WBBL08: Lessons Learnt and Trends – Batting

Part 1 of 3 in a series reflecting on WBBL08 by guest writer Andy Frombolton

The average 1st innings score in this year’s WBBL (in complete games) was 145, up slightly on 2021 (137).

Teams posting 144 or more in the first innings won 22/29 times whilst teams scoring 160 or more won 14/16. But the distribution of above-par 1st innings scores was highly skewed – only 3 teams managed it more than twice: Heat (7 wins from 8); Sixers (6 wins from 7); and, Hurricane (3 wins from 5). In contrast champions Adelade Strikers never posted more than 147 but defended 4 scores in the range 140-147 (twice against the Sixers) and their highest score in 6 successful chases was only 156.

The most obvious conclusion is that it’s bowling units which win games, not batters. Nevertheless batters are the focus of this first article.

There were 24 first innings scores of 150 or more (compared to 17 last season) but more interesting is who’s scoring the bulk of these runs. Intuitively you might imagine it would be the players with international experience – and this certainly used to be the case.


Slowly, uncapped players are being given, and are seizing, their opportunities. Disappointingly however this cohort (extensively coached in power hitting and 360 degree shot making) isn’t having the impact on run rates which might have been expected.

Top 25 run scorers WBBL 2022

(Orange – Australian former and current Internationals. Blue – former and current Overseas Internationals)

With the exception of Laura Harris, the uncapped batters are scoring their runs at about the same rate as the international players they’re incrementally displacing.

2022 RUNS 6511 4274 3109
% RUNS 47% 31% 22%
SR 119 110 102
2021 RUNS 7301 3560 2231
% 56% 27% 17%
SR 116 103 95
2020 RUNS 6844 3383 2070
% 56% 28% 17%
SR 115 101 97
2019 RUNS 8457 4063 2497
% 56% 27% 17%
SR 121 108 101
2018 RUNS 7805 4452 2853
% 52% 29% 19%
SR 124 109 100

Most teams pack their top order with dependable batters who can be relied upon to get their team to the sort of total which will win most games (144 this year, as noted earlier).

But 144 only requires a collective SR of around 112 (assuming 10 extras per innings).

So, if you’re a former international or a fringe player seeking to secure a WBBL or Hundred contract why take risks trying to score more quickly – even against weaker bowling attacks – when a pedestrian 112 will be seen as a good innings? With this attitude team scores aren’t going to grow.

In their defence, the top order could cite some statistics which seemingly justify their cautious approach:

Bat Result % runs (off the bat) scored by batters 1-4
1st Win 75.00%
Lose 53.00%
2nd Win 77.00%
Lose 54.00%

This seems to suggest that the team won’t win unless the top order scores the bulk of the runs. But a lot of these victories batting second were in pursuit of low scores and hence inflate the average contribution of the top order. Watching teams slowly overhaul below-par scores was a scenario seen far too often this tournament.

More relevant then is to see how the top batters cope when presented with a more challenging target. If you take the average of a team’s 3 highest first innings scores as an indicator of what they’re capable of when they play well (‘batting potential’, ‘BP’) there were only 11 occasions (in full length games) when teams exceeded their BP batting second and only 4 times did this result in a victory.

The conclusion is that most teams simply don’t know how to chase anything above an average score – primarily because their top order is full of established players playing ‘old fashioned’ cricket. Powerplays are squandered and acceleration is too slow; leaving the middle/lower order batters too much to do if the top order fail.

Comparisons to men’s cricket aren’t usually helpful, but sometimes they can serve to shine a light on issues. Looking at 2021 Blast data, the average SR for the top 4 run scorers in each team was 141, 128 for the next 4 and 113 for the rest. This raises two questions: Firstly, why aren’t the best women batters able to achieve SRs more akin to the best men batters (Mandhana and Wyatt dispel any argument that physical size is the primary explanation) and, secondly, why are the tails so long? If batters 6 onwards can barely strike at 100, then it’s little wonder than the top order batters in most teams play so cautiously (knowing that if they fail, their teams have little chance of success).

Let’s look at this year’s (4 over) Powerplays. The average PP (both innings) was 24; equivalent to a SR100 (with only 2 fielders out). That’s not good enough.

Consider 6 hitting. There were 235 6s hit in this year’s competition but just 13 batters accounted for half of them. 46 batters didn’t hit a single 6 (including 4 of the top 25 run scorers) whilst a further 16 hit just 1 (including another 3 of the top 25 runs scorers). This means that 7 of the top 25 most prolific run scorers can’t clear the ropes. Perhaps they don’t take the aerial route? Well, 8 of the 25 (including 5 internationals) score less than 50% of their runs in boundaries – which is the average for the top 85 batters!

Why is this important? Because boundaries win games. In comparison the number of singles has barely any impact. (The same hold true in the men’s game.) The one exception was the Sixer’s (record) 66 singles to beat Hurricanes despite scoring 5 fewer boundaries. Next best (65) helped propel Stars to an truly-underwhelming 114 against the same opposition!

In this year’s WBBL, 42 of the 52 full length games were won by the team which equalled or hit more boundaries than the opposition. (Regarding the other 10 games, in 4 of these the winning team only hit 1 less boundary.)

The players who can hit boundaries are coming in too late, with too much to do.

Kudos then to the handful of players in the top 25 run scorers with a SR>120 and a boundary % greater than 55%.

L Harris 270 22.5 205 84.00%
A Gardner 339 28.25 151 63.00%
EA Burns 295 32.77 145 63.00%
DN Wyatt 263 20.23 129 64.00%
A Capsey 259 25.9 129 58.00%
AJ Healy 330 25.38 125 60.00%
BL Mooney 434 43.4 121 57.00%
EA Perry 408 40.8 120 56.00%

The stand out names? Harris, Gardner and Perry; because they bat down the order after the top order have chewed up lots of balls (scoring slowly).

Looking outside the top 25 runs scorers provides a vision of a different future. There were 6 other batters with more than 75 runs and a SR above 120:

PLAYER SR Boundary % Av BF per innings
Flintoff 166 60.00% 10
Brown 162 67.00% 11
Ecclestone 159 56.00% 9
Kapp 143 66.00% 16
Jonassen 135 49.00% 9
Johnston 123 68.00% 7

How then to hit bigger scores? The starting point has to be to differentiate between scoring rates which are capped by a player’s skill levels and those which derive from the position they bat (top 4 dependency).

The (few) international top order batters who can take advantage of the powerplay must open, but partnered by players with defined roles to take on the bowlers and the limit on out fielders. ‘Success’ has to be to be measured in terms of SR, not average. Imagine the team willing to open with batters like Laura Harris (batting for 4 overs with field restrictions instead of just 2 during the ‘Surge’), Flintoff or Ecclestone with complete freedom from ball 1. Some games it will come off and most it won’t. When it does the team score will surge above the 145 and the team will probably win. In those games a team’s experienced International players will come in later – but with a different role (akin to that which Kapp and Jonassen perform). And when your hard hitters fail, they won’t have wasted many balls and the more traditional players can rebuild and aim for a defendable 140.

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 140

This week:

  • WBBL Review – England players, the final & Charlotte Edwards’ golden touch
  • Our impressions of new England coach Jon Lewis
  • England squad to tour WI & the comeback of Lauren Winfield-Hill
  • Syd’s thoughts (rant incoming!) about THAT £400m

WBBL: Batting Rankings – Sixers Hit ‘Em All For Six

Beth Mooney topped the WBBL batting charts for the second season in succession, after also coming 2nd in 2020, though emphasising the fact that it was a pretty middling year for batters, she did so scoring considerably fewer runs than in either of her past two seasons – “just” 434 from 14 games, compared with 528 from 13 group stage games in 2021 and 524 from 13 games in 2020.

After winning the tournament in 2021, Mooney’s Scorchers failed to qualify for the knockouts this year, showing how quickly things can change between one season and another. The Sixers have shown this from the other perspective, going from last to first in the ladder, with a massive 4 of their batters ranked in the top 6 to put them at the head of the team batting metrics.

Batting Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two 4/6 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Sixers 24 3.12 2.42 16 6 8.16 8.06 5.60
Heat 20 3.01 2.64 14 7 8.16 7.32 5.90
Hurricanes 17 2.76 2.73 12 8 7.23 7.80 6.67
Scorchers 22 2.64 2.75 15 7 7.26 7.10 5.54
Stars 17 2.60 2.70 14 8 7.34 6.77 6.67
Strikers 21 2.53 2.81 17 8 6.85 7.11 6.11
Renegades 16 2.46 2.69 18 9 5.77 6.92 6.09
Thunder 17 2.42 2.70 22 9 6.22 6.63 6.23

Ash Gardner looks to be locked-in for Player of the Tournament, having also finished 2nd in the bowling rankings; Ellyse Perry’s resurgent form has earned her an unexpected place in Australia’s squad for the India T20s, after she sat on the side-lines for the Commonwealth Games; Erin Burns has burned up any suggestion that she is over the hill at age 34; and Alyssa Healy also appears to have rediscovered prime form after a disappointing outing in 2021. Getting all those players singing from the same hymn-sheet after flopping so badly in 2021 is quite the feat… remind me who is coach of the Sydney Sixers again?

The highest ranked overseas player is Mignon du Preez at 4, with 366 runs at a strike rate of 124, helping the Hurricanes achieve their best ladder finish since WBBL02. Alice Capsey was the top English player, coming in 12th thanks in part to that remarkable 80 off 52 balls she hit for the Stars against the Hurricanes – an innings which was notable for not being just a “smash-and-grab” but a perfectly timed slow build which saw her smack 17 runs off the 19th over, and then a 4 off the first ball of the 20th, to win the match virtually single-handed.

Player Played Runs Strike Rate
1. Beth Mooney (Scorchers) 14 434 121
2. Ash Gardner (Sixers) 14 339 153
3. Ellyse Perry (Sixers) 14 375 121
4. Mignon du Preez (Hurricanes) 14 366 124
5. Erin Burns (Sixers) 14 294 147
6. Alyssa Healy (Sixers) 14 329 128
7. Georgia Redmayne (Heat) 10 333 112
8. Laura Wolvaardt (Strikers) 14 341 107
9. Laura Harris (Heat) 14 193 186
10. Katie Mack (Strikers) 14 317 110
11. Annabel Sutherland (Stars) 14 304 114
12. Alice Capsey (Stars) 14 259 129
13. Suzie Bates (Sixers) 14 308 107
14. Phoebe Litchfield (Thunder) 14 280 118
15. Marizanne Kapp (Scorchers) 14 229 143
16. Grace Harris (Heat) 12 273 112
17. Lizelle Lee (Hurricanes) 14 249 119
18. Heather Graham (Hurricanes) 12 237 122
19. Amelia Kerr (Heat) 14 243 117
20. Deandra Dottin (Strikers) 14 271 105
21. Maddie Penna (Strikers) 14 260 107
22. Hayley Matthews (Renegades) 14 253 110
23. Lauren Winfield-Hill (Stars) 14 254 105
24. Danni Wyatt (Heat) 11 206 127
25. Tahlia McGrath (Strikers) 12 213 120
26. Maddy Green (Scorchers) 14 240 105
27. Georgia Voll (Heat) 14 229 110
28. Courtney Webb (Renegades) 14 252 97
29. Tammy Beaumont (Thunder) 12 194 119
30. Carly Leeson (Renegades) 14 211 107

Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

NEWS: Winfield-Hill Back for Windies T20s

Just weeks after losing her central contract, Lauren Winfield-Hill has been recalled to the England squad for the T20 series versus the West Indies next month.

After an outstanding summer in domestic cricket in 2022, winning The Hundred with Oval Invincibles and leading Northern Diamonds to victory in the RHF Trophy, Winfield-Hill has also had her best ever WBBL season, scoring 254 runs for Melbourne Stars with a best of 74 v Brisbane Heat.

England have named separate squads for the ODI and T20 series, with all of the contracted players except Tash Farrant (who is still in recovery from a stress fracture) named in at least one of the squads. The non-contracted Alice Davidson-Richards is included in the ODI squad only, alongside Tammy Beaumont, Kate Cross and Emma Lamb; while the T20 squad adds Katherine Brunt, Sarah Glenn and Issy Wong as well as Winfield-Hill.

The omission of Brunt from the ODI squad is perhaps the other big surprise, suggesting that having already retired from Tests she may be intending to focus exclusively on short-form cricket going forwards.

ODI Squad

Heather Knight (Western Storm)
Tammy Beaumont (Blaze)
Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)
Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
Kate Cross (Thunder)
Alice Davidson-Richards (South East Stars)
Freya Davies (South East Stars)
Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)
Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)
Emma Lamb (Thunder)
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

T20 Squad

Heather Knight (Western Storm)
Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)
Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
Freya Davies (South East Stars)
Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)
Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)
Issy Wong (Central Sparks)
Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

WBBL: Bowling Rankings – She Schutts She Scores

Megan Schutt produced a come-from-behind win after taking a record 6 wickets in the Strikers’ final match of the group stages versus Thunder, to top this year’s bowling rankings with 23 wickets at an Economy Rate of 6.40 – pipping Ash Gardner (23 wickets at 6.42) by just 2 hundredths of a run.

Schutt led a Striker-Force (!) which topped the overall bowling metrics for this year’s competition, with their five core bowlers (Schutt, Wellington, Barsby, Darcie Brown and Dottin) doing almost all the work, bowling 93% of the Strikers overs between them.

Bowling Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two 4/6 Wide 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Strikers 18 2.49 2.73 16 8 33 6.86 6.50 5.48
Scorchers 20 2.44 2.93 17 8 28 6.86 7.02 5.34
Hurricanes 22 2.79 2.42 20 8 35 6.26 7.21 6.21
Renegades 28 2.65 2.66 17 7 34 7.51 6.77 5.54
Sixers 18 2.65 2.82 14 7 36 7.68 7.20 6.87
Thunder 26 2.68 2.67 17 7 29 7.53 6.79 5.83
Heat 18 2.91 2.57 13 7 32 7.29 7.69 6.82
Stars 20 2.85 2.63 13 8 24 7.34 7.19 6.50

Undoubtedly the most surprising name in the Top 10 is that of Sasha Moloney – the 30-year-old journeyman transferred over to the Stars this season after spending her entire career with Tasmania/ Hobart, and had a golden six weeks in the Melbourne green. Initially bowling at first-change, she was then promoted to opening the bowling in the second half of the competition, finishing with 20 wickets at a better Economy Rate than either of the bowlers above her.

Amanda Jade Wellington came out on top in the battle of the Australian leg-spinners, taking 4 more wickets than Alana King; though King returned a significantly superior Economy Rate, which is likely what was influencing the Australian selectors when they picked the latter in their squad for the up-coming series against India.

Sophie Ecclestone, in her first WBBL season with the Sydney Sixers, was the highest ranked overseas bowler at 8, just ahead of Amelia Kerr at 9. Ecclestone’s success could be considered something of a personal triumph against the received wisdom amongst the Aussie commentariat that she struggles in Australia because her stock delivery is too quick to get any grip and turn on their fast, bouncy pitches – a view which misses the point that turn has never really been what Ecclestone is about anyway, and which we can hopefully put to bed now.

Player Played Wickets Economy
1. Megan Schutt (Strikers) 13 23 6.40
2. Ash Gardner (Sixers) 14 23 6.42
3. Sasha Moloney (Stars) 14 20 6.24
4. Amanda Jade Wellington (Strikers) 14 21 6.62
5. Molly Strano (Hurricanes) 14 18 5.76
6. Alana King (Scorchers) 14 17 5.91
7. Jess Jonassen (Heat) 14 20 7.02
8. Sophie Ecclestone (Sixers) 14 18 6.41
9. Amelia Kerr (Heat) 14 19 6.77
10. Jemma Barsby (Strikers) 14 16 5.86
11. Nicola Hancock (Heat) 14 22 8.38
12. Annabel Sutherland (Stars) 14 21 8.00
13. Lilly Mills (Scorchers) 14 15 6.81
14. Marizanne Kapp (Scorchers) 14 12 5.74
15. Lauren Cheatle (Sixers) 14 15 7.32
16. Sam Bates (Thunder) 14 12 6.02
17. Darcie Brown (Strikers) 14 13 6.59
18. Maisy Gibson (Hurricanes) 13 12 6.30
19. Kim Garth (Stars) 14 12 6.71
20. Lauren Smith (Thunder) 13 11 6.54
21. Sophie Day (Stars) 14 11 6.83
22. Nicola Carey (Hurricanes) 14 13 8.20
23. Shabnim Ismail (Renegades) 13 11 6.95
24. Maitlan Brown (Sixers) 8 12 7.81
25. Sophie Molineux (Renegades) 12 11 7.17
26. Sarah Coyte (Renegades) 13 10 7.20
27. Kate Peterson (Sixers) 12 10 7.29
28. Piepa Cleary (Scorchers) 14 11 8.03
29. Deandra Dottin (Strikers) 14 10 7.56
30. Alice Capsey (Stars) 14 9 6.98

Ranking = Wickets / Economy

NEWS: Bell, Capsey, Kemp, Dean, Lamb & Wong Earn First England Contracts

Six players – Lauren Bell, Alice Capsey, Charlie Dean, Freya Kemp, Emma Lamb and Issy Wong – have all earned their first England contracts in the biggest shake-up to the squad since professional contracts arrived in 2014.

Emma Lamb and Charlie Dean both made their debuts against New Zealand last September, with Lauren Bell and Issy Wong following in the Test versus South Africa this summer, whilst Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp were first called up for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In terms of those moving on, in addition to Fran Wilson and Anya Shrubsole who had already been released from last year’s squad after announcing their retirements, England have stepped down Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Georgia Elwiss and Katie George.

Of these four, only Winfield-Hill played for England in 2022, earning her final cap as a contracted player versus West Indies at the World Cup in March. Mady Villiers last played for England in a T20 v New Zealand in September 2021; Georgia Elwiss played in the Test against India at Bristol in June 2021, but hasn’t played a white-ball game since 2019; while Katie George was last capped in an ODI v New Zealand in July 2018.

All four will presumably step down to regional contracts (to be announced in due course), and having not formally retired there remains no reason why they couldn’t yet win further England caps down the line. Meanwhile the domestic setup will only be stronger for their presence, as the regions move closer towards full professionalism, with at least 80 players expected to be contracted to regional teams by next summer.

The full list of contracted players is below:

  • Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)
  • Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers)
  • Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
  • Alice Capsey (South East Stars)
  • Kate Cross (Thunder)
  • Freya Davies (South East Stars)
  • Charlie Dean (Southern Vipers)
  • Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
  • Tash Farrant (South East Stars)
  • Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
  • Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
  • Freya Kemp (Southern Vipers)
  • Heather Knight (Western Storm)
  • Emma Lamb (Thunder)
  • Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
  • Issy Wong (Central Sparks)
  • Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)