WBBL CATCH-UP – Devine Stars… So Do Stars!

Approaching the half-way stage in the competition, the WBBL remains pretty close – apart from the Renegades, stuck at the bottom with just 1 win from 7 matches, only two points separate the Melbourne Stars in 1st place, from the Brisbane Heat in 7th!

Team Played Won Lost Tie/ N/R Points
Melbourne Stars 6 4 2 0 8
Adelaide Strikers 6 3 1 2 8
Sydney Thunder 7 3 3 1 7
Hobart Hurricanes 7 3 3 1 7
Sydney Sixers 6 3 3 0 6
Perth Scorchers 5 3 2 0 6
Brisbane Heat 6 3 3 0 6
Melbourne Renegades 7 1 6 0 2

The star of the Christmas period was definitely the Adelaide Strikers’ Sophie Devine, whose 48-ball century (103*) knocked the wind out of the Hurricanes, who had put themselves in a strong position with a total of 143, including 69 from Heather Knight. Devine is a fascinating player to watch – she does’t move much of anything, but she generates incredible bat-speed with a late whip of the wrists, sending the ball over the ropes for 6 on no less than 8 occasions in this innings.

In the Stars v Heat double-header, Meg Lanning made a match-winning 97* as the Stars set up a 54-run victory in the first match, whilst Beth Mooney was the star with 55 off 50 balls as the Heat got the revenge in the the following day’s sequel.

The Sydney Sixers leaped up to 3rd this week, with wins over the Thunder and the Hurricanes. Ash Gardner made some nice runs across the two matches; but it was really the bowling performances in the Hurricanes game in particular which made the difference. While Sarah Aley took the Player-of-the-Match plaudits for her 3-13, you can’t ignore the roles of openers Marizanne Kapp and Ellyse Perry – after the 1st over went for 8 runs, the next 4 went for just one run each, creating early pressure which left the Hurricanes chasing the game in vain from thereon in.

Meanwhile, the Perth Scorchers made short work of the Renegades in their only match of the week, as Elyse Villani posted her second 50 of the tournament, to keep them in the hunt.

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3 thoughts on “WBBL CATCH-UP – Devine Stars… So Do Stars!

  1. *Although Stars possibly look the strongest side overall so far, we’ve seen all the teams put in both strong showings and less convincing performances mixed in. How Stars did not win the most recent match against Heat when they were 88-0 in the 13th chasing 130, I’m not sure, but they might have a soft underbelly. They lost 6 wickets for 32 runs in 7 overs. That’s a similar collapse to England’s in the WT20 against the Aussies, where they lost 5 for 28 in about 5 overs.

    *Strikers might be second, but I’m yet to be convinced by their batting if Devine were to have an off -day. Thunder, similarly, have been underwhelming for me and a have a few players not contributing as much as they’d like. But I can’t not mention the phenomenal innings from Devine against Hobart. She simply smashed the Canes attack everywhere in a brutal display of dismissive power hitting. The ball positively flew off her bat – it was an innings to top anything I’ve seen over the past couple of years. Chanceless and with barely a mis-hit, it must rank among her best, cementing her place with the very top T20 players in the world game. Chief among the culprits in this carnage were Matthews and Satterthwaite, fellow internationals who normally Knight could turn to expecting a cheap over or four, but this time were carted by Devine for 20 and 16 runs respectively. Devine had all the plaudits and the male commentators on the live-stream were certainly singing her praises.

    *The other standout player for me so far, who I’d not previously seen much of, is Ash Gardner. When she comes in she immediately starts imposing her trademark style. She’s a powerful hitter, with skillful timing and shot selection, and is lightning quick between the wickets and a good fielder to boot. She made an excellent 52 against the Thunder. When you add her spin bowling into the mix, I’d suggest you can’t go too far wrong with her in your side. Full Aussie call-up must be beckoning.

    *Poor Renegades look consigned to another season spent propping up the league. The side don’t appear to have much confidence at all now. The main problem is they are desperately short of batting resources (Priest and Britt appear to be the only 2 specialist batters) – especially with Harris out injured. Any total of 100+ looks like it could challenge them and that’s on a good day. It looks like they might lose every match they have left, but I hope they can get another win or two on the board before the end. They might not be able to qualify but they could still influence the final standings.

    *Last and probably least – Crikey I find the music between each ball in some matches a bit annoying! What’s all that about?!

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  2. I was surprised that extraordinary innings from Devine was her first 50+ score in either season of WBBL.
    Her brilliance aside, I agree it’s stark how badly the Strikers need more consistent contributions from the rest of the batting order. While weather has meant they’ve played fewer matches than the rest, it must still be a concern that their 2nd highest scorer (McGrath) has just 56 runs this season.

    With 829 runs over the two seasons, Lanning looks certain to be the fist woman to score 1,000 WBBL career runs. Her nearest challenger (Perry) is on 607.

    Gardner was very impressive and I quite like the balance of this Sixers side.

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  3. I may have mentioned this before, but having seen Sophie Devine break the NZ all-comers’ record for a T20 century at the Basin Reserve vs Auckland (off 44 balls with 9 sixes, many of them over the fence), I’ve been waiting to see her do something similar in the WBBL – and now she has! The question is, can she keep it up?

    I agree about Ash Gardner – to me, she looks the best of the Australian players who haven’t yet played for the Southern Stars, although as a middle-order player she may need to wait for a retirement before she can get a regular place.

    To me, the Stars are too dependent on their openers – as the way they blew their sun-chase against the Heat suggests. I think the Sixers look the best-balanced team right now, but if the Strikers make it to the semis and Sophie Devine has two good days, they could be unstoppable.

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