It’s hard not to be caught up in the celebratory feeling around women’s cricket.
The 2019 season has had it all. A 25 per cent increase in viewership, controversy, and all the maximums a T20 fanatic could ever want.
WBBL05 has proven the perfect run-up to the women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 in terms of great cricket and high drama, but perhaps the most important factor in all of this has been the number of players becoming new household/pub chat names.
No longer do Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry hold the title of the only two Australian female cricketers that a casual observer might be able to name. The season has been full of incredible performances by exceptional players that have pricked the ears of both die hards and low-key fans around the nation.
Perhaps the most obvious is New Zealand big-hitter Sophie Devine, who has helped the Strikers blaze their way into the finals with her power hitting, exceptional fielding and occasional tweak of the arm. Her five sixes in a row against the Melbourne Stars will live in cricket folklore for years to come, with the player of the tournament award not summing up her impact on the competition.
In Victoria, English player Danni Wyatt produced some mammoth efforts for the Renegades, helping turn their season around and pipping the Sixers at the post for a spot in the finals – retribution from that super over last season.
The biggest disappointment is that we won’t see her face off against South African seemer Marizanne Kapp, who provided some fearsome spirit for the women in magenta, firmly establishing herself as the world’s most dynamic all-rounder.
There was a host of Aussie women that, despite performing to the highest level throughout the entirety of their careers, cemented their platform as stars of women’s cricket in WBBL05.
Beth Mooney is the cream of the crop, scoring an astonishing 672 runs at 74.66 with eight half-centuries in a remarkably consistent campaign. Renegade Jess Duffin has taken on the finisher tag for this series, bringing her side home time and time again in tricky run chases, while tweaker Molly Strano has helped tighten things up when bowling at the death.
Of course, the usual duo of Lanning and Perry still made a hell of a mark this year, with the former smashing her maiden WBBL ton for the Scorchers, and the latter averaging 93.80 with the bat, despite missing the last week of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.
However, WBBL05 feels like the first time the usual suspects aren’t carrying the public image of the tournament. Not that other players haven’t been equally up to the task in the past – a range of factors have brought the competition to where it is now.
However, there’s no denying that the cast of characters in the ever intriguing and exciting world of women’s cricket is growing, building the hype for what is sure to be a huge World Cup in February. Bring on the finals.