Brisbane power hitter Grace Harris admits a bit of her is eager to see Adelaide star Sophie Devine unleash in Sunday’s WBBL final.
The Heat will be out to defend their crown at Allan Border Field after Harris had smashed her team into the final with a 27-ball 43 in Saturday’s second semi-final against the Melbourne Renegades.
Harris’ knock, which included four sixes, ensured Brisbane reached their target of 164 with 12 balls to spare.
Standing in their way, however, is a Strikers team who again have New Zealand allrounder Devine to thank for reaching their first WBBL final.
The recently crowned player of the tournament scored her ninth half-century of the campaign before finishing unbeaten on 65, as the Strikers secured an eight-wicket win over Perth in Saturday’s opening semi-final.
Having earlier claimed the vital wicket of Scorchers and Australian captain Meg Lanning for just one in the second over of the day, Devine’s impressive knock means she heads into Sunday’s final with 764 runs at an average of 84.88.
That tally is just 13 shy of Ellyse Perry’s record haul of 777 runs from last year’s tournament.
“Sophie Devine, I think I might be girl-crushing out there for a little bit,” Harris said.
Depends how she bats. If she gets out for a duck, I won’t be. But, if she tees off, I’ll probably have my jaw on the ground in awe.
“She’s had a fantastic competition. She’s obviously been player of this competition and it’s seriously deserved.”
The two teams met in a pair of matches earlier this season in Mackay with the Strikers claiming the first game by eight wickets before the Heat won the second by nine wickets.
Harris says Saturday’s semi-final results set up a blockbuster final between what she believes are the tournament’s outstanding teams.
“It’ll be definitely a tough ask to beat the Strikers – they’re a well-balanced team,” she said.
“If I’m going to be cheeky, I’m going to say the two best teams that have performed all year have made the final so I’m really happy with that result too.”
Both teams made relatively light work of their semi-finals.
The Scorchers were reduced to 3-23 early against the Strikers and, despite recovering somewhat to reach 7-126 off their 20 overs, Devine and Tahlia McGrath’s (36) 79-run second-wicket stand ensured Adelaide made the target with 11 balls remaining.
Melbourne’s 4-163 looked a challenging target, with Josephine Dooley making an unbeaten 50, while captain Jess Duffin (44 off 35) and Georgia Wareham (22 off 8) provided the fireworks.
New Zealander Maddy Green’s 46 off just 29 balls gave the Heat a good start before Harris and fellow Australian international Jess Jonassen (38 off 23) belted an 80-run third-wicket partnership off only 44 deliveries to take the game away from the Renegades.
Molly Strano picked up 4-28 off her four overs but her efforts were in vain, with the Heat reaching 6-166 off the final ball of the 18th over.
Sunday’s final begins at 1:40pm.