Ellyse Perry powers Sydney Sixers to opening WBBL victory

Ellyse Perry started the WBBL with 81 off 48 balls Getty Images

Sydney Sixers 6 for 192 (Perry 81) beat Sydney Thunder 9 for 143 (Blackwell 56, Aley 3-28) by 49 runs

Ellyse Perry has been a little in the background in Australia colours at the start of the season because of the dominant form of her team-mates, but back with Sydney Sixers she picked up from last season with an agenda-setting all-round performance with 81 off 48 balls and two wickets as the Sixers began the first standalone WBBL with a handsome 49-run victory.

Last season Perry scored a WBBL record 777 runs including two centuries. She did not spend much time at the crease against West Indies and Sri Lanka over the last six weeks but made full use of being back at the top of the order with a classy innings with 58 off her 81 runs combing in boundaries.

Initially, she took a backseat to Alyssa Healy who carried on from her world record T20I score of 148 not out against Sri Lanka on this ground a couple of weeks ago with 42 off 32 balls, ended when she skied to mid-on as Pakistan allrounder Nida Dar claimed the first wicket of the tournament.

The Thunder's fielding was poor with a number of balls not gathered cleanly while Ash Gardner was dropped on 20 by Alex Blackwell. Dar, the first Pakistan player in the WBBL, was heading for respectable figures until her final went for 21.

In the final over of the innings there was what appeared to be a nasty injury when debutant Maddy Darke stumbled attempting her first run and remained down in the middle of the pitch. The Thunder had a chance to run her out but declined yet the run was eventually credited to the Sixers which left captain Rachael Haynes a little perplexed.

In the end, however, one run was far from making the difference as the Thunder did not threaten the target with the top order dispatched inside the powerplay.

Perry made immediate inroads when she trapped Naomi Stalenberg lbw then had Rachel Priest caught at backward point in the space of three deliveries. Any chances of the Thunder making an impression on the chase disappeared when Haynes skied Marizanne Kapp.

However, there was the opportunity for a glimpse at the future as 16-year-old Phoebe Litchfield played a debut innings that showcased the immense promise that has been talked about. Her first boundary was lofted over midwicket, that was followed by a scoop over short fine leg and two more boundaries followed before she was lbw trying to paddle another 16-year-old, Hayley Silver-Holmes.

Alongside Blackwell, a player at the other end of her career, they added 68 in eight overs, with Blackwell progressing to a 30-ball fifty, to give the Thunder some encouragement ahead of their match against the defending champions Brisbane Heat on Sunday.

The opening match of the tournament was watched by a crowd of 1891 in the ground and there will be a hope that figure grows over the festival weekend.

Thunder Wmn 2nd innings Partnerships

1st4RH PriestNE Stalenberg
2nd1RH PriestRL Haynes
3rd20AJ BlackwellRL Haynes
4th68AJ BlackwellP Litchfield
5th24AJ BlackwellNida Dar
6th0Nida DarHJ Darlington
7th4RM FarrellHJ Darlington
8th13RM FarrellL Griffith
9th2S IsmailL Griffith
10th7L GriffithSL Bates