If you're the Melbourne Stars and you lose your captain - the best female player in the world - on the day of a potentially season-defining match, how do you replace her? The answer it turns out, is with her sister.
Anna Lanning says she found out two minutes before the warm-up prior to Tuesday's MCG encounter with Adelaide that she would be replacing older sister Meg in the Stars XI, the latter having been struck down with hamstring tightness.
Anna had been overlooked by the Stars all season, but called up to fill the unfillable hole left by Meg, she calmly helped steady the ship of a briefly shaky run chase before hitting the winning runs in a six-wicket victory which snapped the Stars' four-match losing streak and moved them back into the top four with four rounds remaining.
But with Meg likely to return for Friday's clash with the Strikers at Perth's Lilac Hill, Anna knows her stay in the team could be short-lived. "You never know. Obviously she's the best player in the world. I played my role today and we got the win so that's the most important thing," Anna said.
"It was nice to get out there and hit a few in the middle. [It's been] a bit frustrating not being able to play but you never know what can happen."
The Strikers' hopes of defending their skinny of 9-94 were boosted early when makeshift Stars opener Jess Cameron was trapped LBW by Megan Schutt for a duck off the first ball of the innings.
Hayley Jensen departed for nine in the fifth over after a mix-up left her at the same end as Emma Inglis, while Schutt struck again late in her spell, removing Inglis after an impressive 25. When Natalie Sciver was stumped for 11 just after the halfway mark of the innings, the Stars were 4-56 and looking unconvincing.
The pressure increased after Lanning played out a maiden to Shelley Nitschke in the 14th over. But the valve was released when Katie Mack took nine from Amanda Wellington in the next over. Mack (31 not out) and Lanning (15 not out) had stopped the rot, and Lanning dispatched a Sarah Elliott delivery to the boundary to seal the win with 19 balls remaining.
Despite what the scorecard may have suggested, it was far from a flawless performance from the Stars in the field. They were fortunate that former England captain Charlotte Edwards couldn't take advantage of a life she was given on 10 when Gemma Triscari dropped a straightforward catch at point in the fifth over, with the veteran adding just two more before compatriot Natalie Sciver trapped her LBW.
But the wickets fell steadily as the Strikers struggled to generate momentum. It was stand-in captain Kristen Beams who returned the best figures, the leg-spinner finishing with 3-12 from her four overs, having been on a hat-trick when she dismissed Elliott and Tegan McPharlin LBW in consecutive balls. No Strikers batter bettered Sophie Devine's 13 until Bridget Patterson helped catapult the team within range of triple figures, finishing 22 not out. The Strikers remain seventh on the ladder, and face a challenging road to the finals.
The story WBBL: Anna Lanning hits winning runs for Melbourne Stars after replacing sister Meg first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.