Ellyse Perry has played the lead role with Bat and Ball when the Sydney Sixers won a dominant 49-run win over rival Thunder at Crosstown in the opening match of their first independent Rebel WBBL season.
Perry hit a brilliant 81 from just 48 balls, found the limit 13 times, and once clarified it with the Thunder Bowlers who could not find a way to solve it when she laid the foundation for the Sixers 6-192.
She shared an 83-run opener with Australian team-mate Alyssa Healy, who scored two of her own records with a quick 32-ball-42 win and was on a good path for a century when she was considered unlikely by Erin Burns Single was sent home on the 17th, only to be trapped far behind her crease despite a desperate dive.
Perry wasted little time putting the ball into play and hit her fourth delivery to catch thunder-opener Naomi Stalenberg for two. Only two balls later she picked up a second wicket when Rachael Priest (1) scored a one-goal strike for Jodie Hicks.
The thunder, who came into the game after a series of off-season departures with a new look, got into great trouble when captain Rachael Haynes (11) followed their openers to the dugout and left the lime green team 3-25.
Enter Phoebe Litchfield. The only 16-year-old left-hander Litchfield, a 10th-grade student, had already made some sporting parades on the border on the Big Bash debut when she came in the middle.
She looked unimpressed by the opportunity and, after finding the ninth ball boundary, skilfully scooped the next for another four. The next day, she was overkill for a third.
With the oldest player on the Thunder list, the 36-year-old Australian star Alex Blackwell, who had started his international career before Litchfield’s birth, the young left-hander was with her 68th fourth-wicket stand beyond their years to date before being knocked down by Hayley Silver-Holmes, 16, on the 26th of 22.
The goal was always well beyond the reach of the thunder after the early gates, but veteran Blackwell showed no signs of slowing as she reached half a century with 34 balls and continued her attack on 56.
Previously, the Sixers were able to improve their clout to reach the third-highest WBBL sum, despite having placed three teenagers in below-average XI scores as South African importer Dane van Niekerk was an absent stint on the sidelines – and the injured Lauren Cheatle.
Ashleigh Gardner was in a destructive mood in their 16-ball-28 match, while the youngest Australian debutant Burns scored three quarters in their 14 out of eight games.
Perhaps the most dramatic – and most controversial – a moment in the game was the finale of the Sixers-innings when the dismissal of Hayley Silver-Holmes put 18-year-old Maddy Darke in the middle of the debut.
Darke ran to a quick single after the first ball she faced, slipped and fell, clutching her foot.
The Sixers team took care of her – understandably Darke, who had recently recovered from stress fractures in her foot – while troubled Thunder players were also streaming to the young batsman.
In the midst of the confusion, she was not thunder clothed, and as soon as she got back to her feet and signaled that she would continue with her innings, she was given a run, even though she had covered only three-quarters of the pitch before the fall.
She made a second, uninterrupted run from the last ball of the innings before trying another, the Sixers finishing with an impressive 6-192.