Two moments of fielding brilliance and both off the last ball of the chase made for thrilling finishes to both semi-finals of WBBL 4.

In the first game of Saturday, January 19, at the Drummoyne Oval, it was Haidee Birkett who pulled off a stunning catch at the ropes to put Brisbane Heat in the final. In the next, Erin Burns put in a dive at the boundary before Alyssa Healy completed a run-out to keep Sydney Sixers on track to defend their WBBL title.

Chasing Heat’s 140, Sydney Thunder needed five to win off the last ball. Nicola Carey was batting on 19 off nine balls and swung; it seemed set to go for a six – or at least a boundary that would take the game to the Super Over. Even bowler Jess Jonassen seemed resigned. Birkett, however, ran to her right and plucked the ball out of the air to complete a fantastic catch.

“It’s unreal!” said a thrilled Birkett after the game. “It was six off the bat. It was one of those ones where you have to do so much that you’re just there, all of a sudden it’s in your hand, and they either stick or they don’t. I was just lucky with that!

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“In cricket, you do fake it [till you] make it. You run hard and make it look like you’re going to go for the ball, and I realised I was actually there, so I stuck my hands out and it stuck!”

In the second game at the same ground, Sydney Sixers had only their 131/4 to defend. Captain Ellyse Perry had taken it upon herself to keep Melbourne Renegades from scoring 13 off the last over, and three off the last ball. Sophie Molineux, who had made a steady half-century, swung off the last ball and seemed set to get an off-side boundary.

A diving Burns, however, kept it in – only just. Sarah Aley picked it up and threw it cleanly to Healy, the wicketkeeper, who in turn had the presence of mind to attack the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Molineux, going for the third run, was caught short by the direct throw.

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It took the game to the Super Over. Marizanne Kapp was accurate, giving nothing away to keep Renegades to 6/1. Perry had little trouble finishing things off with a six. It capped off a day on which she could do no wrong: she also had a half-century to rescue her side from 33/4, a wicket, a run-out and a catch. And she won the toss.

The teams will play the WBBL final on 26 January.