Latest Match Report – Thunder vs Stars 32nd Match 2023/24

Sydney Thunder 125 (Knight 45, Day 4-35, McKenna 3-18, Sutherland 3-22) won Melbourne Stars 121 for 9 (Darlington 5-10) by four runs

Hannah Darlington took her first five-wicket haul to spoil Meg Lanning’s retirement party and help Sydney Thunder move up the WBBL ladder with a four-run win over the Melbourne Stars.

Darlington took 5 for 10 at North Sydney Oval on Friday as the Thunder defended 125. The figures are the best by any bowler this season and are second only to Megan Shutt’s 6 for 10 in WBBL history.

Darlington’s wickets included Stars captain Lanning, who was 19 behind the day after announcing his shock retirement from international cricket.

Lanning flashed his trademark cut shots and easily guided the ball outside the off-stump to guide Stars to a much-needed win.

But when he edged a cut shot from Darlington past wicketkeeper Tahlia Wilson, the Stars’ chase suddenly ran into serious trouble.

No. Some late scoring from 11 saw Millingworth tie the game at nine in the last over when Thunder spinner Samari Atabatu held his nerve to end the game with a dot ball when five runs were needed.

Lanning has yet to set an end date for his franchise’s T20 career, but the Stars should now see him at his best in the final five games of the season. Sitting seventh on the ladder, they will need to win all of those matches to reach the finals.

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Darlington was the catalyst for the Thunder’s success. She then bowled England star Alice Capsey for 27 before dismissing Annabelle Sutherland in similar fashion.

The 21-year-old bowled the ball of the day to Kim Garth for a golden dugout, pushing it outside the off stump to pick up middle and leg.

Just as the Stars were set to go into the game, Darlington was caught by Maia Bouchier on the lakeside boundary for 23 runs.

Darlington, who made his Australian debut aged 19, is pushing for his first national cap in two years after taking 13 wickets in his last four WBBL games.

After Thunder looked down and out, the ball came to her work. Only Heather Knight’s 45 helped the hosts’ innings stand, after they had slumped to 39 for 3 at the start of 30 for 0 and were always rebuilding.

Teenager Rhys McKenna in particular bowled well for the Stars as Sutherland took 3 for 22.

The Thunder’s win saw them overtake the Adelaide Strikers with six wins from seven games after collecting the wooden spoon last season.

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