Women's Big Bash: England players set for semi-finals in Australia

Sydney Thunder celebrate a wicket
Sydney Thunder, who finished top of the group, are the only WBBL team without England players

England trio Charlotte Edwards, Nicky Shaw and Katherine Brunt starred as Perth Scorchers clinched the last semi-final place in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League in Australia.

Shaw (3-28) and Brunt (2-14) tore into Melbourne Renegades before Edwards saw Perth home with 63 from 51 balls.

The Scorchers will face group winners Sydney Thunder in the first WBBL semi-final in Adelaide on Thursday.

Hobart Hurricanes, led by England's Heather Knight, face Sydney Sixers.

That second semi-final will be in Melbourne on Friday. Both semi-finals will be played as double-headers with the men's Big Bash League semis.

Women's Big Bash League - final group table
WonLostNRRPts
Sydney Thunder95+0.35818
Hobart Hurricanes86+0.19016
Sydney Sixers86-0.07016
Perth Scorchers77+0.16614
Melbourne Stars77+0.03414
Brisbane Heat77-0.09414
Adelaide Strikers68-0.13112
Melbourne Renegades410-0.4638

For the Sixers, whose squad includes England all-rounder Laura Marsh, reaching the last four was a remarkable effort after they lost their first six games, only to win their next eight.

Australia captain Meg Lanning, the International Cricket Council's top-ranked batter in 50-over and Twenty20 cricket, has comfortably been the WBBL's top scorer, averaging 56, but her Melbourne Stars team were pipped by the Scorchers on net run rate - courtesy of that win in Sunday's final group game.

England all-rounder Natalie Sciver was the Stars' joint leading wicket-taker, while keeper Sarah Taylor's heroics with the bat were not enough for Adelaide Strikers who finished two points adrift of the top four.

Also eliminated from semi-final contention were Brisbane Heat, featuring England's Lauren Winfield and Kate Cross, while all-rounder Danielle Wyatt won two player of the match awards but could not prevent Melbourne Renegades picking up the wooden spoon.

Involvement in the semi-finals mean Edwards, Brunt and Knight must delay meeting up with their England team-mates for the upcoming tour of South Africa.

Of the other English semi-finalists, Marsh was not selected to face South Africa, while Shaw, player of the match in England's 2009 World Cup win, retired from international cricket in 2010.

Top performers in the inaugural WBBL
Top scorersTop wicket-takers
560 - Meg Lanning (Stars)22 - Veronica Pyke (Hurricanes)
444 - Charlotte Edwards (Scorchers)21 - Rene Farrell (Thunder)
400 - Beth Mooney (Heat)18 - Morna Nielsen (Stars)
400 - Ellyse Perry (Sixers)18 - Molly Strano (Renegades)
393 - Sarah Taylor (Strikers)18 - Lauren Cheatle (Renegades)
347 - Heather Knight (Hurricanes)18 - Natalie Sciver (Stars)
Other leading English players:Other leading English players:
249 - Danielle Wyatt (Renegades)17 - Heather Knight (Hurricanes)
239 - Lauren Winfield (Heat)16 - Nicky Shaw (Scorchers)
154 - Natalie Sciver (Stars)15 - Katherine Brunt (Scorchers)
109 - Katherine Brunt (Scorchers)14 - Danielle Wyatt (Renegades)
Andrew Flintoff and Danielle Wyatt
Melbourne Renegades' England all-rounder Danielle Wyatt recently had the chance to face Andrew Flintoff in the nets

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