The Women’s Big Bash League, or WBBL, is the premier women’s Twenty20 competition in the world, boasting some of the best players from all over the world.
Broadcast on Network Ten, it is one of the first women’s leagues in the history of Australian sport to enjoy widespread, continuous exposure on free-to-air television. A full guide to where WBBL games will be broadcast can be found on our WBBL fixtures page.
Now in just its second season, the WBBL has already begun to take off, with coverage increasing from year to year and players from more countries becoming involved in the competition.
WBBL|01 was won by the Sydney Thunder, who beat their cross-town rivals, the Sixers, in a last-ball thriller in the final at the MCG.
The WBBL|02 season begins on December 10 and finishes with the final round game on January 21. Following that are two semi-finals between the top four sides, with the winners progressing to the final on January 28.
The WBBL is contested between the same eight franchises which comprise the men’s Big Bash League: the Adelaide Strikers, Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder.
Each club can sign a squad of 15 players, including five current or recent Southern Stars and up to three other international players.
The Strikers struggled with consistency last season, winning just two out of seven games away from home, finishing in second last place at the end of the regular season.
Adelaide will be boosted this season by the signing of English legend Charlotte Edwards, picking up the veteran from the Perth Scorchers for the new season.
They’ve also retained the services of key New Zealander Sophie Devine.
Adelaide Strikers 2016/17 WBBL squad: Tegan McPharlin (c), Sarah Elliott, Tammy Beaumont, Samantha Betts, Sarah Coyte, Sophie Devine, Charlotte Edwards, Tahlia McGrath, Shelley Nitschke, Bridget Patterson, Alex Price, Tabatha Saville, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington, K Pope.
Brisbane were another side to fall to the constraints of inconsistency, winning and losing seven games each.
They suffered a few early losses but then went on a thrilling five-game winning streak, before losing four of their last six.
The Heat have made a big international signing of their own during the off-season, picking up West Indian allrounder Deandra Dottin. They also picked up some extra firepower with the ball in Kara Sutherland from the Sydney Sixers.
Young star Ash Barty has moved back to tennis after her foray into the world of cricket last season with the Heat.
Brisbane Heat 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Delissa Kimmince (c), Jemma Barsby, Deandra Dottin, Holly Ferling, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Jess Jonassen, Smriti Mandhana, Beth Mooney, Georgia Prestwidge, Kirby Short, Kara Sutherland.
Last year’s semi-finalists, the Hobart Hurricanes were one of the best sides in the competition for WBBL|01, finishing second in the standings at the end of the regular season.
Despite being ousted from the finals by the Sixers in a rain-affected affair, they still bring a lot of form and confidence into the new season.
The Hurricanes have retained much of their squad for this season, with English skipper Heather Knight coming back for another bite with Hobart.
Hobart Hurricanes 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Heather Knight (c), Erin Burns, Corinne Hall, Brooke Hepburn, Julie Hunter, Hayley Matthews, Meg Phillips, Veronica Pyke, Celeste Raack, Georgia Redmayne, Amy Satterthwaite, Emma Thompson.
The Renegades had a fairly forgettable opening to their WBBL career, finishing dead last in the first season of the competition with just four wins from 14 games.
With that result, they’ve made big changes for the second rendition, bringing in a new captain to lead the side, New Zealand star Rachel Priest.
The Renegades have also picked up big Southern Star allrounder Grace Harris from the Brisbane Heat, being the only player to score a century in the WBBL.
With some fiery young talent also being brought up through the ranks, expect a much improved Renegades side this season.
Melbourne Renegades 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Rachel Priest (c), Tayla Vlaeminck, Kris Britt, Maitlan Brown, Nicole Goodwin, Grace Harris, Kirsty Lamb, Sophie Molineux, Natalie Plane, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Lea Tahuhu, Georgia Wareham, Danielle Wyatt, Amy Yates.
While the Stars fared much better than their cross-town rivals last season, they were still edged out of the finals equation late in the season, painstakingly finishing fifth on net run rate and missing out on the semis.
Led by Aussie legend Meg Lanning, the Stars have plenty of, well, stars in their side for the new season, including the signing of former Southern Star Jess Cameron.
Leg spinner Kristen Beams is hot off a big tour of Sri Lanka, while the Stars retain Katie Mack and Emma Kearney to a stacked lineup.
Melbourne Stars 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Meg Lanning (c), Lily Bardsley, Kristen Beams, Makinley Blows, Hayleigh Brennan, Jess Cameron, Danielle Hazell, Emma Inglis, Hayley Jensen, Emma Kearney, Alana King, Katie Mack, Morna Nielsen, Natalie Sciver, Gemma Triscari.
On the flip side of the Melbourne Stars coin, the Perth Scorchers just snuck into the semi-finals last season with a superior net run rate over the Stars.
After losing four games in a row late in the season, the Scorchers were really made to work for it, winning their last two games to snag that fourth place finish by the smallest of margins.
Although they lost a tight semi-final, they were taken down by the eventual champions.
Perth will be bringing possibly the strongest bowling pairing in the competition to the table this season, with England duo Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt looking to tear the WBBL apart from the front.
Perth have held on to a large chunk of the batting ranks that saved them more than once last season, including New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates and Aussie openers Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani.
Perth Scorchers 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Suzie Bates (c), Megan Banting, Katherine Brunt, Nicole Bolton, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Lauren Ebsary, Heather Graham, Katie-Jane Hartshorn, Emma King, Chloe Piparo, Anya Shrubsole, Emily Smith, Elyse Villani.
The Sixers had an incredibly up and down opening WBBL campaign last season, losing their first six games in a row to sit dead last and in bad shape.
They would miraculously turn it around with nine wins on the trot, going undefeated from that point into the grand final against the Thunder. They lost the final but turned plenty of heads with their late season surge and powerful performances.
The Sixers retain star captain Ellyse Perry for WBBL|02 as well as Australian keeper Alyssa Healy. They’ve also retained Kiwi batter Sara McGlashan.
Australian great Lisa Sthalekar will also pad up in the Sixers pink again this season, rounding out a very formidable squad.
Sydney Sixers 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Ellyse Perry (c), Sarah Aley, Rhiannon Dick, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jodie Hicks, Marizanne Kapp, Carly Leeson, Emily Leys, Sara McGlashan, Haylee Partridge, Angela Reakes, Lauren Smith, Lisa Sthalekar, Dane van Niekerk.
Sydney Thunder were the undisputed champions of WBBL01, finishing the regular season atop of the standings and going on to win the grand final against cross-town rivals, the Sixers.
They had one of the best squads of the debut season and will carry much of the same firepower and star-name into the second.
The Thunder brought in the first Indian signing to the Women’s Big Bash for this season with the acquisition of Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
On top of that, they’ve held onto another big overseason name in West Indian captain and T20 player of the year Stafanie Taylor.
There’s plenty of local talent as well, including last season’s leading wicket-taker Rene Farrell and captain Alex Blackwell.
Sydney Thunder 2016/17 WBBL squad:
Alex Blackwell (c), Samantha Bates, Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Stefanie Daffara, Rene Farrell, Maisy Gibson, Rachael Haynes, Mikayla Hinkley, Harmanpreet Kaur, Claire Koski, Erin Osborne, Naomi Stalenberg, Stafanie Taylor, Belinda Vakarewa.