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
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org

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
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org

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)