WBBL 2020: Heather Knight blasts big score as Thunder defeat Strikers

Heather Knight put on a batting masterclass as the Sydney Thunder beat the Adelaide Strikers by 58 runs at Sydney Showground Stadium.

The England captain smashed 83 runs off just 39 balls – the highest total for a Thunder player in the history of the WBBL – as the Thunder set the Strikers an imposing target of 191 runs to win.

It was Knight’s first real knock for the Thunder after their opening two matches of the season were washed out.

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Heather Knight recorded the highest ever score by a Thunder player. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

With the threat of rain around the ground again ever-present, the Thunder were sent into bat by the Strikers and they absolutely made the most of it.

Sammy-Jo Johnson, batting for the first time in lime green after moving across from the Brisbane Heat, set the tone with an explosive 30 runs off 13 balls. She was devastating in the seventh over, smashing four sixes off the bowling of Amanda-Jade Wellington as the Thunder took 25 runs from it.

SAMMY-JO 🔥😱 The @ThunderBBL new recruit sends four massive sixes over the rope in the over! #WBBL06 @CommBank pic.twitter.com/fWDF8Wa967

But it was then the formidable partnership of Knight and captain Rachael Haynes that set the Thunder on track for a huge total. Some wonderful hitting of her own saw Haynes contribute 39 runs to the pair’s 122-run partnership as they rotated the strike to perfection. The Strikers just had no answers for the right-hand/left-hand combination and at times made it too easy for Knight and Haynes by bowling far too short.

So often on opposite sides when England and Australia face off, Knight was thrilled to be batting alongside Haynes for a change.

“It was quite nice to bat with her rather than set fields to her, obviously having played against her quite a lot,” Knight said.

“We were talking about 170, so to get to that 190 mark was really nice”

Thunder players take a knee at the start of the Women’s Big Bash League WBBL match between the Sydney Thunder and the Adelaide Strikers. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

If the Strikers were going to get anywhere near to the target, they would need a telling contribution from the tournament’s leading run-scorer, Laura Wolvaardt. Unfortunately the talented South African couldn’t replicate her previous heroics, falling for just 10 runs.

Stafanie Taylor then managed just 18 runs as the Strikers quickly lost sight of the target, eventually falling 58 runs short.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

She might be in a different colours having left the Brisbane Heat for the Thunder, but Sammy-Jo Johnson picked up from where she left off last season. Johnson turned the game in the seventh over, when she hit four sixes off the bowling of Amanda-Jade Wellington to take a total of 25 runs from it.

Heather Knight is on fire! Three consecutive boundaries to reach her half-century, and she's not slowing down!

Tune in LIVE on 7Mate, Foxtel, Kayo Sports or ABC Radio #WBBL06 pic.twitter.com/oyRgZ6YW2i

KNOCK OF THE MATCH

With impeccable timing, Heather Knight was devastating as she smashed her way to 83 off just 39 balls. The English captain reached her half-century with three consecutive boundaries as she went on to reach the highest total for the Thunder player in the history of the WBBL.

BOWLING SPELL OF THE MATCH

Lauren Smith bowled beautifully for her first full game in the Thunder colours after she moved across from rivals the Sixers. She took the crucial wicket of Laura Wolvaardt, before ending with impressive figures of 3-26.

QUOTE OF THE MATCH

“It was a brilliant innings from her (Sammy-Jo Johnson) and I didn’t want her to have all the fun, so I tried to replicate what she did at the back end of that powerplay.” Heather Knight

Originally published asKnight batters Strikers into submission

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