The third edition of the Kia Super League – KSL03 – begins this weekend, with all 6 teams in action on Sunday afternoon: Stars v Vipers at Guildford; Thunder v Lightning at Southport & Birkdale; and Storm v Diamonds at Taunton.
We look at the squads… and make our predictions!
Last season’s runners-up, Southern Vipers have strengthened in all departments – out the door from the team that lost last year’s final go Georgia Adams, Hayley Mathews and Linsey Smith; replaced respectively by Tammy Beaumont, Sara McGlashan (ex-New Zealand, but playing as a “domestic” player on a British passport) and Amelia Kerr – significant upgrades in all cases. With Katie “Lieutenant” George’s rapid promotion up the England ranks since KSL02, they will have an all-international opening bowling partnership with her and Tash Farrant; and an all-international top 4 of Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Suzie Bates and Mignon du Preez. Perhaps the only question is how much of a look-in England’s next generation (Charlie Dean, Maia Bouchier and Lauren Bell) get this season – carrying drinks may be a rite of passage… but it doesn’t bridge many gaps! [Syd Egan]
Suzie Bates, Tammy Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Tash Farrant, Mignon Du Preez, Amelia Kerr, Katie George, Paige Scholfield, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Arran Brindle, Carla Rudd, Lauren Bell, Sara McGlashan, Fi Morris
Reigning champions Storm have a very similar squad to last year, which is a good omen given that their strength has always been a healthy team environment where overseas and non-overseas alike contribute fully. Assuming Anya Shrubsole is back to full fitness after missing the ODI series v New Zealand with a side strain, their bowling looks strong, with Sussex’s Freya Davies and Wales’s Claire Nicholas two of the best non-internationals in the competition. Meanwhile they’ve signed Smriti Mandhana to bolster their batting, as well as Naomi Dattani, whose innings v Surrey in the T20 London Cup this season was a sight to behold. They’ll make Finals Day for sure. [Raf Nicholson]
Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson, Freya Davies, Rachel Priest, Stafanie Taylor, Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Luff, Claire Nicholas, Lauren Parfitt, Danielle Gibson, Naomi Dattani, Lissy Macleod, Amara Carr, Rebecca Silk
With their strong South African backbone of Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk, the Stars are looking good for another visit to Finals Day, after their third-placed finish last season. Sarah Taylor’s arrival strengthens them further, although it isn’t great news for future England hopeful, wicket-keeper Rhianna Southby, who may find herself sitting on the sidelines as a result. Whether the Stars can go better than third this year may depend on how young-guns Sophia Dunkley and Bryony Smith step up – both have been in great form at county and for England Academy, and this is their chance to show the world what they can do on the bigger stage, so if they can grab it… who knows! [SE]
Nat Sciver, Dane Van Niekerk, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Aylish Cranstone, Grace Gibbs, Hannah Jones, Mady Villiers, Rhianna Southby, Sophia Dunkley, Eva Gray, Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Bryony Smith, Gayatri Gole
It’s all change at Lightning this season with a shake-up both at squad level and with a brand new coach in Rob Taylor after Salliann Briggs left for pastures new in March. The loss of Ellyse Perry, who has elected to stay home in Australia, will be a big blow to their hopes, only slightly softened by the return of Sophie Devine from the Diamonds, fresh from her mammoth century in the 3rd ODI against England. Key to their performance could be the signing of Kirstie Gordon, who has deservedly picked up her first KSL contract on the back of a strong domestic season: she finished far and away top of our County Championship bowling rankings. A mid-table finish seems most likely, however. [RN]
Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones, Jenny Gunn, Sophie Devine, Rachael Haynes, Elyse Villani, Izzy Cloke, Linsey Smith, Sarah Glenn, Georgia Adams, Tara Norris, Kirstie Gordon, Jo Gardner, Abi Freeborn, Lucy Higham
Yorkshire have yet to make it to a KSL Finals Day and although they have significantly reshuffled their squad, it is difficult to see that changing this season. Beth Mooney’s return could be significant – when she is at her explosive best she can win matches single-handed – and Lauren Winfield will be desperate to impress after sitting on the sidelines for England for much of the summer, but whether that makes up for the loss of Sophie Devine back to the Lightning is debatable. One to watch, if she gets a game [Do we sense a theme here? Ed.] may be Helen Fenby – she has impressed for the Academy, but this will be a very different stage to playing for Durham in Div 3 of the County Championship. [SE]
Lauren Winfield, Katherine Brunt, Beth Langston, Alice Davidson–Richards, Beth Mooney, Chamari Athapaththu, Delissa Kimmince, Helen Fenby, Katie Levick , Sophie Munro, Bess Heath, Thea Brookes, Alice Monaghan, Gwen Davies, Katie Thompson
The surprise appointment of Alex Blackwell as coach could be crucial to marshalling a team who have finished bottom of the table in both previous editions of the KSL. Bravely, they’ve persisted with the route of selecting their squad largely from local players who also play county cricket for Lancashire. Emma Lamb – who’s had a good season for Lancashire at county, finishing second in our Div 1 batting rankings behind only Suzie Bates – will presumably open again, alongside overseas stalwart Amy Satterthwaite. Nicole Bolton is their new overseas signing, playing in KSL for the first time, while Alex Hartley joins them from “down South”; but will that be enough to propel them to the opposite end of the table? I’m not convinced. [RN]
Danielle Hazell, Nicole Bolton, Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Kate Cross, Rachel Dickinson, Alice Dyson, Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Emma Lamb, Natasha Miles, Amy Satterthwaite, Ellie Threlkeld