Wednesday, 7 December 2016

WBBL02 Preview

This weekend is the opening weekend of WBBL02.

Here are the opening fixtures, with our view on who might win, and then a run down on all the sides taking part, including full squad details, plus where we think they will finish in the league. Remember the top four in the league go through to the semi-finals, but there are 56 league games to be played in the next six weeks before then...

10th December
Hurricanes v Scorchers – Hurricanes to win
Strikers v Renegades - Strikers to win
Thunder v Stars - Thunder to win
11th December
Renegades v Strikers - Strikers to win
Scorchers v Hurricanes - Hurricanes to win
Sixers v Heat - Sixers to win

Adelaide Strikers
Megan Schutt, Sarah Coyte,  (Southern Stars)
Sophie Devine, Charlotte Edwards, Tammy Beaumont (Overseas)
Amanda Wellington, Tahlia McGrath, Sarah Elliott, Shelley Nitschke, Tegan McPharlin © (wk), Bridget Patterson, Alex Price, Samantha Betts, Tabatha Saville, Katelyn Pope

It looks like the Strikers are going to rely on their overseas players, Devine, Edwards and Beaumont, to get runs on the board, perhaps batting around the immoveable object that is Sarah Elliott. Beaumont scored a lot of international runs in 2016, but had a rather lacklustre KSL campaign with the Surrey Stars, as did Edwards with the Southern Vipers, and Devine with Loughborough Lightning. Quick runs could be a struggle for this line-up.
Amanda Wellington and Megan Schutt may bear the brunt of the responsibility with the ball, with Coyte, McGrath, Devine and Alex Price all required to pitch in.
This looks like a team that could well lose as many as they win. 

WCB forecast - 4th
Brisbane Heat
                                    Holly Ferling, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney (wk) (Southern Stars)
                                    Deandra Dottin, Smriti Mandhana (Overseas)
Delissa Kimmince ©, Jemma Barsby, Courtney Hill, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Kirby Short, Kara Sutherland, Laura Harris, Haidee Birkett, Georgia Prestwidge, Tess Cooper

A deliciously eclectic mix with runs possibly in short supply. It will be fascinating to see how well Smriti Mandhana goes in Australia. She hit a hundred against the Aussies back in February in Hobart, which suggests that quicker Aussie wickets may well suit her classical style of play, but she is not a T20 expert. Could this tournament be the making of her? There will be pressure on Beth Mooney to deliver runs on a regular basis, and Deandra Dottin will hope for a lot more runs than she scored in the KSL in August. Skipper Kimmince may need to bail out her top order if they are going to put many runs on the board.
Dottin’s forte in the KSL, and the T20 World Cup, was actually her bowling. She has a tendency to spear the ball down the legside, and on a bad day it’s bad, but she can also be a toe-crushing yorker machine, who can win matches. 
WCB forecast - 7th
Hobart Hurricanes
                                    Julie Hunter (Southern Star)
                                    Heather Knight ©, Hayley Matthews, Amy Satterthwaite (Overseas)
Katelyn Fryett, Veronica Pyke, Brooke Hepburn, Meg Phillips, Sasha Maloney, Emma Thompson, Erin Burns, Celester Raack, Corinne Hall, Georgia Redmayne, Erin Fazackerley

Last year’s surprise package, and I think they could be so again, although they look a little light on bowling. The three overseas players are all likely to bowl their 4 overs, as will the parsimonious Hunter. Brooke Hepburn had a great WNCL (if rather expensive at times) and there is always the evergreen Ronnie Pike.
With the bat Hayley Matthews will hope she improves on her first stint at the club and bats way better than she did in the KSL in England. If Amy Satterthwaite can maintain her stunning 2016 form with the bat then she may be the Hurricanes’ match-winner, under the leadership of the blossoming skipper, Heather Knight. 

WCB forecast - 3rd
Melbourne Renegades
                                    Grace Harris (Southern Star)
                                    Rachel Priest © wk, Danni Wyatt, Leah Tahuhu (Overseas)
Molly Strano, Sophie Molineaux, Kirsty Lamb, Kris Britt, Georgia Wareham, Maitlan Brown, Nicole Goodwin, Tayla Vlaeminck, Amy Yates, Annabel Sutherland, Natalie Plane

Renegades finished bottom of the table last year with just four wins in their 14 games. Eight of the 15 players in WBBL01 have gone, with the only established players brought in to strengthen the squad being Grace Harris and Leah Tahuhu. Kiwi Rachel Priest and England’s Danni Wyatt return, but it is difficult to see the Renegades finishing anywhere but bottom again. Harris may win some games on her own if she can get going with the bat, but this season could be another struggle.
WCB forecast - 8th
Melbourne Stars
                                    Meg Lanning ©, Jess Cameron, Kristen Beams (Southern Stars)
Morna Nielsen, Nat Sciver, Hayley Jensen, (Danielle Hazell – temp replacement for Beams) (Overseas)
Anna Lanning, Emma Inglis (wk), Emma Kearney, Kathleen Hempenstall, Katie Mack, Gemma Triscari, Kelly Applebee, Alana King, Lily Bardsley (wk)

It is incredibly difficult to look beyond Meg Lanning as being the make or break of this team, as she was last year. If she gets runs they will win. If she doesn’t they won’t. Nat Sciver could be a willing ally with the bat. She carried the Surrey Stars batting in the KSL, and seems to be maturing into a quality player.
With the ball the Stars will be without Kristen Beams for the start of their campaign due to injury (Dani Hazell steps in and will do a good job), but they lack wicket-takers. It would not surprise me to see Lanning bowling herself at some stage during the tournament.
WCB forecast - 5th
Perth Scorchers
                                    Nicole Bolton, Elyse Villani (Southern Stars)
Suzie Bates ©, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, (Becky Grundy – temp replacement for Shrubsole) (Overseas)
Megan Banting (wk), Emma Biss, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Emma King, Chloe Piparo, Mathilda Carmichael, Lauren Ebsary, Emily Smith (wk), Katie Hartshorn

Suzie Bates rejoins the Perth outfit after a great 2016 and as their new skipper. She proved in the KSL that she is a class act in this form of the game, both with bat and ball, and a great deal of Perth’s success could rest on how well she is playing. Western Fury, from whom most of these players hail, had a dismal WNCL, so confidence will not be high. The youngsters will be looking to Bolton, Villani, and Brunt, plus their skipper, to lead the way.

WCB forecast - 6th
Sydney Sixers
                                    Ellyse Perry ©, Alyssa Healy (wk) (Southern Stars)
                                    Marizanne Kapp, Sara McGlashan, Dane van Niekerk (Overseas)
Emily Leys, Lauren Smith, Lisa Sthalekar, Ashleigh Gardner, Rhiannon Dick, Sara Hungerford, Sarah Aley, Ange Reakes, Jodie Hicks, Haylee Hoffmesiter, Carly Leeson

Last year they made a horrendous start to the tournament, losing their first six games, but came back to win eight on the bounce and get through to the final. Only to be beaten there by their local rivals. Perry, Healy, Kapp, McGlashan and van Niekerk looks like a strong top-order batting line-up, but their bowling could let them down. The spin of van Niekerk, Sthalekar and Smith may pull them through, with seamers Kapp and Perry struggling a little of late.
WCB forecast - 2nd
Sydney Thunder
                                    Alex Blackwell ©, Rene Farrell, Erin Osborne (Southern Stars)
                                    Stafanie Taylor, Harmanpreet Kaur (Overseas)
Steff Daffara, Naomi Stalenberg, Mikayla Hinkley,  Lauren Cheatle, Nicola Carey, Belinda Vakarewa, Rachael Haynes, Claire Koski, Sam Bates, Maisy Gibson

Last year’s surprise champions, who, unsurprisingly, have made few changes to their line-up for WBBL02. The only new face is Indian import Harmanpreet Kaur – India’s new T20 captain. She joins the stunningly-talented returning Stafanie Taylor, as the overseas contingent for the Stars. They could be a formidable partnership. Add into the mix the experience of the Aussie national contingent – Blackwell, Farrell and Osborne - and they look like a side that could be hard to beat again. Lauren Cheatle will hope to be back to her best after missing cricket with illness and school exams. Last year she picked up 18 wickets and burst onto the international scene. Youngsters Nicola Carey and Maisy Gibson, may also have plenty to do with the ball.

WCB forecast - 1st



  1. Good writeup and hard to argue with any points made

    In related news, Meg Lanning today scored 128 (62) in a warm up T20 match between the Melbourne Stars and Wellington Blaze in NZ. Truly ominous form.

  2. It's unusual for Lanning to go that berserk. She's obviously a top player but if she did have a weakness I'd say it was her inability to score at above 120 or so (although she rarely scores slowly). She is still more suited to 50 overs, in my view due to her ability to construct big hundreds. But it does bode well for Stars. Both her and Sciver have definitely improved in this format.

    For the WBBL predictions, I think it's likely that Thunder, Sixers, Strikers and maybe Hurricanes will be among the top five, so agreed with that. Also, Heat and Renegades certainly look the weakest, like last year, I also think these 2 sides will struggle to get of of the bottom 2-3.

    With Scorchers and Stars, it's more difficult to predict. They actually both have pretty strong squads. I think one of them could pull off a shock and finish top four. We shall see...

  3. I was at that Basin Reserve game - I'd have to say the quality of Wellington's bowling wasn't great, and it was a superb batting pitch, but even so Meg Lanning was phenomenal. However, her opening partner Emma inglis put on 70-odd in their undefeated opening partnership of 204*, kept well, and looked a decent player also.

    Quick runs won't be a problem for the Strikers if Sophie Devine gets going. Playing for Wellington yesterday, she had them ahead of the required run rate to beat the Stars with a very rapid 50 - but once she was out, the rest of the Wellington lineup settled for batting practice as they fell well short of the target.

    Devine regularly clears the fence at the Basin - not just the rope - but lacks consistency. If she can become more consistent, she can make almost any run chase achievable.