HomeWBBL: Meg Lanning guides Melbourne Stars to win over Adelaide Strikers

WBBL: Meg Lanning guides Melbourne Stars to win over Adelaide Strikers

Meg Lanning was back to her electrifying best on Saturday as the Melbourne Stars handed the Adelaide Strikers yet another loss.

Australian captain Meg Lanning resoundingly shrugged off the worst form slump of her career by blasting an explosive 82 to catapult her Melbourne Stars to a comprehensive 37-run WBBL win over the Adelaide Strikers at Karen Rolton Oval on Saturday.

The Stars’ second successive victory sees them breathing heavily down the neck of the ladder-leading Melbourne Renegades – and they owe it chiefly to their skipper.

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Entering the clash with a top score of 27no, a paltry 19.2 average and sluggish 80.7 strike rate across the Stars’ first seven matches – on the back of some indifferent performances for Australia against India last month – Lanning’s return to form was emphatic.

Despite her recent woes, she never doubted the runs would eventually come back.

“I was always confident along the way that I’d get back to my best,” Lanning said.

“It took a bit longer than I would have liked, that’s for sure.

“That’s been disappointing, but it was nice to do well today.”

Lanning received terrific support from Elyse Villani, with whom she combined for a 63-run first-wicket union before Villani fell to a sharp-reflexed return catch by legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.

With early afternoon showers shortening the match to 14 overs per side, the Stars’ 4-126 appeared gettable at the halfway mark but the Strikers were never in the hunt.

After being the pick of the bowlers (2-15) for the Strikers, South African led a charmed life through a streaky innings with the bat.

She was dropped on two and five before holing out for 14, one of three catches snared by Linsey Smith, who also captured 2-19 with her left-arm orthodox spinners.

Smith was aided by 17-year-old Rhys McKenna, who snaffled two wickets in her sole over as the Strikers stumbled to their fourth successive defeat, their worst losing streak in five years.

Back to the drawing board

It’s fair to say the Strikers’ tactics of ruffling Lanning up with some short stuff backfired badly. The side’s bowlers struggled with their lengths throughout.

“A few of mine were a bit wide and one of our plans was to bowl a bumper at Meg but it didn’t get up,” Strikers young gun Darcie Brown said.

“I thought I’d try again to see if it was just the ball I bowled or the pitch, but that one got whacked too.

“She’s a class player.”

She’s back

Lanning belted Brown for three straight boundaries before raising her first half-century of the tournament with back-to-back sixes off Wellington and continued to dispatch the inaccurate Adelaide attack to all corners.

Lanning then kickstarted the Strikers’ batting demise by leaping for a high catch at mid-on to send Woolvardt packing, before taking another sharp chance to dismiss Tahlia McGrath.

It was her day.

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