You’ll struggle to ever find a more ridiculously chaotic finish to a cricket match than this one.
Tasmania on Saturday night pulled off the most remarkable comeback victory to claim a second consecutive WNCL title, somehow taking five final-over wickets and bowling a shell-shocked South Australia out in an unforgettable one-run win.
After Tasmania captain Elyse Villani produced her third century of the season to help her side post 264 from its 50 overs, South Australia looked in strife at 5-185, needing 80 off 52 balls to win.
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SA captain Jemma Barsby (28 off 17), Courtney Webb (83 off 107) and Annie O’Neill (28 off 20) then flipped the script, consistently finding the boundary to push SA to 5-220 before rain stopped play with six overs to go. Importantly, SA was five runs ahead of the DLS target when the weather turned.
When the rain cleared, SA’s target had been reduced to 243 as the game had lost three overs.
Barsby smashed two boundaries in the penultimate over, taking SA to 5-239 before the last over. It meant the Scorpions only needed four runs to win from the final six balls.
Cue the carnage — and some Sarah Coyte heroics.
— First ball: O’Neil is out, bowled by Coyte.
— Second: ball: Amanda-Jade Wellington conjures a single to third man, meaning SA needed just three runs to win.
— Third ball: Barsby is out stumped, missing a length ball after advancing and allowing wicketkeeper Emma Mannix-Greesves to whip the bails off.
— Fourth ball: New batter Ella Wilson drives the ball back to Coyte, who gets a hand to the ball, which ricochets onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end to run out Wellington for one.
— Fifth ball: Wilson is out plum LBW, hit on her back leg by a Coyte delivery right in front of the stumps
— Sixth ball: Going for the win, Anesu Mushangwe is run out, hitting the ball to mid-off only for a single before Villani rushes in from mid-off and whips the bails off to spark wild scenes.
Gobsmacked commentator Peter Newlinds said it was a “freakish” performance from Coyte.
“This is extraordinary,” Newlinds said in commentary.
“Can you believe that? They have gone back-to-back in the most dramatic circumstances. Look at the scenes out in the middle. They have pulled that out of the fire — and I just do not know what has happened to the Scorpsions.
“It’s a game that will go down in cricket folklore.”
Former star Australian wicket-keeper Julia Price said the “pressure of finals” got to the Scorpions.
“They just got a little bit too close. They saw the finish line and they just had already played their final before that last (rain) break,” Price told Fox Cricket.
“The panic, the South Australians are going to be absolutely devastated. They had that in the bag.
“But Tasmania take a bow, a magnificent effort. Sarah Coyte, what a superstar.
“I think even Tasmania are a little shocked they’ve won that.”
As per the Fox Sports Lab, Tasmania became just the second team to win consecutive WNCL titles (joining NSW) and third team to win multiple WNCL titles (joining NSW and Victoria).
“You are always ahead until they pass you and we knew we had to create a few dot balls but the pressure was always going to be on them, so if I executed what I wanted to bowl, we were always going to be a chance and I’m glad it came off,” Coyte said post-game.
“I was actually pretty calm (before the last over) because I’d spoken to Jude Coleman (Tasmania Coach) before I went out and was really clear with where I was going to bowl.
“It was a really bizarre game, it was stop-start where we were constantly looking at Duckworth-Lewis. The game ebbed and flowed a lot … This is the best game I’ve been a part of without a doubt. You can’t ever replicate a game like that.”
Barsby was devastated after the game.
“Pretty raw at the moment, it was an unbelievable finish, needing less than a run-a-ball, being out there I’ve done that a couple of times before and unfortunately I couldn’t get it over the line today for the girls,” she said.
“We’ve had different people step up and difference times this season and that’s why I’m proud of the girls because we have got better from previous years and we’re excited that we’re still building.”