It was a final ball thriller as the Sydney Sixers’ big guns fired and they outlasted a brave onslaught from teenager Phoebe Litchfield to end their loss streak while the Stars finally secured a playoff berth

Sydney Sixers beat the Sydney Thunder by four runs

Sydney Sixers have reignited their Rebel WBBL campaign with a tense four-run win over the Sydney Thunder at Showground Stadium.

After Alyssa Healy’s 22-ball 44 laid the foundation for a total of 7-147, an inspired performance with the ball restricted their local rivals to 8-143 despite a brilliant 36-ball 46 from 17-year-old Phoebe Litchfield, which took the game down to the final ball.

The victory snapped a five-game losing streak and moves the Sixers to fifth on the table, level on 12 points with the third-placed Thunder and Perth Scorchers in fourth. The Sixers languish behind those teams on net run rate, which is also worse than sixth-placed Adelaide Strikers.

The Sixers changed up their usual opening combination with the ball, as van Niekerk (1-18) joined Marizanne Kapp, and the move paid off when Tammy Beaumont holed out in the second over off the leg-spinner.

Opening partner Rachel Trenaman was trapped lbw on 16, but the telling blows came courtesy of two fine catches from Erin Burns; the first a diving effort at long off to remove in-form England import Heather Knight (16), before a sharp catch off her own bowling to end Thunder captain Rachael Haynes’ innings on 27.

Needing another 78 from 47, hard-hitting Sammy-Jo Johnson loomed as the Thunder’s major hope but when she fell for five, the Sixers’ return to the winners’ list seemed only a matter of time.

However Litchfield’s aggressive knock, featuring an array of reverse sweeps and seven boundaries, kept the game alive until the final ball, before Burns (3-28) held her nerve with 18 required from the final over, and then five needed from the final delivery, to seal a much-needed win.

17-year-old Phoebe Litchfield fell just short in the run chase // Getty

Earlier, Healy raced out of the blocks after being sent in by the Thunder, smacking three boundaries off Sammy-Jo Johnson’s first over.

While she was bowled by Shabnim Ismail off the second last ball of the sixth over, she had already lifted the Sixers to their best powerplay of the season at 1-55.

As Ellyse Perry kept the scoreboard ticking, Dane van Niekerk stepped into the No.3 position left vacant by the absent Ashleigh Gardner, who is still recovering from concussion, with aplomb.

The South Africa allrounder cleared the boundary four times in a 39-ball 45, but while the Sixers were flying at 1-82 at the midway point of the innings, van Niekerk’s dismissal saw the Thunder reel in their rivals.

A triple strike from Sammy-Jo Johnson (3-25) and two in two balls from Hannah Darlington (2-27) kept the Sixers to 7-147.

Brisbane Heat beat Perth Scorchers by four wickets with four balls remaining

Laura Kimmince had a day to remember at Hurstville Oval, producing a match-winning cameo and taking one of the catches of the season to deliver the Brisbane Heat their fifth straight win.

Kimmince blasted 40 not out from just 17 balls, an innings that featured four fours and three sixes, to power the Heat to the victory target of 138 with four wickets in hand.

Kimmince walked out to bat with Brisbane in trouble at 5-87 in the 15th over, but in a matter of moments and after a series of audacious sweeps, both reverse and conventional, the right-hander changed the course of the game.

Not only did Kimmince star with the bat, she soared through the air in slow motion to take a screaming one-handed catch at full stretch to remove Scorchers captain Beth Mooney for 49.

Brisbane have solidified their spot in second position on the ladder and now the prospect of a three-peat of titles is a real possibility.

Having been sent into bat, Mooney’s 49 followed the 45 she scored yesterday on the same pitch to record 400 runs for tournament, a feat the left-hander has achieved in every season of the WBBL.

When she was dismissed, the Scorchers looked in trouble at 4-84 in the 13th over.

But Mathilda Carmichael’s 23-ball cameo, which included two sixes, lifted the Heat to a competitive 8-137.

The run chase could not have started better for Perth with leg-spinner Sarah Glenn trapping Grace Harris for a golden duck and two balls later, she had Heat skipper Jess Jonassen stumped without scoring.

A 66-run stand between Georgia Redmayne and Maddy Green steadied the ship but when they fell it was left to Kimmince to take the long handle to the Scorchers and finish the match.

Melbourne Stars beat the Hobart Hurricanes by 39 runs

The Melbourne Stars are locked and loaded for the Rebel WBBL finals after young gun Annabel Sutherland starred in a big win over the Hobart Hurricanes.

Sutherland top-scored with 72 and captured 1-13 with the ball in the 40-run win that guaranteed the Stars top spot on the competition table to secure the first finals appearance in the club’s history.

Sutherland was promoted to No.3 and was in early after skipper Meg Lanning was out in the 6th over for 21, a rare failure for the champion batter.

Sutherland struck five fours and two monster sixes, both in the same over off seamer Chloe Rafferty. The second six was an absolutely huge lofted drive which ended in Sutherland holding the pose for the sole snapper on duty.

Hold the pose: Annabel Sutherland // Getty

The 19-year-old was dropped three times but made the most of her luck, combining with experienced opener Elyse Villani (56 from 47) for a second-wicket stand of 120.

Both batters were out in the final over of the Stars innings, setting Hobart a neat target of 160 to keep their slim hopes of playing in the finals alive.

If the Hurricanes were to make the top four they needed to start well and with Rachel Priest at the crease they were a chance.

Priest hit two fours and as many sixes but her innings was all too short for the Cane Train, out lbw to the returning Katherine Brunt, who let her victim know how pleased she was with the dismissal.

With Priest back in the sheds the Stars tightened the screws, depriving the Hurricanes of boundary balls by bowling cleverly to their field and the dimensions of the ground.

Sutherland’s wicket came from Nicola Carey hitting out with an escalating required run rate, and the equation continued to become harder for Hobart as Brunt, Sophie Day, Nat Sciver, Alana King and Holly Ferling took wickets.

There was late drama for the Stars when Brunt suffered a split lip taking a juggling catch on the boundary. While she immediately called to the Stars medicos, Brunt was sure to let the umpires know she had taken the catch with a raised index finger as blood dripped off her chin.

Melbourne Renegades beat Adelaide Strikers by 7 wickets with 15 balls remaining 

Melbourne Renegades have thrown a curveball at the Adelaide Strikers’ hopes of making the Rebel WBBL finals, claiming an upset seven-wicket victory at Sydney Showground Stadium.

With their season all but over and only an incredibly unlikely combination of results capable of propelling them into the four, the Renegades produced an outstanding showing with both bat and ball to notch their third win of WBBL|06.

The Strikers, who missed an opportunity to jump into the top four, remain in fifth spot on 11 points, with two tough matches to come against fellow finals contenders Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers.

After a tight bowling display led by Carly Leeson (3-14) and Sophie Molineux (1-18) kept the Strikers to 6-122, Renegades openers Lizelle Lee found (48 off 34) and Molineux (52 off 43) found form to help their side home with 16 balls to spare.

Electing to set the Renegades a target, the Strikers were well contained in the powerplay, with Molineux removing Katie Mack (4) and Molly Strano picking up the wicket of fellow opener Tahlia McGrath (17) to leave Adelaide 2-30 after the first six.

Laura Wolvaardt kept the scoreboard ticking over with a 40-ball 36, but it took an unbeaten 13-ball 26 from Maddie Penna, including one enormous six into the grandstand, to lift the run rate just over a run a ball by the end of Adelaide’s 20 overs.

In reply, aggressive South African Lee cleared the boundary with the seventh delivery she faced and kept up the attack, aided by a more measured Molineux.

She hit another maximum and six fours before Amanda-Jade Wellington broke the 77-run opening partnership, and while the Strikers picked up a second when Josie Dooley (5) was caught at cover, and Molineux was bowled one ball after reaching her half-century, it was not enough to stop the Renegades charging to victory.

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