“Don’t bowl a wide, don’t bowl a wide, don’t bowl a wide.” Sydney Thunder spinner Sam Bates had her usual hat-trick-ball nerves.
Luckily she’s getting plenty of practice at it. Now she just wants to convert one.
Bates was on a hat-trick in her player-of-the-match performance that saw her finish with figures of 3-12 from her four overs in the Thunder’s comprehensive eight-wicket victory over the Hobart Hurricanes in Launceston on New Year’s Eve.
While that win helped the Thunder end the year on top of the Women’s Big Bash League table, Bates still saw the Perth Scorchers – who they play next in Perth on Sunday – as the team to beat this season.
With the batting in the WBBL going to another level, Bates has hit back for the bowlers.
The left-arm orthodox now just needs to go to the next level to convert her hat-trick ball.
Having bowled Nicola Hancock, the ACT Meteor then trapped Meg Phillips leg before wicket to set up a hat-trick ball to Brooke Hepburn – who unfortunately kept it out.
“The hat-trick ball is probably the most nervous ball you can bowl,” Bates said.
“All you want to do is not bowl a wide, so that’s what was going through my head as I was bowling that ball.
“My captain had put about five catchers in so it was pretty much just don’t bowl a wide and hope it doesn’t go for six.”
It’s not Bates’ first time on a hat-trick – she was on one almost exactly a year earlier in the last WBBL campaign.
She was part of a team hat-trick with a runout preceding back-to-back LBWs.
Alas, she couldn’t convert for a personal hat-trick then either.
“I would love to have a hat-trick under my belt so any time I get the opportunity hopefully I can seize it,” she said.
Bates wasn’t surprised the Thunder sit on top of the WBBL ladder, but that doesn’t mean she thinks they’re the favourites to win their second Twenty20 title.
She felt the third-placed Scorchers, who finished runners-up to the Sydney Sixers in last summer’s WBBL, deserved that title.
That’s largely due to the form of Scorchers opening batter Elyse Villani, who’s scored 324 runs – including four 50s – at a strike rate of 141.48.
“We knew we had a really good side coming into the competition, it was just how we were going to perform as a team,” Bates said.
“It’s no surprise we are on top of the ladder, but there is a long way to go in this competition so hopefully we can keep the winning streak going.
“I reckon we have the team to do that [win the title but] … personally I think [Perth] are the team to beat.
“They’ve got Elyse Villani, who’s been bashing a lot of runs, so I think they will be the team to beat.”