Defending WBBL champs Thunder stay winless

Indian batter Jemimah Rodrigues smashed 75 not out in the Renegades' WBBL win over the Thunder.
Indian batter Jemimah Rodrigues smashed 75 not out in the Renegades' WBBL win over the Thunder.

Defending WBBL champions Sydney Thunder remain winless from five outings after succumbing to the Melbourne Renegades by nine runs.

Not even a classy 64 from Indian star Smriti Mandhana could help the Thunder secure a breakthrough victory in Launceston on Wednesday.

Once Mandhana was bowled by her international teammate Harmanpreet Kaur in the 16th over, the Thunder's hopes of reeling in the Renegades' 5-142 were dead and buried.

The Thunder were adamant about not panicking after Tuesday's defeat to the Melbourne Stars, but with just one point - coming from a washed-out game - their title defence is officially in tatters.

The Thunder's task was always going to be hard without captain Rachael Haynes, who is on parental leave and was also battling injury during Australia's recent multi-format series against India.

It has proved to be a baptism of fire for teenage star Hannah Darlington as stand-in skipper.

Spinner Sam Bates described the situation as "disappointing" but the Thunder were supporting Darlington as best they could.

"It's hard to come back from when Sophie Devine hits a hundred on you so I think the bowlers have bounced back really well," Bates said.

But the Renegades' title chances continue to look rosy with Kaur and fellow Indian star Jemimah Rodrigues now coming into their own.

Rodrigues set the tone for the Renegades' third win of the tournament, compiling an unbeaten 75 to carry her bat in a player-of-the-match performance.

She put on a 84-run opening stand with Josephine Dooley (37), which immediately put pressure on the Thunder in the field.

The Renegades' Courtney Webb (3-21) was the only player to take multiple wickets and had an unsuccessful attempt at a hat-trick on the last ball of the game.

In Wednesday's other game, a powerful innings from former South Africa captain Mignon du Preez helped the Hobart Hurricanes to an unlikely four-wicket victory over the Melbourne Stars.

The Hurricanes got off to a slow start in pursuit of the Stars' 4-144, but du Preez was a force to be reckoned with as she clubbed 62 from 45 balls in a knock that included three sixes.

Australian star Nicola Carey (24) and Indian international Richa Ghosh (24no) also chipped in with crucial knocks to see the Hurricanes home with four balls to spare.

Irish allrounder Kim Garth continued her hot form for the Stars, top-scoring with an unbeaten 44 and knocking over Ruth Johnston for a duck in the first over.

Australian Associated Press