The score: Perth Scorchers 2-148 (Sciver 38no, Villani 38, Bolton 37; Taylor 1-23) defeated Sydney Thunder 8-121 (Wilson 46, Priest 25; King 3-17) by 27 runs
Match in a tweet: They're through to the final again! @ScorchersBBL win by 27 runs to book their spot in the #WBBL03 decider!
The hero: Nicole Bolton and opening partner Elyse Villani continued their form to lay a strong foundation for Perth, combining in a 65-run opening stand with Bolton’s 37 coming from just 26 deliveries, including seven boundaries.
There was a feeling at the innings break that the 148 put on by the Scorchers might be a little short on a good Optus Stadium wicket with a speedy outfield, and so it looked when Katherine Brunt’s first over went for 10 runs. But Bolton struck a huge blow in the second over when she removed international teammate Rachael Haynes for 1, finishing her four overs with 1-22 and claiming player-of-the-match honours in the process.
The spin star: Off-spinner Emma King was outstanding in her four overs, capturing 3-17. The Thunder had plenty of fire-power left in the bank despite the early loss of opener Haynes, but it all turned when King – alongside pacer Piepa Clearly – took the ball. Cleary had the dangerous Rachel Priest top-edging to the safe hands of Natalie Sciver for 25 (19), before King turned the screws. Just eight runs came from overs 5-8 and the pressure proved too much, Naomi Stalenberg out for 1 (6), Blackwell for 9 (22) and before Stafanie Taylor following one over later, for 7 (11).
King returned to bowl the 16th over when a late Thunder revival looked on the cards, bowling Nicola Carey. King had 3-6 after three overs and while a couple of boundaries from Fran Wilson blew her figures out to 3-17, it was a match-turning performance from the 25-year-old.
The openers: Bolton and Villani have scored a combined 996 runs in WBBL|03, forming a formidable pairing at the top of the order for their team.
The consolation effort: The Thunder were in all sorts at 5-46 in the 11th over, but England allrounder Fran Wilson and Nicola Carey briefly reignited their hopes with a 42-run partnership. Wilson, a late addition to the Thunder squad in WBBL|03 as a replacement player for India star Harmanpreet Kaur, was the standout with the bat for the Thunder, finding the boundary on eight occasions in a very impressive 46 from 28 deliveries.
The catch: With the Thunder in early trouble, the wicket of West Indies captain Taylor was also going to be a key one for the Scorchers. She was sent on her way for seven courtesy of a brilliant running catch from New Zealand import Thamsyn Newton.
The stat: Scorchers skipper Villani became just the third player to pass 500 runs in a single WBBL season, bringing up the milestone with a boundary. She joins Sixers captain Ellyse Perry in the 500-club for WBBL|03, while injured Australian captain Meg Lanning managed it in both seasons one and two.
The fantasy wrap: Bolton led the way with 103 points, followed by Emma King with 89 and Natalie Sciver with 85.
The wash-up: The Scorchers are the first team to progress to the WBBL|03 final, where they’ll play either the Sixers or Strikers. The venue for that encounter could be determined tonight if the Scorchers defeat the Hurricanes in the men’s BBL – otherwise they’ll need to wait for the outcome of tomorrow night’s second semi-final in Adelaide.
Thunder XI: Blackwell (C), Bates, Carey, Farrell, Gibson, Haynes, Priest (WK), Stalenberg, Taylor, Vakarewa, Wilson.
Scorchers XI: Villani (C), Banting, Bolton, Brunt, Cleary, Ebsary, Graham, King, Newton, Sciver, Smith.