PREVIEW: #WBBL…. Already?

Hang on… wait… it’s #WBBL already? I only just got used to typing #WT20! And now there’s another hashtag? It’s all too much!!

It’s all a bit too much for some of the players too – several of them, including England’s Heather Knight, who must feel like she has spent most of the last week on a plane, won’t be appearing this weekend. (The England players are required to take an 8-day post-tournament break, so we’ll see them next week hopefully!)

There are 23 televised matches, which you can watch in England via BT Sport, starting tonight at 2:45 am (i.e Saturday morning) with the Sixers v the Stars. All of the non-televised matches will be live-streamed at cricket.com.au, so it will once again be possible to watch every game your team play. (And I guess every game, as long as you have enough screens!)

Here at CRICKETher, Syd will be once again supporting the Hobart Hurricanes, due to a long-nurtured sense of fatalism and some vague Berkshire connections; while Raf will be rooting for the Adelaide Strikers, as long as they’ve still got Sophie Devine playing for them! [Yup – check – they have!]

Adelaide Strikers

After a disappointing past few months in international colours, the Dynamic Duo from New Zealand – Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine – will probably feel the pressure is off a bit as they pull on a different coloured jersey, and this could be bad news for everyone else. With Bates and Devine to open the batting the will be hoping to get off to some big starts, and their batting isn’t even their strong point! Their bowling includes current World No. 1 Megan Schutt, former World No. 1 Dani Hazell, Sarah Coyte, Amanda-Jade Wellington; and not forgetting that Devine herself was the second-leading wicket-taker in KSL this year! Having slightly disappointed last year, when they came 4th in the ladder, expect more this time around.

Prediction: Up There

Brisbane Heat

They’ve got Beth Mooney. And… er… hmmm… look… we love Laura Wolvaardt, we really, really do, but she just isn’t a Twenty20 player; and Sune Luus, their other big South African signing, still looks like a lost empire in search of a role – since her bowling went south, South Africa have tried to turn her into a batsman, which hasn’t been a total disaster, but hasn’t exactly been a roaring success either. Jess Jonassen is short of match fitness having spent #WT20 carrying drinks; while one-time Great White Hope Holly Ferling spent #WT20 back home watching on TV. They only just missed out on the playoffs last time – if they get even close this time, it will be a miracle.

Prediction: Wooden Spoon Challengers

Hobart Hurricanes

The WBBL’s perennial whipping-girls still don’t have any Aussie stars. What they do have is a new coach poached from Loughborough – Salliann Briggs – and the two leading run-scorers from KSL, Heather Knight and Smriti Mandhana. With Hayley Matthews, who seems to perhaps be at last starting to fulfil the promise she showed on her spectacular entry to the international stage when she powered the West Indies to victory in the final of the last #WT20 in India in 2016, things could be looking up in Hobart. A hurricane? Perhaps not! But at least a strong wind!

Prediction: In The Mix

Melbourne Renegades

Another team without any big Aussie stars, but they’ve got a few smaller ones, including Sophie Molineux and Georgia Wareham who are now officially World Cup Winners™, plus Tayla Vlaeminck who played in the group stages of #WT20 but not the final. Danni Wyatt always seems to turn up in Australia, and having Amy Satterthwaite on the bridge is always a bonus with bat and ball, especially as she comes with a free Lea Tahuhu boxed-in. They probably won’t make the playoffs, but it wouldn’t be a massive shock if they did.

Prediction: In The Mix

Melbourne Stars

To lose one Lanning (Meg, to the Scorchers last year) may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both (Anna, to the Renegades this year) looks like carelessness, and it is carelessness that the Stars look likely to pay for. At 34, Kristen Beams is a veteran who has seen it all before, but is also coming to the end of her career; and none of their other marquee players are quite superstars – Georgia Elwiss is very reliable, but isn’t going to set the world on fire; Lizelle Lee can set everything on fire, but seems to be out of matches more often than she’s not; while Mignon du Preez is one of the hardest working women in cricket, but as an accumulator she can’t do it alone in T20. They came second-to-last in the table last season – expect similar this time.

Prediction: Wooden Spoon Challengers

Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers’ key player last year was Katherine Brunt, but them playing her through a niggle which then flared-up into a full-blown long-term injury ultimately cost everyone big, as she missed the #WT20 for England and has obviously not returned to Perth either. Filling Brunt’s shoes are Kate Cross and Amy Jones, but they are big shoes to fill, and what the Scorchers could really have done with is another big batsman – someone like… oh, I don’t know… Meg Lanning! Lanning isn’t the most elegant player in the world (*hi Sarah Taylor*) or the most destructive (*waves at Harmanpreet Kaur*) but she has already broken many of the records in the book, and will surely break the rest before she is done. With her on board the Scorchers will surely be up there again this season.

Prediction: Up There

Sydney Sixers

They won it last year; they won it the year before – yer, let’s just say this: they’re gonna win it again! They don’t have Kim Garth this time  – the loophole that allowed her to play as a “rookie” has now been closed – but they still have Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, and Ellyse Perry from the Aussie contingent; plus Marizanne Kapp, who might not be officially the world’s No. 1 bowler, but would be the second name on many “World XI” team-sheets nonetheless, and Dane van Niekerk just for the LOLs – and there will be a lot of LOLs for Sixers fans this season, that’s for sure.

Prediction: Winners

Sydney Thunder

The Thunder have the most stable team in WBBL – no big names, in or out. It will be interesting to see how Alex Blackwell performs, having largely retired from playing, and indeed being a coach in KSL. Their overseas – Harmanpreet Kaur, Rachel Priest and Stafanie Taylor – are all capable of hitting huge runs… but equally all capable of not. They will need Ms Ultra-Reliable – Rachael Haynes – to be… well… ultra-reliable; and hope that they have enough bowling to keep things in check in the field. They came a solid second in the ladder last year – they probably won’t do quite so well this.

Prediction: In The Mix

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “PREVIEW: #WBBL…. Already?

  1. “The Scorchers’ key player last year was Katherine Brunt, but them playing her through a niggle which then flared-up into a full-blown long-term injury ultimately cost everyone big” – er, perhaps not quite ‘everyone’ – bet the Australians didn’t think it was costing them all that much when they didn’t have to face her in the T20 WC Final !

    Like

  2. I love the WBBL and am looking forward to it again, but the sides do seem to be getting more and more unbalanced! I would have expected CA to have moved a few players round in the interest of keeping the likes of Stars and Heat more competitive, but they haven’t. Neither side have had a great squad in any of the three seasons so far. Meanwhile Sixers line up is, frankly, ridiculous every year. So you may be right, we’ll probably just get the same result again. Not sure it’s good for the league to have a couple of runaways at the top and a couple of other sides languishing at the bottom. KSL was more interesting in terms of changes in team performance from last year. Hopefully, all won’t quite go to the WBBL script we predict, and there’ll be a surprise or two.

    Like

    • Yer – Cricket Australia have taken a very “free-market” approach and this is what happens… Could be a mistake in the longer term. (The folks running The 100 are certainly very aware of this, and want to ensure that they don’t make this mistake.)

      Like

      • Well good for them, I suppose, but I’d rather not lose a popular and quite successful league like the KSL for a complete unknown quantity. With T10 leagues now starting to make their way into the cricket consciousness, there’s a chance that the 16.4 overs of “The 100” could seem like Old Hat before it’s even begun. Massive risk from the ECB for women’s cricket. The men still have some more T20 to fall back on at least.

        Like

  3. Go Scorchers!

    (Well I think the decent thing is ALWAYS to support one’s local team… 😉)

    On the wider subject of spreading the talent, or not, are there any stats available on attendance trends? For instance, have perennially struggling teams seen interest fall? You would think a growing competition, still seeking to establish itself fully with the nation’s sporting psyche to a degree, would want to make itself as competitive as possible right across the board.

    Like

  4. I have no strong preference to any of teams but I’ve gone with the Strikers because according to my parents, Adelaide is very nice city!

    A couple of questions, firstly why is this so soon after the T20 World Cup when the men’s BBL doesn’t start until the end of the month? Secondly, is Tammy Beaumont not back for the Strikers?

    Like

  5. Well it was a great start, ‘Canes taking the Scorchers close in a nervy finish and then Stars defying the odds to chase down Sixers total (shows what we know!) with a big century by guess who… Lee, where have we seen that before! Highlights at 1745 BT Sport 2. More exciting than watching Man Utd !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On a slightly different viewpoint, did I read somewhere that 100+ Aussie Women players are now paid? Compared with the 18 or so ECB players.
    If my figures are not totally accurate has anyone got the final figures?
    If the English women are to build all round strength of squads, and raise profile of the County teams we need to get more “professional “?

    Like

    • It’s about that. And 21/22 England players now; although the “rookie” contracts aren’t quite what you’d call a “living wage”.

      Like

  7. And 15 New Zealand domestic players. For the first time this year, the domestic T20 competitions in NZ will be played as double-headers. Pay per match for domestic players, not including expenses, will be:

    Men: $575
    Women: $0

    No wonder the NZ women’s team is falling further and further behind the new “big four” of women’s cricket, at least when it comes to international tournaments.

    Like

Have Your Say...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.