Last-ball drama ends in heartbreak for Melbourne Stars

Adelaide: A superb Melbourne Stars debut from 16-year-old Annabel Sutherland wasn’t enough to get her side over the line as a Tabatha Saville four from the last ball of the match gave the Adelaide Strikers a one-wicket win at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.

Sutherland, the daughter of Cricket chief James Sutherland and sister of talented all-rounder Will Sutherland, played four games for the Melbourne Renegades last season but hadn’t bowled in the Women’s Big Bash League until Tuesday, when she was included in the Stars’ XI for the first time.

Stars openers Lizelle Lee (52 from 52 balls) and Katie Mack (42 from 34) helped their team to a total of 5-132 from their 20 overs. The game was in the balance with the Strikers 2-70 after 11 overs when Stars captain Kristen Beams, back from a finger injury, brought Sutherland into the attack. The seamer struck with her first ball, claiming the scalp of n international Tahlia McGrath for 13, caught at mid off by Anna Lanning. Sutherland took three more wickets to finish with 4-20 from her four overs.

But the Strikers weren’t done with yet. The match came down to the wire, with Beams getting a hand to a straight drive from Saville to run out non-striker Alex Price with four runs needed from the last three balls. Beams bowled a dot ball the next ball, but with one ball left she bowled a chest high no-ball. Saville then struck a four off a free hit through deep backward point to win the match by one wicket on the last ball of the game.

The loss further reduced the Stars’ already slim finals hopes. They are three games and net run rate adrift of fourth-placed Brisbane Heat, with six matches to play.

Sutherland said she’d been told by Stars coach David Hemp at the team’s hotel on Tuesday morning that she’d be playing. It was too late for her family to make it for the game but she was confident they’d be watching a live stream on the Cricket website, and was anticipating some phone chats with her parents and Will.

She said it was “an amazing feeling” to bowl so successfully, while the final over was “a rollercoaster”.

“We didn’t finish as well as we would’ve liked, but I guess that’s cricket and we can’t do much about it,” Sutherland said.

The Stars’ English all-rounder Georgia Elwiss missed the game with a finger injury and is set to be assessed ahead of the side’s next games against Brisbane in Mackay on Friday night and Saturday night.

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