If you were picking your dream T20 franchise XI, who would be at the top of your list? Perry? Devine? Smriti? For me, it would be Marizanne Kapp every time – top batsmen are almost two a penny, but there is only one Marizanne Kapp. Her worth really showed when the Renegades took their semifinal against the Sixers to a Super Over – Perry might have hit the runs that technically won the game, but it had been set up by Kapp conceding just 6 in the Renegades’ over. With the lowest Economy Rate in the competition at 5.8 runs per over, and 20 wickets too, Kapp is a Jaguar F-Pace with the petrol consumption of a 1 litre Ford Fiesta – she simply shouldn’t exist in an era when batsmen rule the roads, and the fact that she does is a constant marvel!
The only players close to Kapp on economy were Lea Tahuhu (5.9) who has often looked a bit lost in T20 franchise cricket, but had a very good season for the Renegades; Georgia Wareham (5.9), who I think could be a big player in the Women’s Ashes this summer; and Grace Harris (also 5.9).
In fact, with Harris ranking No. 8 in bowling and No. 5 in batting there is an argument that she, rather than Perry, should have been Player of the Tournament, and it will be interesting to see whether her performances force the Aussie selectors into a rethink on her, having not played for the Southern Stars since 2016.
The leading wicket-takers in WBBL04 were jointly Delissa Kimmince and Heather Graham, with 22 victims each, but both were a bit expensive – Kimmince conceding 6.8 runs per over – exactly a run an over more than Kapp – and Graham 7.4.
The leading English bowler meanwhile was Heather Knight at No. 20, with the other English bowlers well back in the pack – Dani Hazell at 38, Alex Hartley at 43 and Kate Cross at 45.
|1. Marizanne Kapp (Sydney Sixers)||16||20||5.8|
|2. Sammy-Jo Johnson (Brisbane Heat)||16||20||6.2|
|3. Delissa Kimmince (Brisbane Heat)||16||22||6.8|
|4. Heather Graham (Perth Scorchers)||14||22||7.4|
|5. Molly Strano (Melbourne Renegades)||15||19||6.4|
|6. Dane van Niekerk (Sydney Sixers)||16||19||6.7|
|7. Stafanie Taylor (Sydney Thunder)||15||19||6.9|
|8. Grace Harris (Brisbane Heat)||16||16||5.9|
|9. Lea Tahuhu (Melbourne Renegades)||15||14||5.9|
|10. Sophie Molineux (Melbourne Renegades)||14||16||7.0|
|11. Alana King (Melbourne Stars)||14||15||6.7|
|12. Jess Jonassen (Brisbane Heat)||16||15||6.9|
|13. Brooke Hepburn (Hobart Hurricanes)||14||15||7.3|
|14. Nicola Carey (Sydney Thunder)||15||15||7.3|
|15. Megan Schutt (Adelaide Strikers)||14||13||6.5|
|16. Lauren Cheatle (Sydney Sixers)||16||14||7.0|
|17. Jemma Barsby (Brisbane Heat)||16||14||7.0|
|18. Rene Farrell (Sydney Thunder)||10||14||7.2|
|19. Georgia Wareham (Melbourne Renegades)||15||11||5.9|
|20. Heather Knight (Hobart Hurricanes)||13||14||7.57|
Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy
I actually thought that Hazell, Hartley and Cross bowled well most of the time. How successful players are in these rankings can depend on when they bowl, and the match situation as well. Also note that following Hazell’s retirement none of these players are exactly first picks in England’s T20 side. This WBBL season was a bit strange in that a lot of England’s best T20 players didn’t participate for different reasons.
I was particularly happy to see the Melbourne Renegades, a bowling-dominated team, make it to the semis this year – and come within a fingertip of making to the final. In a batting-dominated season, that shows that there’s room for teams with different strengths to succeed: and that identifying young talent and allowing it to develop can eventually pay off.