In what was surely one of the most dramatic finishes to any cricket match over any format in the history of the sport, the Sydney Sixers pulled a most unlikely victory out of the bag on the final ball of their Women’s Big Bash League semi-final against the Melbourne Renegades at the Drummoyne Oval thanks to a combination of exceptional fielding, slow running between the wickets and some impressive improvisation by a wicketkeeper.
Needing three runs to overtake the Sixers' score of 131 and win the match on the final ball, the Renegades’ Sophie Molineux carved a shot over backward point for what seemed destined to be a four, only to see her effort thwarted by a remarkable piece of fielding by Erin Burns, who denied a boundary with her well-timed dive with but inches to spare.
Burn’s team-mate Sarah Aley in support then launched the ball to the striker’s end with the Renegades having stolen two runs, whereupon wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy’s quickly removed her glove and scored a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to run Molineux out with the scores tied - scroll down to see the dramatic conclusion.
It was perhaps unfair that Sophie Molineux should be on the losing team following her explosive 55 from 54 balls, a feat even more impressive considering that she was responsible for dragging her team from a miserly 19-3, when she entered the fray, to being just three runs away from the final with a solitary ball left to bowl of regulation time.
The tied scores at the end of the 20th over necessitated a deciding Super Over, which proved relatively anti-climactic compared to the events that had unfolded moments earlier.
The pace of bowling of the Sixer’s Marizanne Kapp restricted the Renegades to just six runs in their Super Over attempt.
This gave Renegades bowler Molly Strano a difficult total to defend, and she was duly smacked for six off the fourth ball of her over by a rampant Ellyse Perry to consign her team to a defeat which had earlier seemed impossible.
The Sixers will face the Brisbane Heat in the final next Saturday and will win a third consecutive Big Bash title should they emerge victorious.
They will face a determined Heat team, however, who are aiming to become the first team outside of Sydney to win the tournament