The leading run-scorer of all time in WBBL – Beth Mooney – continued the form that saw her named Wisden’s Leading Woman Cricketer in the World last year, topping our batting rankings with 528 runs at a Strike Rate of 132, including her second WBBL century – 101* versus the Renegades. The real challenge is still to come, in Perth next weekend: Mooney was brought in to the Scorchers last season to do the one thing Meg Lanning had been unable to do in her two seasons out west – win them a title – but the difference is that Mooney has won WBBL finals before, and she’s certainly in the form to do it again.
Harmanpreet Kaur has often flattered to deceive in franchise cricket, and arguably for India too. She is obviously capable of brilliance – there may be Australian friends reading this, so I’d probably best not mention the greatest individual performance of all time – but the highs are too often followed by lengthy slumps of nothing scores. This WBBL has been different though, as she ranked second, with no hundreds but a boot-full of decent scores averaging 67. (She still doesn’t like running though – over a quarter of her 399 runs came in 6s!)
Elyse Villani at No. 3 had another pretty decent season – she’s actually 4th on the all-time run-scoring list, and also scored her maiden T20 hundred – on 96, with the Stars needing one to win, she hit a maximum off what proved to be the final ball of the group stages, to bring up the landmark. Villani’s international career is probably over – she’s in good form, but she’s 32, and… who are you going to drop from a top six of Healy, Mooney, Lanning, Gardner, Perry and McGrath? (Bearing in mind that McGrath had a decent series against India; Gardner is a critical part of the bowling strategy; and Perry is… Ellyse Perry!) But hopefully she’s still got a couple more seasons of domestic cricket left in her, and you could actually see her doing a Rachel Priest – using the freedom that not playing international cricket gives you to build a late career as a T20 franchise specialist – if that’s what she wanted.
Passing over Sophie Devine, because we all know what she can do, Georgia Redmayne continues to blossom at No. 5 – up 4 places from No. 9 on last year’s list. Redmayne’s chances of international honours this summer look better than Villani’s – she was in the squad for the India series after all – but unless there are injuries in that top 6, it’s difficult to see where she fits in; and as a keeper-batter she’s got the same problem as Amy Jones had for years shadowing Sarah Taylor, but doubled with both Mooney and Healy ahead of her.
Eve Jones was the highest ranked English player at No. 21. (And yes – I extended the list from the usual 20, just for her!) When Jones has hit her stride, she’s been very good value – see her 62 off 46 balls versus Heat – but the issue remains that she takes her time at the start of her innings, in this tournament not hitting at a Strike Rate of over 100 until she has faced an average of 18 balls. This mean that if she’s dismissed in single figures, which she has been 5 times thus far this season, she has usually chewed up a lot of balls in the process, and I think that’s going to be the key concern when Lisa Keightley and Heather Knight sit down to consider whether she makes their Ashes squad.
|1. Beth Mooney (Scorchers)||13||528||132|
|2. Harmanpreet Kaur (Renegades)||12||399||135|
|3. Elyse Villani (Stars)||12||439||122|
|4. Sophie Devine (Scorchers)||13||407||131|
|5. Georgia Redmayne (Heat)||13||436||120|
|6. Grace Harris (Heat)||13||403||128|
|7. Katie Mack (Strikers)||14||426||118|
|8. Smriti Mandhana (Thunder)||13||377||130|
|9. Mignon du Preez (Hurricanes)||14||414||115|
|10. Laura Wolvaardt (Strikers)||14||331||125|
|11. Jemima Rodrigues (Renegades)||12||317||116|
|12. Dane van Niekerk (Strikers)||14||295||119|
|13. Ellyse Perry (Sixers)||13||358||91|
|14. Georgia Voll (Heat)||13||262||116|
|15. Tahlia McGrath (Strikers)||14||264||110|
|16. Phoebe Litchfield (Thunder)||13||263||109|
|17. Rachel Priest (Hurricanes)||14||262||104|
|18. Alyssa Healy (Sixers)||13||231||116|
|19. Meg Lanning (Stars)||12||252||105|
|20. Nicole Bolton (Sixers)||13||247||96|
|21. Eve Jones (Renegades)||11||222||103|
|22. Deepti Sharma (Thunder)||13||211||107|
|23. Chamari Athapaththu (Scorchers)||10||182||117|
|24. Chloe Piparo (Scorchers)||13||202||106|
|25. Ashleigh Gardner (Sixers)||12||197||106|
Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate
From an Australian perspective, and of course putting Mooney to one side, these are worrying figures. Your assessment that Villani’s international career is over is probably correct, not least because she never really shone at that level. Redmayne is uncapped and, perhaps unfairly, is the third-ranked keeper. Harris has not played an international match for a long time, and Mack, again perhaps unfairly, has never been seriously discussed as international material.
As for the regulars (other than Mooney), Perry had a very ordinary season all-round, but her batting ranks her ahead of the rest of them. McGrath did not repeat her impressive performance against India. Healy had only one good innings, and Lanning has now gone through several lean years since recovering from her shoulder injury. As for Gardner, in this WBBL season she achieved the very rare distinction for a specialist batter or all-rounder of racking up an Audi (four ducks in a row). But even she made more runs than Carey, and Haynes didn’t play at all.
Meanwhile, Sophie Devine outscored all the current Australian internationals except Mooney. But recently the international side she captains suffered both home and away losses against England. The Poms must therefore now be fairly confident ahead of both the Ashes and the World Cup. (Yes, I know Devine missed the home series.) Additionally, the Indian and South African marquee players have been tasting success in the WBBL, and the West Indians have been equally impressive against the Pakistanis both home and away.
Suddenly, the looming World Cup is beginning to look potentially very competitive …
I just don’t understand your criticism of Eve Jones, Syd. England have been in desperate need of the more solid, watchful players who can get themselves in and build an innings. They’ve also been in desperate need of left-handed batters. You’ve talked about left-arm pace being a point of difference for a bowler (Tash Farrant) but this is equally true for Jones with the bat. Especially when England have literally no other left-handers. I just don’t know what more she can do to prove herself – it’ll be pure madness if she’s not given a chance in some format of the Ashes.