The WBBL got off to a great start with individual genius showing why a change in the tournament was delayed.
The seventh of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) got off to a spectacular start after a stunning piece of individual brilliance with one of the tournament’s new imports.
The Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars face off in the opening game of the WBBL in Hobart on Thursday night.
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Heavy rain at Blundstone Arena delayed the start before the weather eventually softened, allowing both teams to hit for 11 overs each in a shortened game.
The stars took an absolute flight thanks to veteran Elise Vilani’s powerful kick until a sensational field kick broke their opening partnership.
Annabel Sutherland slapped a bouncer from Sixers captain Ellyse Perry to Shafali Verma.
The cannon bounced off perfectly for the Indian star, who, with a single log to aim for, fired a rocket that hit the logs and blew up the bails, and Sutherland returned to the mansion.
Verma was immediately congratulated for his incredible direct hit missed by Perry, who embraced him in a sight rarely seen in cricket.
Just last week, Verma and Perry faced off in the multi-format drama between Australia and India.
However, for the first time in WBBL history, Indian players took part in the tournament due to previous scheduling conflicts and BCCI’s reluctance for India’s top players to compete in Australia’s domestic competition.
Incredibly, taking the field isn’t a special strength for Verma, who is better known for his explosive kick, which is India’s top spot.
Earlier this year, the 17-year-old became the youngest player, male or female, to represent India in all three formats of the game.
Experts and cricket fans were stunned by Verma’s athletic exhaustion, but were equally delighted to see him play alongside members of the Australian team in the WBBL.
Former Australian captain Lisa Stalekar commented, “I’m sure all the Indian fans are like, ‘Why didn’t he do this for us in Indian colours?’ he thinks,” he said.
“It’s the first opportunity in magenta and (it) impacts a run and the Sydney Sixers are able to get their first wickets thanks to some really good pitches.”
The Stars scored 99 out of 11 overs, largely thanks to his 54 shot while maintaining Vilani’s stellar form over the past few tournaments.
In pursuit of 100 wins, Verma joins Australian superstar Alyssa Healy in the Sixers top spot.
The Indian, however, could not repeat his heroism with the stick, receiving a clean eight-man bowling by the avenging Sutherland.
Healy was in excellent contact for the Sixers, shooting 57 laps with 27 balls to keep the running chase manageable for the magenta team, which hit the target four balls needed to kick off the WBBL campaign perfectly.
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