Adelaide’s Sarah Coyte helped spearhead an emphatic 50-run victory over the Stars. Photo: brendan espositoWhile the Women’s Big Bash League has made great strides this season, it would have been given a greater boost on Sunday had the feats of Sarah Coyte and Sophie Devine been seen beyond those at Junction Oval on Sunday.
The bottom-of-the-table position of Adelaide Strikers was made to look inexplicable as the all-round effort of Coyte and brutal hitting of Devine led them to a 50-run thumping of Melbourne Stars.
Coyte has made her name at international level as an accurate medium-pacer. Against the Stars she gave a reminder of why she is nevertheless reputed to be an all-rounder by first making a career-best 71 off 54 deliveries, and then taking 3-12 from four overs.
The 24-year-old took the lead in helping the Strikers overcome the loss of their key batter, England’s Sarah Taylor, in the second over.
Losing Coyte in the second-last over could have been a hindrance. The most it was not was the form of Devine, who in 14 deliveries clouted an unbeaten 47.
The latter, a New Zealand international, struck 26 runs from the final over. This included three sixes off England international Nat Sciver. It was the kind of innings that demonstrated that some female players can clear the boundaries as regularly as big-hitting men do.
“Not much goes through my mind when I’m [batting] like that,” Devine later explained. “I had a few big scores back home in New Zealand which were a bit similar. Once you get in that zone things just come naturally. The more I think about it the worse I get.
“It was nice just to go out and hit a few balls, and get hold of a couple.”
Chasing the Strikers’ 4-169 was always going to be heavily reliant on the performance of Meg Lanning. The Stars and captain fell in the seventh over, bowled around her legs by one of the finds of the tournament, leg-spinner Amanda Wellington.
The scalp of Lanning, for 16, was deserved by the 18-year-old, who should have had her stumped first ball. That chance was spurned by Tegan McPharlin, as champion wicketkeeper Taylor was instead used as an outfielder.
England all-rounder Sciver has been underwhelming with bat and ball for the Stars, so when Lanning became the third casualty of the innings – Katie Mack and Mignon du Preez both fell cheaply – there was significant pressure on her to lead the chase.
When Sciver fell immediately, bowled by Coyte, to leave the home team at 4-35 then were as good as beaten.
One of the few things the Stars could take solace from was the contributions of wicketkeeper Emma Inglis (36) and all-rounder Anna Lanning (24), who shared a 50-run partnership to lessen the damage for the Stars.
Coyte felt her innings, her second half-century of the tournament, showed the benefit of having left NSW in the winter and having to assume more responsibility in South .
“It’s been a bit of a challenge but I’m glad I’ve taken the opportunities when I’ve been able to get out into the middle,” she said. “Hopefully I’ve been able to add a bit more stability to the line-up, for the Strikers and for the Scorpions. I’m glad I made the move.”
Coyte’s performance was hailed by Inglis as “pretty clinical … what you’d expect from an n player”.
“It’s good that she’s turning up and doing that. I’d just prefer if it wasn’t against us,” Inglis said.
The Stars lost leg-spinner Kristen Beams midway through the innings after injuring her finger while fielding in her follow-through. Scans showed the incumbent national-team spinner avoided a fracture.
“The good news is it’s not broken, just a dislocation. She’ll have to get a couple of stitches in it … she’ll be back in no time, hopefully,” Inglis said.