India captain Harmanpreet Kaur held her nerve under pressure while opener Jemimah Rodrigues scored an invaluable 33 as Melbourne Renegades beat hosts Hobart Hurricanes by six wickets in the Women’s Big Bash League match in Hobart on Saturday.
Chasing 122, Rodrigues and skipper Sophie Molineux (16 off 16) shared 22 runs for the opening stand before the latter departed.
Rodrigues, whose knock came off 34 balls and was laced with two boundaries and a six, then stitched 68 runs for the second wicket with Courtney Webb (31) before three quick wickets made the chase a little tricky for Renegades.
With pressure building after the loss of quick wickets, the onus was on the experienced Harmanpreet (24 not out off 19) to hold the innings together and get Renegades over the finishing line. The Indian star completed the job with four balls in hand and with a bit of support from George Wareham (5 not out) at the other end.
A brilliant six under pressure stood out from the Indian captain’s innings, moments after she survived a close LBW appeal. Earlier in the day, Harmanpreet had a scare after stepping outside the field for a while, appearing to injure her knee while attempting a catch. She was back soon and bowled her share of overs too.
While Kaur has played in the WBBL before, this was Jemimah Rodrigues’ first experience. Both the Indian stars were making their Renegades debut. The highlight of Rodrigues’ innings was a brilliant strike down the ground for six.
Earlier, Renegades’ spin twins of Molineux (2/12) and Wareham (3/13) applied the brakes before bowling out Hurricanes for 121. Harmanpreet also registered her name in the wicket-takers’ list, taking the wicket of compatriot Richa Ghosh, who played a 14-ball 21-run cameo.
Ghosh, a wicketkeeper for India, produced a moment of magic on the field with a direct hit after a missed attempt at a diving catch.
In the second match of the day, Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma failed to live up to their reputations as their side Sydney Thunder lost by 30 runs against Adelaide Strikers here.
Sent into bat, Adelaide Strikers rode on skipper Tahlia McGrath’s 42 and Madeline Penna’s 35 to post a competitive 140 for seven.
Deepti Sharma turned out to be expensive with the ball, giving away 32 runs from her four overs while accounting for one wicket.
While chasing, the Indian duo of Mandhana (4) and Deepti (4) failed to sparkle with the bat as Sydney Thunders were bowled out for 110.
Both the matches were played behind closed doors under strict bio-security protocols after the state of Tasmania went into a three-day lockdown on Friday following a COVID scare.
A record eight Indian players are part of the premier women’s T20 franchise league in the world.
With PTI inputs