-Jo Johnson had a brilliant all-round game with bat and ball. As she’s done all season, the Heat No.3 wasn’t afraid to go after the opposition bowlers, clearing the boundary twice and in a 26-ball 33 that added some much-needed stimulus to the Heat Innings after the early losses of Grace Harris (17) and Beth Mooney (14). With the ball, the pace-bowling allrounder removed international star Rachael Haynes with the second ball of the innings, bowling the Thunder opener, and ended her four-over spell with the incredible figures of 1-12.
The Supporting Cast: The Heat bowlers were superb in defending a total that originally seemed below-par. Johnson’s 1-12 led the way while Grace Harris was also brilliant, taking 1-16 from three. With the bat, Laura Harris’ unbeaten 32 added crucial late runs for the away team.
The Consolation Act: Despite the loss of Rachael Haynes for a two-ball duck, Rachel Priest wasn’t afraid to take on the Heat attack. She cleared the boundary in the second over, punishing international spinner Jess Jonassen, and dished out more of the same in the sixth, racing to 40 from 28 deliveries before falling for 44 (33).
The Turning point: Priest’s wicket was the key for the Heat and it was a huge moment when she holed out off the bowling of Delissa Kimmince in the ninth over, gone for 44. It struck a heavy blow to the Thunder’s momentum, with just five runs scored from the next two overs. Alex Blackwell’s 28-ball 29 and Nicola Carey’s 19 off 10 ensured the race went down to the final ball, but it was Priest’s dismissal that turned the tide.
The Next Stop: The WBBL final! Their opponent will be determined in Saturday’s second semi-final, when two-time champions Sydney Sixers battle the Melbourne Renegades for a spot in the big dance.
Sydney Thunder XI: Rachael Haynes, Rachel Priest (wk), Naomi Stalenberg, Alex Blackwell (c), Stafanie Taylor, Nicola Carey, Rene Farrell, Maisy Gibson, Lisa Griffith, Sam Bates, Belinda Vakarewa
Brisbane Heat XI: Beth Mooney (wk), Grace Harris, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Kirby Short (c), Jess Jonassen, Josie Dooley, Laura Harris, Laura Wolvaardt, Delissa Kimmince, Jemma Barsby, Haidee Birkett