WBBL: Renegades remain in finals hunt with win over Scorchers

A thumping half-century from Sophie Molineux has ensured the Melbourne Renegades remain in contention for a spot in the Women's Big Bash League finals.

On an intriguing final weekend of the WBBL where semi-final positions remain open, the Renegades successfully chased 125 for victory against the Perth Scorchers at Camberwell Sports Ground.

The Renegades began the clash in sixth spot, two wins behind the fourth-placed Scorchers. Their four-wicket win has bridged the gap, with the chance to grab what seemed an unlikely finals berth when the two teams clash at the same venue on Sunday.

The Scorchers had slipped to 4-33 but an unbeaten 61 from Lauren Ebsary meant they were able to regroup and post a competitive score off their 20 overs. Fast bowler Maitlan Brown (2-18) and off-spinner Molineux (2-31) retained their composure with the ball.

In reply, all-rounder Molineux set the tone at the top of the order, thumping eight boundaries and three sixes in a career-high 62 off 45 balls but the Gades still had work to do.

Nine runs were needed from the final nine balls, the target cut to five off the final over delivered by the part-time medium-pace of Elyse Villani. The national representative dropped Hayley Jensen on the first ball, with the Renegades scrambling a single.

Jess Duffin then provided the game-clinching moment, thumping a boundary through mid-off, prompting her teammates to dash onto the field in delight. The Renegades must also rely on the Brisbane Heat losing to the Sydney Thunder on Sunday to grab a finals berth.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Stars posted a seven-wicket win over the Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG.

Stars captain Kristen Beams described this weekend's matches as her team's "grand final". The Stars will finish near the foot of the ladder but Beams wanted her team to show pride and begin an early build for next season. They responded in style, successfully chasing 108 - and hope to reprise this success when they return for a second meeting on Sunday.

It's been a rugged year for Team Green but they were able to produce a strong team performance against the bottom-placed Hurricanes and enjoy their fifth win.

Fast bowler Annabel Sutherland, the daughter of Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland, took the new ball and impressed (1-24), having Sasha Moloney caught at mid-wicket off a mistimed pull shot. Sutherland, with a strong pre-season to come, is set to emerge as a key figure next summer.

The Stars also conjured three run outs, with Georgia Elwiss contributing two, while young wicketkeeper Nicole Faltum was involved in two stumpings. The first came when Isobel Joyce was deceived by the spin and flight of Alana King (2-23), the second a brilliant piece of leg-side work to dismiss Corinne Hall.

The Hurricanes, with only the one win, had begun well. Hayley Matthews crunched five boundaries in her 34 off 30, but only Georgia Redmayne (20 off 23) and Joyce (17 off 23) provided support.

In reply, the Stars lost King early but Katie Mack (42 off 44) and Georgia Elwiss (28 off 34) delivered a half-century stand to all but guarantee victory. Mack appeared set for a 50 before she rocked back to cut spinner Hayley Matthews and was beaten by a delivery which skidded on.

Mack had begun the season in the middle order but, as an opener, was delighted to have played a key role in this latest victory.

"I am happy wherever they put me. They put me on top and I did my best," Mack said.

"I was trying to hold myself back a bit to get the team close enough."

This story WBBL: Renegades remain in finals hunt with win over Scorchers first appeared on The Age.