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‘Crowd silenced’: Shock start to WBBL decider

Nicola Hancock has landed a huge early blow for Brisbane Heat after Adelaide Strikers chose to bat first in the WBBL decider at Adelaide Oval.

Strikers opener Katie Mack was bowled after chopping an attempted pull shot onto her stumps with the second ball of Hancock’s first over in the powerplay.

“Might have just silenced the crowd for a split second,” says Mel Jones in commentary.

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BAT FLIP: STRIKERS WIN TOSS, ELECT TO BAT

Adelaide Strikers have won the toss and will bat first in their home WBBL decider against Brisbane Heat.

Captain Tahlia McGrath had no hesitation opting to bat, saying she was looking forward to her side putting runs on the board for Brisbane to chase.

“We can’t wait…we’re hoping (the home crowd) make some noise for us,” McGrath said.

English all-rounder Dani Gibson has departed for international duties, but Adelaide welcomes back Darcie Brown.

Mikayla Hinkley is in for the Heat, replacing Bess Heath.

Heat skipper Jess Jonassen says she would have also batted.

“It’s no surprise they opted to bat first,” she said.

BOTH FINALISTS CLAIM ADVANTAGE AHEAD OF DECIDER

Ed Bourke

Both WBBL finalists claim they have been advantaged by the competition’s quirky finals system as the well travelled Brisbane Heat try to upset Adelaide’s bid for back-to-back titles on Saturday.

The Strikers have not had to play during the WBBL finals after finishing on top and qualifying directly for a home final at the Adelaide Oval, but the Heat were forced onto the road for two knockout clashes at home and then in Perth the next day in a madcap run to the

tournament decider.

Brisbane Heat captain Jess Jonassen said the chaotic travel schedule was “no disadvantage at all” for the away side, who have found form again after a late season slump with big wins over the Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers.

“It’s not a disadvantage at all, to be honest we actually weren’t too displeased we were going to Perth, because it meant we actually got the opportunity to play … the forecast in (Brisbane) was diabolical,” Jonassen said.

“All teams have been in a similar position with the amount of travel, but we’ve got some really good momentum at an ideal and opportunistic time, so we’re looking to go for one more.”

Brisbane Heat say they are loving life on the road during WBBL finals. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Brisbane Heat say they are loving life on the road during WBBL finals. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

But the Strikers will have a home crowd behind them as they aim for back-to-back titles. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images
But the Strikers will have a home crowd behind them as they aim for back-to-back titles. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Opposing captain Tahlia McGrath disagreed, saying the Strikers stood to benefit from time off at home after a busy season which included playing “home” games at interstate venues as part of the packed schedule.

“I think it’s been an advantage — there’s been so much travel and it’s such a hectic schedule.

We’ve been able to spend the last four or five days at home, we had a couple of days off, a really good hitout with some centre wicket stuff and then it’s just been about getting the individual prep we need to be ready,” McGrath said.

“We’ve been in this situation four times in the last five years and we’ve kept that same core group for pretty much all those finals, so we’re really calm.

“We’re really excited and we’re stoked that it’s a home final, we haven’t played a grand final in front of the home crowd.

“And we’ve played some really good games at home this year, we’re undefeated at home and love it when we have that crowd supporting us.”

Sports content producer

Sports content producer for News Corp’s national network team and CODE Sports, specialising in KFC SuperCoach and AFL….

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