Melbourne: The New South Wales Breakers have claimed a remarkable 20th Women’s National Cricket League title with a 31-run win over the Konica Minolta Queensland Fire at North Sydney Oval.
Having set Queensland 260 for victory, the Breakers had to wait until the eighth over before taking their first wicket, with Ashleigh Gardner (2-36) removing Fire captain Kirby Short (8).
Fellow opener Beth Mooney (34) and Jess Jonassen (17) steadied the ship, but the loss of four middle-order wickets had them 5-102 and facing an uphill battle.
Valuable contributions from Laura Harris (25) and Delissa Kimmince (44) gave the Fire hope, but the Breakers again took the ascendancy through Nicola Carey (3-39) and Rene Farrell (2-37).
An unbeaten 36 from Jemma Barsby along with handy runs from Haidee Birkett (10) and Georgia Prestwidge (18) looked to have the Breakers on edge, but Gardner, Carey and Farrell removed the tail to hand the Breakers their 20th title in what was their 23rd straight finals appearance.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl at the start of the day, Queensland got off to the perfect start thanks to Sammy-Jo Johnson (1-42) who claimed the key wicket of Alyssa Healy (0) in the first over.
Rachael Haynes (79) went about building a total with Ellyse Perry (31), before combining with Carey (50) for a 103-run stand.
Queensland then staged a fightback, first removing Haynes, then Carey and Naomi Stalenberg (15) to have the game evenly poised, but late hitting from Gardner (30) helped boost the home side’s total to 7-259.
Kimmince (2-52), Jonassen (2-43) and Birkett (2-19), all finished with multiple wickets for Queensland, while Holly Ferling (0-23) was also economical with the ball.