The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Opinion

WBBL 06 preview

The Brisbane Heat won back-to-back WBBL finals and are looking for a third. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
8th October, 2020
0

Sports administrators around the world have had their hands full this year scheduling seasons amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s no different with WBBL 06, with players either in or about to enter the bubble and all games played across Sydney.

We do have a standalone season, 59 games in all, and it all starts on Sunday 25 October. With all that in mind, it’s time to preview the teams, nominate the cricketers to watch and do our best to pick ladder positions.

Adelaide Strikers

Coach
Luke Williams

Squad
Darcie Brown, Suzie Bates (NZ), Sarah Coyte, Ellie Falconer, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Katie Mack, Tegan McPharlin, Tahlia McGrath, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Madeline Penna, Alex Price, Megan Schutt, Stafanie Taylor (WI), Laura Wolvaardt (SA)

Players to watch
Stafanie Taylor, the current West Indies women’s captain, probably hasn’t reached the heights that we would have expected in the WBBL. Still, as she was recently the second cricketer male or female to reach 3000 T20I runs, she commands plenty of respect and will be looking for a big season with the Strikers.

The other player to have reached 3000 T20I runs? Suzie Bates. She was key in Adelaide’s run to the WBBL final last year and will be keen to do it all over again. She will be in a race against time to start the season though, after suffering a shoulder injury fielding for New Zealand against Australia last weekend.

Predicted finish: Fifth
You’d be foolish to completely write off a team with these two greats, but the loss of Sophie Devine is a massive blow. I think they will fall just short of the semi-finals.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Suzie Bates of the Strikers.

(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Brisbane Heat

Coach
Ashley Noffke

Squad
Maddy Green (NZ), Nicola Hancock, Grace Harris, Laura Harris, Mikayla Hinkley, Jess Jonassen, Amelia Kerr (NZ), Delissa Kimmince, Nadine de Klerk (SA), Charli Knott, Lilly Mills, Georgia Prestwidge, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Georgia Voll

Players to watch
Amelia Kerr is still only 19, but she is fast growing into one of the best in the game. The leg spinner from New Zealand took wickets and scored an unbeaten 18 off ten balls to get the White Ferns home against Australia in the third T20I.

Jess Jonassen is absolutely critical to the Heat’s chances of a three-peat. Economical and with a good strike rate with the ball, she also averages over 28 with bat in the WBBL. Jonassen is one of those big game cricketers that every good team needs.

Predicted finish: Third
The loss of Beth Mooney at the top of the order is big for the Heat, as is the departure of big-hitting Sammy-Jo Johnson. The Heat will go close, but I don’t expect them to win three in a row.

Hobart Hurricanes

Advertisement
Advertisement

Coach
Salliann Briggs

Squad
Nicola Carey, Maisy Gibson, Corinne Hall, Brooke Hepburn, Sasha Moloney, Hayley Matthews (WI), Rachel Priest (NZ), Chloe Tryon (SA), Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck

Players to watch
South Africa’s Chloe Tryon could go a long way to ensuring the Hurricanes post big totals this season. Last season with Hobart, she had a huge strike rate of 178 whilst averaging 35 with the bat. Opposition teams will need to dismiss Tryon before she gets going.

Nicola Carey certainly deserves her all-rounder spot in the Australian team and I expect her to have a big season this year with a more competitive team around her.

Predicted finish: Fourth
Tayla Vlaeminck has been ruled out of the WBBL with a foot injury, which is disappointing for Hobart. However, with the signing of Rachel Priest and the likely signing of Naomi Stalenberg, both ex-Thunder players, Hobart suddenly has some depth and I expect them to surprise.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Melbourne Renegades

Coach
Lachlan Stevens

Squad
Makinley Blows, Maitlan Brown, Josie Dooley, Erin Fazackerley, Ella Hayward, Lizelle Lee (SA), Carly Leeson, Sophie Molineux, Courtney Neale, Amy Satterthwaite (NZ), Molly Strano, Lea Tahuhu (NZ), Georgia Wareham, Courtney Webb

Players to watch
South African Lizelle Lee returns for her fourth season in the WBBL after switching over from the cross-town rival Melbourne Stars. At the top of the order, if she can get in her strike rate suggests she will do plenty of damage.

Georgia Wareham doesn’t have the best WBBL statistics, but her performances for the Australian T20I team suggests that it’s only a matter of time until she does. If the young leg spinner does find her groove, the rest of the competition will be watching.

Predicted finish: sixth
Although the Renegades have some big-name recruits in Lee and Amy Satterthwaite, they have lost Jess Duffin, Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt from their batting line-up. That will see the Renegades slide a couple of spots from their semi-final finish last season.

Georgia Wareham of the Renegades.

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Melbourne Stars

Advertisement
Advertisement

Coach
Trent Woodhill

Squad
Katherine Brunt (Eng), Lucy Cripps, Sophie Day, Bhavi Devchand, Nicole Faltum, Holly Ferling, Tess Flintoff, Georgia Gall, Alana King, Meg Lanning, Erin Osborne, Mignon du Preez, Nat Sciver (Eng), Annabel Sutherland, Elyse Villani

Players to watch
No surprises here, but the signing of Meg Lanning is a huge coup for the Stars. Averaging 47 and a strike rate of 120 with the bat over her five seasons in the WBBL, Lanning will be hoping to pull the Stars away from the wooden spoon position

Katherine Brunt didn’t play in the WBBL last year but her 49 wickets in her four seasons prior to that suggest she is a good pickup. One of the quickest bowlers in the women’s game, she will likely be tasked with getting early breakthroughs for the Stars.

Predicted finish: seventh
The signings of Lanning, Brunt and Nat Sciver are big positives for the Stars. However, I still feel that they are short on depth. They will improve their standing, but not by much.

Perth Scorchers

Coach
Shelley Nitschke

Squad
Megan Banting, Jemma Barsby, Samantha Betts, Nicole Bolton, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Sophie Devine (NZ), Sarah Glenn (Eng), Heather Graham, Amy Jones (Eng) Emma King, Beth Mooney, Taneale Peschel, Chloe Piparo, Georgia Wyllie

Advertisement
Advertisement

Sports opinion delivered daily 

   

Players to watch
Sophie Devine was player of the tournament in last season’s WBBL, scoring 769 runs and taking 18 wickets. Recruited from the Strikers, her signing will make a big difference to this Scorchers team.

A renowned big-game player, Beth Mooney has come over from the Brisbane Heat. She was player of the final in Brisbane’s two WBBL wins, and her opening combination with Devine will be great entertainment.

Predicted finish: first
Losing Meg Lanning hurt the Scorchers, but the signings of Devine and Mooney improve the unit overall. A number of the squad were in the winning Western Australia state team last year in the 50-over game, so they know how to win big games. They will take out WBBL 06.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Sydney Sixers

Coach
Ben Sawyer

Squad
Sarah Aley, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Maddy Darke, Ashleigh Gardner, Lisa Griffith, Alyssa Healy, Jodie Hicks, Emma Hughes, Marizanne Kapp (SA), Ellyse Perry, Angela Reakes, Hayley Silver-Holmes, Dane van Niekerk (SA)

Players to watch
At her best, Alyssa Healy is arguably the best women’s T20 cricketer in the world. She has the ability to take games away from the opposition through her opening batting, and the Sixers fans will be hoping to see plenty of that this season.

The South African quick Marizanne Kapp has taken 77 wickets across her five years in the WBBL, at an economy rate of not much more than five runs an over. She is more than handy with the bat and will be key for the Sixers.

Predicted finish: second
It seems strange to mention the players to watch and not mention Ellyse Perry, but that’s an indication of the Sixers’ strength. Perry did miss a large portion of last season, perhaps explaining their fifth-place finish. She is fighting injury again but, if fully fit, you would expect this squad to go close.

Elllyse Perry of the Sixers.

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Sydney Thunder

Advertisement
Advertisement

Coach
Trevor Griffin

Squad
Sam Bates, Tammy Beaumont (Eng), Hannah Darlington, Rachael Haynes, Saskia Horley, Shabnim Ismail (SA) Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Heather Knight (Eng), Kate Peterson, Olivia Porter, Lauren Smith, Rachel Trenaman, Tahlia Wilson

Players to watch
Destined to wear the Australian colours for years to come, Phoebe Litchfield will likely bat higher up the order for the Thunder this year after the departure of some senior players. With a little more time to get herself set, Litchfield could be in for a big season.

Sammy-Jo Johnston is more than just a useful fast-medium bowler, but it’s her batting that marks her as a player to watch. 27 runs off 11 balls turned the WBBL final in the Heat’s favour last season. Opposition bowlers will need her wicket early.

Predicted finish: eighth
The Thunder are a young side and they will be a force to be reckoned with in coming years. However, you don’t lose the retiring Alex Blackwell and Rene Farrell, plus departing Lisa Griffith, Rachel Priest and Naomi Stalenberg, and not feel the pinch. The Thunder are in for a tough season.

So, there you have it, WBBL 06 is just around the corner. You will be able to catch games on Channel Seven, Fox Cricket, Kayo and cricket.com.au. It’s great to see the summer of cricket is almost upon us.