The Melbourne Stars curse has struck again, with their women’s side suffering a cataclysmic collapse in the WBBL final on Saturday evening.
Having dominated opposition throughout the entire tournament, the Stars faltered in their must-win clash against the Sydney Thunder, collapsing to 5/37 in the first innings.
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The Stars finished in top spot on the WBBL ladder this year, qualifying for their first finals campaign in six years.
But after securing a comfortable victory against the Perth Scorchers in Wednesday’s semi-final, the Melbourne-based club crumbled to an embarrassing seven wicket thrashing.
Although she has opted to bowl first all season, Stars skipper Meg Lanning chose to have a bat at North Sydney Oval, a decision she immediately regretted.
Even stranger, it was the first time she had won the toss and batted first in four seasons.
The Thunder’s seam bowlers were impeccable with the new ball under lights, hooping the ball around corners and baffling the Stars top-order.
South African import Shabnim Ismail was at her fierce best on Saturday, ending her four-over spell with 2/12.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Sammy-Jo Johnson will finish as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker after snaring 2/11 from her four overs.
Although the Thunder spilt several catches in the field, the Stars continued to offer chances throughout their dire collapse.
Lanning was removed for 13, while South African star Nat Sciver was cheaply dismissed by tweaker Sam Bates for 11.
The Stars finished with 9/86 from their 20 overs, the club’s second-lowest team total in WBBL history.
The Thunder chased the target with 38 balls or 6.2 overs to spare to secure their second WBBL title.
Skipper Rachael Haynes (21 not out off 17 balls) and English international heath Knight (26 not out off 19 balls0 guided the Thunder to victory.
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The Melbourne-based franchise has an unfortunate record in finals series’, their male team regularly tripping at the final hurdle.
The Stars’ BBL side have qualified for the post-season on eight occasions, but are yet to win a title. They have lost three BBL finals since 2016, including their unforgettable choke against the Melbourne Renegades in 2019.
Now their female counterparts have suffered the same fate, and the Stars finals hoodoo lives on.