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Campaign over for Darlington, Learoyd as Heat outplay Thunder in WBBL Eliminator

Callan Morse -

Hannah Darlington and Anika Learoyd's WBBL|09 campaign has come to an end after the Sydney Thunder were knocked out of the WBBL finals on Tuesday.

Despite three wickets from Darlington and a start with the bat from Learoyd, the Thunder were outplayed in all departments by the Heat, eventually going down by 44 runs at Perth's WACA Ground.

Delivering overs four, 10, 14 and 20, Darlington was uncharacteristically expensive in the first innings of the match, ending her four overs with an economy rate north of 10 runs per over.

She picked up her first wicket in the 10th over, dismissing Heat opener Georgia Redmayne caught behind after the left hander nicked a full delivery to Thunder 'keeper Tahlia Wilson, who took a sharp catch up to the stumps.

However after strong contributions from Grace Harris (45 from 22) and Player of the Match Amelia Kerr (48 from 22) the Kamilaroi seamer didn't strike again until the final over of the innings.

Her final over lead to the dismissals of Charli Knott (11 from 16), who top-edged a a length ball to mid-off and Georgia Voll (8 from 3), who was clean bowled, both succumbing to off-speed deliveries from Darlington, who finished with figures of 3-42, her second most expensive of WBBL|09.

In reply, the Thunder started the chase positively through Chamari Athapaththu (41 from 40) and Tahlia Wilson (12 from 13), however slumped to 4-66 more than halfway through the innings.

Anika Learoyd on her way to 21 from 18 in Tuesday's Eliminator. (Image: Richard Wainwright/AAP)

Heather Knight (25 from 17) and Anika Learoyd (21 from 18) attempted to regain momentum for the Thunder, the England International and Gumbaynggirr middle-order batter partnering in a 31-run fifth wicket stand to see the Thunder approach three figures with five overs remaining.

The pair found the boundary four times in their 22 ball partnership, however Knight's dismissal early in the 16th over triggered another spate of wickets, the Thunder limping to 9-125 from their 20 overs.

Having struck two boundaries and a six, Learoyd was the second last Thunder wicket to fall, caught and bowled off the bowling of Courtney Sippel (3-9).

Darlington ends WBBL|09 with a team-high 22 wickets at 16.59, earning her third on the WBBL most wickets tally with two finals remaining.

Although featuring in all 15 matches for the first time in her career, Learoyd's opportunities in the Thunder's middle order remained limited.

The 21-year-old ending the tournament with 140 runs at 15.55 from 11 innings, ranking her fifth amongst Thunder batters.

Darlington and Learoyd's focus will now return to representing New South Wales in the Women's National Cricket League, who are set to play Victoria at Junction Oval on December 19.


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