Ismail the star of WBBL Final

Ismail the star of WBBL Final

Shabnim Ismail became the first South African to win a Player of the Match award in a Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) Final after starring for Sydney Thunder in a stunning upset win over Melbourne Stars on Saturday.

The Momentum Proteas pacer claimed an incredible two for 12 in a mesmerising four-over spell of fast bowling, which included 16 dot balls, that helped restrict the tournament favourites to a meagre 86 for nine.

She received brilliant support from Sammy-Jo Johnson (2/11) – the seamer that accounted for the other South African in the final, Mignon du Preez (4) – as well as the other Thunder bowlers, before watching her batting team-mates ease to the target with more than six overs to spare.

The result in the sixth edition of the WBBL, handed the champions their second title. The entire 2020/21 edition of the lucrative Australian competition was played in the Sydney due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ismail, who had started the competition slowly, ended with a flourish to finish with 14 wickets at 20.28 and an economy rate of 5.56.

That placed her 11th amongst the leading wicket-takers in the competition, with her economy rate only second to New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr (5.32). Johnson was the leading bowler with 22 wickets.

Du Preez, meanwhile, was the best-placed batter from South Africa after amassing 380 runs at an average of 31.66 and strike-rate of 122.58. The leading run-scorer was Aussie Beth Mooney (551 runs).

There were eight South Africans in total playing in this year’s WBBL.

The full list of Momentum Proteas at WBBL 2020 are: Dané van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp (both Sydney Sixers), Shabnim Ismail (Sydney Thunder), Mignon du Preez (Melbourne Stars), Lizelle Lee (Melbourne Renegades), Chloe Tryon (Hobart Hurricanes), Laura Wolvaardt (Adelaide Strikers), Nadine de Klerk (Brisbane Heat).