The clamour for the systemic integration of the third umpire and Decision Review System (DRS) in every Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) match has gained momentum after an unusual dismissal put Rhys McKenna out in the Stars’ nail-biting defeat to the Strikers by four wickets.
Last season, the DRS was introduced to a mere 24 WBBL games, evidencing the shortage of requisite technology for every match. On an unfortunate Tuesday, McKenna became the subject of controversy as she was declared out when Megan Schutt’s delivery rebounded off wicketkeeper Bridget Patterson’s pads, leading to the falling of the stumps. Despite the ensuing mayhem, a review would have shown that McKenna was within her crease at the moment the bail detached. Had a third umpire been present, the dismissal could have been readily reversed.
Even seasoned commentator, Kelly Appleby, voiced her disbelief, stating, “Hang on, how is that out? That’s not out. She is well and truly in her crease, wasn’t she?” She continued, “That’s ridiculous. Can I say that?” Appleby’s response illustrates the significance of the DRS, which has already proven its worth this season.
For instance, Stars’ captain Meg Lanning had one caught-behind decision reversed in the inaugural game against the Sixers, enabling her to clinch a half-century. McKenna’s peculiar dismissal, however, was not a solitary one.
Just an over earlier, Patterson’s pads once again played a role in an almost identical stumping of Alice Capsey. The unusually direct stumping occurred in the eighth over when Jemma Barsby, using her right arm for off-spin on account of her ambidexterity, took out Annabel Sutherland after bowling the previous delivery with her left hand.
The decision to declare McKenna out could have decidedly redirected the course of the game, given that she had already scored 14 off just four balls and likely been on her way to scoring a couple more boundaries for the Stars.
Captain Lanning sought to disrupt the established order by opting to bat first after winning the flip, but this change in strategy bore no fruits as her team succumbed to a second defeat at the hands of the Strikers within a span of four days. Initially, the strategy had been to let the opposition bat first, leading to victories in the first seven matches of the season. Alas, the Stars’ luck did not find fortune with their new tactic.
Despite Maia Bouchier (48 off 38) being the only player who managed to secure a decent score, the Stars improved significantly from their previous game, where a dismal 29-run total marked the lowest score in WBBL history. Regrettably, the Stars fell short of victory as defending champions, the Strikers, rebounded from a dramatic defeat to the Renegades on Monday. Katie Mack steered the chase with a smooth 48, and Maddie Penna sealed the win contributing an unbeaten 28, bringing the Strikers to victory in the last over with just two remaining balls.