Adelaide Strikers claimed back-to-back WBBL titles as they defeated Brisbane Heat in a low-scoring but pulsating final. 

In a final ball thriller, Mikayla Hinkley was unable to strike a match-winning maximum, or Super Over four, top-edging Amanda-Jade Wellington to short third, ensuing dramatic scenes in the Adelaide Oval.

“What a game. That’s the pinnacle of WBBL for me,” said Wellington, who was named Player of the Final after finishing with figures of 3 for 16. 

“Shout out to Brisbane Heat. They’ve been the ones to best all year. That game just shows how good a side they are. Shout out to our girls. And one more shout-out to the crowd. This has been just amazing to play in front of.”

Chasing just 126 from 20 overs, the Heat will rue their opportunity for a third title, having been 54 for two at the halfway stage.

But wickets at regular intervals and a lack of boundaries in the middle overs against an attack rated as the WBBL’s best meant they left themselves too much to do late on.

“To Tahlia and Adelaide Strikers congratulations on back-to-back titles. It’s no easy feat,” said Heat captain Jess Jonassen. To our girls, commiserations. I’m super proud of you all, we’ve worked very hard just to get to this moment. Keep your heads up, I know it hurts, but we’ll be back bigger and better.”

The Strikers will feel it’s justified, however, having romped the group stages with 11 wins from 14 matches.

Finishing top and three wins clear of Perth Scorchers in second place, they not only ensured an immediate place in the final, but a home final with extra rest to boot.

“I’m going to use my quote from last year because it is the exact same, that was pretty bloody special,” added Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath.

“We called it last year. We were sitting in the changerooms, and we said we were not done, we want to go back-to-back. And we’ve had that fight, that determination all year. This team is a proper team. There are no individuals, no ego. We know our role. We show up, day in, day out and it’s a lot of fun playing with this team.”

Jonassen added: “Obviously they are the benchmark of the competition all year, finishing top, earning the right to host the final, there’s not many better stadiums to do that.”

While the action gets its warranted headlines, so should the crowd.

The final was played in front of 12,379 spectators which made it the second highest for a standalone WBBL fixture behind the 2021 final at Optus Stadium in Perth. 

Women’s cricket is on the rise, deservedly so, with attendances surpassing records with each fixture. 

Last year, a crowd of 19,527 at Edgbaston smashed the record for the highest crowd for a standalone women’s international in the UK, outside of global events, beating the 15,187 at Lord’s last summer for the ODI versus India.

That was for the first Women’s Ashes IT20 and figures for this year’s England Women’s IT20 against Pakistan are matching demand with 9,000 tickets already sold.

In fact, over 50,000 tickets have already been sold for England Women international fixtures next summer, which begin at Edgbaston on Saturday 11 May. 

That day should see England’s best, plus local talent in wicket-keeper Amy Jones and explosive all-rounder Issy Wong. 

Jones was part of this year’s Perth Scorchers WBBL squad, while Wong was named Player of the Series for England A’s 2-1 winning tour of India. 

Their opposition, meanwhile, are coming in hot.

Having beaten New Zealand for the first time in a T20I to start the series, Pakistan went one better to secure their first T20I series win away from home since October 2018 and their first T20I series victory outside Asia and Ireland.

Over 13,000 sold for Women’s IT20 vs Pakistan

Pakistan Women will be in Birmingham on Saturday 11 May 2024 and over 13,000 tickets have already been sold.

With the Men’s IT20 already sold out, this is your last chance to see Pakistan at Edgbaston next summer and tickets are available from only £17, with under 16s £5.