The Adelaide Strikers haven’t played the Sixers for more than a month, but they’re used to the number after having to board a 6am flight on Friday to get to Sydney after a thrilling win hours earlier over the Heat.
Thursday’s game against Brisbane came down to the final over, with Bridget Patterson and Madeline Penna getting them home with a couple of boundaries to secure a second grand final on the trot.
But the Strikers didn’t have much time to celebrate, with the squad forced to hop on a flight while most of the country was still asleep due to flight shortages out of South Australia.
“It’s not ideal, but you go with it,” said skipper Tahlia McGrath, whose alarm went off at 4.15am.
“It was pretty hard to get to sleep last night. The adrenaline was certainly there. We had to madly pack and get the logistics, but we’re here now in Sydney and we’ve got a job to do.
“It’s a T20 game of cricket that’s three hours, so I don’t think you need too much prep to get yourself up for that. It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere and something we’ve been working towards all season, and nothing will stop us going after that.”
The Strikers are into their second final and will be looking to go one better than their 12-run loss to the Scorchers last season.
McGrath said they had learnt plenty from that performance and their all-star bowling attack was ready to take it to the minor premiers on their home deck.
“Losing a final is never easy,” she said.
“We were pretty disappointed last year and we’ve used that to drive that hunger this whole season. We’re going out there with no fear. We want to be holding that trophy pretty badly.
“Finals pressure is like no other. We got valuable experience last year. We’ve got plenty of finals experience and it’s only going to help us. We’ve kept the core group together, we’ve got that experience now, so hopefully we go one better.”
While the Strikers come in with plenty of confidence, they face the daunting prospect of playing a Sixers side that is refreshed and loving life after a disastrous campaign 12 months ago.
The Sixers claimed their first wooden spoon and struggled with bubble life during the pandemic, but a new coach, some star imports and a new attitude have helped them return to their best.
“We probably learnt a lot from last year and there is nothing wrong with a sense of humility at times, I think you take a lot from that,” skipper Ellyse Perry said
“It was certainly a challenge on the field. Off the field we still enjoyed the time together.
“The last couple of years for every sports team has come with its challenges around restrictions and Covid bubbles, and I do think our group thrives on being able to go home and get away from cricket. This year has been really refreshing.”
Story Credit: news.com.au