Big Bash League: With the Sydney Thunder needing five runs to win from the ball of the innings to progress to the final, Brisbane Heat fielder Haidee Birkett took an outstanding catch on the boundary to seal the result for the Heat.
Haidee Birkett made a matchwinning play.Source:News Corp Australia
A stunning boundary catch from Haidee Birkett has helped the Brisbane Heat reach their first WBBL final after edging past the Sydney Thunder by four runs in a gripping semi-final at Drummoyne Oval.
With the Thunder chasing 141 for victory and needing five to win off the final delivery, Nicola Carey connected beautifully as she slog swept Jess Jonassen over deep square leg and everyone thought the ball was going to clear the rope, or at least reach it to send the game into a super over.
But Birkett made terrific ground to pluck a high catch to leave the Thunder heartbroken — and Australia in awe.
CHECK OUT THE CATCH IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
The Thunder’s chase started poorly when Rachel Priest fell for a duck in the opening over to player of the match Sammy-Jo Johnson (1-12 off four overs). The home side looked the goods while the dangerous Rachel Haynes, who hit two sixes in her 44 off 33 deliveries, was at the crease but when she holed out, the Heat, led by Johnson, completely strangled the Thunder in the middle overs. West Indian Stafanie Taylor struggled for timing in compiling 17 off 28 balls as the asking rate climbed to 39 off the last three overs.
Captain Alex Blackwell (29) also started sedately before teeing off on Delissa Kimmince late and ultimately holing out to Laura Wolvaardt off Jemma Barsby (3-23) in the penultimate over before Carey (19) came literally within centimetres of dragging the Thunder into the decider.
Earlier, Johnson (33) was her usual attacking self before Laura Harris (32no) produced a gem of a cameo at the end to lift the Heat to 7-140 on a tricky deck. Opener Grace Harris spooned a Taylor full toss to Naomi Stalenberg before Beth Mooney, fresh off a matchwinning century against the Thunder a week ago in Cairns, could manage only 14.
Skipper Kirby Short departed for a golden duck to leave the Heat wobbling at 3-38 before Johnson guided the Thunder to safety with bat and ball. “To put 140 on the board, we thought was competitive,” Johnson said. “(Brisbane) have got a really good batting line-up so we knew we had to bowl well.
“Stoked we could pull it off.”