WBBL: The Power Surge – Is It Working? A Look At The Numbers

Updated November 6th 2022

With over 20 games now in the bank, thanks to the ever-awesome cricsheet.org, we have the chance to look at how the new WBBL Power Surge is working out.

The Power Surge has come into the Women’s BBL for the first time this season, meaning a reduced powerplay (overs 1-4) and then a second two-over powerplay taken by the batting side sometime during the second half of the innings – the Power Surge.

Here are the average run rates for the games we have so far:

Phase Run Rate
Innings 7.0
Powerplay 5.7 (-1.3)
Power Surge 9.4 (+2.4)

As we can see, the initial powerplay is typically slower than the overall run rate, by more than half a run per over – this is normal in women’s short-form cricket (though The Hundred this year bucked that trend).

But the Power Surge shows an increase in the overall run rate, of two-and-a-half runs per over – ie. five runs overall.

However, these calculations do mask a difference between the first and second innings.

Here are the numbers for the first innings:

Phase Run Rate
Innings 7.2
Powerplay 5.7 (-1.5)
Power Surge 10.0 (+2.8)

So in the first innings, the increase is closer 3 runs per over – about five-and-a-half runs overall.

Meanwhile in the second innings:

Phase Run Rate
Innings 6.8
Powerplay 5.7 (-1.1)
Power Surge 8.8 (+2)

In the second innings, the Power Surge bonus is significantly smaller – just 2 runs per over, or four runs overall.

The Power Surge was imported from the Men’s BBL where the numbers are similar – an overall increase in the Run Rate of around 2.7 runs per over, or a little over five runs per innings. In both cases it is essentially one extra boundary per innings.

Can you really call that a “Surge”? I guess if you are in marketing you can call it anything, and I freely admit that “Power Blip” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but in terms of the numbers a “Power Blip” really is all it is.

The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 134

This week:

  • Lauren Winfield-Hill, Bess Heath & Alice Capsey shine like Stars in the WBBL
  • Is the WBBL under threat from other tournaments?
  • The dominance of bowlers in the Asia Cup
  • How to incentivise boards to properly invest in women’s cricket

NEWS: Cheshire Women’s League Season Roundup – Leigh Go From Bottom To Top in 12 Months!

At the end of another exciting season, almost 200 players and officials from league member clubs came together for the Presentation Evening, held at the Halton Stadium in Widnes on Saturday October 1, for a chance to reward the teams and individuals who have been successful this year.

This may have been the league’s highest scoring season to date, with as many as 13 centuries in the first division alone, made by batters from seven different clubs. Ellie Mason reached three figures on three occasions, despite only playing five matches, but the overall highest run scorer was Rachael Walsh, whose 580 runs took Leigh to their first league title. The top-flight’s leading wicket taker was Emily Page, who played a major role in Appleton’s second place finish.

Leigh won this year’s league championship after finishing bottom of division one in 2021, becoming the seventh different team to finish as leaders in the top division of the CWCL in the last decade. The period starting from 2012 – the last of Appleton’s three titles in a row – has seen only one occasion when a club has retained the first division title. It all adds up to a level of competitiveness and unpredictability that is the envy of every other English women’s club competition! Indeed, with Leigh having finished bottom of division one last year, and only reprieved from relegation due to an expansion of the top-flight, this could be the League’s Leicester City moment!

Furthermore, 10 different clubs took home a team trophy this year, with no club winning more than one prize. The closest fought division was undoubtedly Division 2, where Upton edged out Lindow by a single point, despite a second division record of 432 runs across the season from Heidi Cheadle. Along with Leigh’s Jaimie-Lee Strang, New South Wales 2nd XI captain Cheadle heralded a new era in the league this year as one of the first women’s overseas players to come to Cheshire specifically to play for a club team.

The players winning two individual trophies this year were Appleton’s Emma Barlow (as wicketkeeper in both Division 1 and T20 competitions), Jenny Wallace of Langley (best bowler and fielder in Division 4) and Stockport Trinity’s Emma Royle (leading wicket taker in T20 and also tied for most fielding dismissals in the short-form competitions). After winning the division 1 batting award on numerous occasions – albeit not this year – Barlow has certainly won more individual trophies than anyone else since the league’s awards ceremonies began back in 2007.

INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

 

  BATTING AWARD (most runs) BOWLING AWARD (most wickets) FIELDING AWARD (most catches and run outs as fielder) WICKETKEEPING AWARD (most catches and stumpings as ‘keeper)
DIVISION 1 Rachael Walsh (Leigh)

2nd Ellie Mason (Stockport Trinity)

Emily Page (Appleton)

2nd Ali Cutler (Chester BH)

Sophie Connor (Oakmere)

2nd Abbey Gore (Appleton)

Emma Barlow (Appleton)

2nd Jaimie-Lee Strang (Leigh)

DIVISION 2 Heidi Cheadle (Lindow)

2nd Lily Scudder (Upton)

Lily Scudder (Upton)

2nd Philippa Dagger (Upton) & Libby Ackerley (Lindow)

Rachel Warrenger (Hawarden Park)

3 players tied for 2nd

 

Ellen McGowan (Upton)

2nd Heidi Cheadle (Lindow)

 

DIVISION 3 WEST Flo Seymour (Nantwich 2nd XI)

2nd Gemma Rose (Chester BH 2nd XI)

Lucy McCarten (Chester BH) / Anna Bourne (Wistaston) Hannah Thorley (Chester BH)

7 players tied for 2nd

Alex Viggars (Porthill)

2nd Zoe Davies (Wistaston)

DIVISION 3 EAST Bethany Garforth (Greenfield)

2nd Helen Johnson (Didsbury 2nd XI)

Zoe Cuthill (Greenfield)

2nd Charlotte Peacock (Hayfield)

Charlotte Peacock (Hayfield)

2nd Jo Stephenson (Hawk Green)

Ruth Lomas (Hayfield) / Helen Johnson (Didsbury 2nd XI)
DIVISION 4 Carolyne Jones (Langley)

2nd Amy Shaw (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle)

Jenny Wallace (Langley)

2nd Charlotte Thompson &

Naz Hancioglu (both Lindow 2nd XI)

Jenny Wallace (Langley)

2nd Olivia Randles (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle) & Becky Scholes (Stockport Georgians 3rd XI / North East Cheshire)

Amy Shaw (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle)

2nd Kate Avery-Lofthouse (Stockport Georgians 3rd XI / North East Cheshire) & Emma Travis (Buxton)

T20 COMPETITIONS Ellie Mason (Stockport Trinity)

2nd Kate Harvey (Stockport Trinity)

Emma Royle (Stockport Trinity)

2nd Abi Lamidey (Stockport Trinity)

Nicole Fisher (Chester BH) / Emma Royle (Stockport Trinity) Emma Barlow (Appleton)

2nd Rosie Davis (Didsbury)

President’s Award (Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Cricket in Cheshire): Sarah McCann

TEAM TROPHY WINNERS

WINNERS RUNNERS-UP
Division 1 Leigh Appleton
Division 2 Upton Lindow
Division 3 West Porthill Park Northern Stars Chester Boughton Hall 2nd XI
Division 3 East Hayfield Greenfield
Division 4 Lindow 2nd XI Langley
Division 5 West Kingsley Alvanley
Division 5 East Macclesfield Treacle North East Cheshire
T20 Divisional Competition Appleton Tigers Stockport Trinity Fire
Senior Knockout Cup Nantwich Vipers Stockport Trinity Fire
Development Knockout Cup Greenfield Hayfield

More information on 2022 performances can be found in the Statistics document.

Alex Blake, who coached the Cheshire senior women between 2011 and 2014, was Master of Ceremonies for the event, which was once again superbly organised by Di Totty. Di chose Sarah McCann – league chair for more than a decade up until last year – as the recipient of the coveted President’s Award for an outstanding contribution to the sport in Cheshire.

The League was also delighted to welcome Laura MacLeod – currently director of West Midlands Women’s Cricket – as its special guest, and she presented the prizes to the winners and participated in a Q&A session with Alex, where she talked about her progression from grassroots cricket in Cheshire to an international career that included 13 Test matches, 73 ODIs and three IT20s. She spoke of the fact that women’s cricket can now be a career, but that sacrifices need to be made by those fortunate enough to make it to professional level. Laura also nominated an Ashes win in 2005 and her role in the first ever T20 international in 2004 as career highlights.

There was further recognition for a number of people connected with the League last Friday at the Lancashire and Cheshire Grassroots Cricket Awards and Lancashire Cricket Player of the Year Awards, where most of the league’s Officers were amongst the 750 attendees. At the event, held in Old Trafford’s The Point suite, Sarah McCann was again recognised for her 25-year commitment to the league and for the advances made during that time as she was the joint winner of Cheshire’s Growing The Game award. Long-time Alvanley CC stalwart Andy Bennion, now running the club’s women’s softball team, was the other recipient of this award. Stockport Georgians’ women’s manager Ray Bell scooped the Inspired To Play award, having also had a crucial role in the running of the league’s junior girls’ competitions in recent years.

RHF TROPHY FINAL: Diamonds v Vipers – Diamonds Are Forever

After 5 years of hurt, with Yorkshire finishing runners-up the last 3 editions of the old Women’s County Championship, and Diamonds losing the past two RHF Trophy finals, it was finally their turn on the biggest stage in English cricket – Diamonds beating Vipers by 2 runs to lift the RHF Trophy.

Batting first, Diamonds got off to a solid start. Lauren Winfield-Hill has been batting at a strike rate of over 90 all season in the competition, but Lord’s is different and finals are different, and she understood that, making her way to 65 off 87 balls, at a strike rate of 75; with Linsey Smith doing a good job keeping her company for 19 overs for the first wicket.

At 114-1 at the end of the 28th over, Diamonds were sitting pretty; but the next 3 overs saw Vipers come back into it, as Diamonds lost 4-6 collapsing to 120-5.

That could have been the end of the game – Diamonds would probably have taken 175 at that point, which Vipers would have chased easily; but Bess Heath and Leah Dobson turned things around. Both started slowly and patiently, sussing out the wicket – at the 40-over mark, Heath was on 13 at a strike rate of 36, and Dobson on 12 at a strike rate of 48. But then the foot went down, pushing Diamonds on past 175… past 200… to 215.

Post 40-overs, Dobson hit 22 off 25 balls, at a strike rate of 88, while Heath smashed (at least by the standards of the day) 31 off 24, at a strike rate of 129, as Diamonds nailed the big finish they needed.

Ironically for a 50-over game, there was rarely a better illustration of The Hundred’s mantra of “Every Ball Matters” as Dobson ran two singles off the last 2 balls (a sacrifice allowing her to get back on strike for the final delivery) which turned out to be the exact margin of victory.

In reply, Vipers were tied down by Linsey Smith, who did exactly what she has been doing all season with the ball, taking 1-8 in an initial 6-over spell in the powerplay. From 18-2 at the end of the powerplay, Maia Bouchier and Georgia Adams progressed to 98-2 at the half-way mark. Both seemed comfortable, but neither looked commanding, almost as if they were fighting over the anchor role. With the pair having played out two consecutive maidens, Bouchier attempted to break the shackles by slog-sweeping Holly Armitage – absolutely middling it with the kind force a Jedi would have been proud of… straight to Linsey Smith on the ring.

Vipers still had batting to come – Emily Windsor, Charlie Dean and Paige Scholfield can all wield a blade. In this fixture last year, it was Windsor and Tara Norris (down to come in at 8) who had closed out the game for Vipers, but the difference today was that they needed to do a bit more than “close out the game”. It was only “a bit” more – they didn’t need anyone to lead a cavalry charge – but requiring 29 off 24, they did need someone capable of taking one big over from the final 4.

Diamonds meanwhile had gambled on saving their two best bowlers – Smith and Katie Levick – for those last 4 overs. The temptation is always there to bowl someone out when they are going well, but Diamonds captain Armitage held her nerve by saving 2 overs apiece from Smith and Levick, and they repaid her by holding their nerves to close out the game.

It was a well-deserved win for Diamonds – after all those years finishing second, it finally all fell into place this season, with a strong core of domestic players (Levick, Smith, Heath and Armitage) some promising young guns (fast bowler Lizzie Scott and spinner Emma Marlow, who both did their bit today) and of course Lauren Winfield-Hill, who now has both the big domestic trophies (the Hundred and the RHF) on her mantlepiece, having played a key role in the acquisition of both this summer.

Top-level sport has a cruelty all of its own, and Lauren Winfield-Hill knows that better than anyone. A place in the England XI is always ephemeral – but those trophies… like diamonds… are forever.

RHF TROPHY STATS: Batting & Bowling Metrics Point To Diamonds Final Win

Whatever happens in the RHF Trophy final at Lord’s today, there is little doubt that Diamonds have been the best team this year, and on form ought to overturn their 5-year-long run of finishing runners-up in the Women’s County Championship (2017-19 as Yorkshire) and RHF Trophy (2020-21).

Diamonds finished top of both the batting and bowling metrics, calculated across all of the group-stage matches.

Batting

Batting Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two 4/6 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Diamonds 43 1.93 3.46 18 12 5.33 5.10 5.38
Stars 33 1.87 3.60 20 11 5.25 4.55 5.65
Vipers 38 1.98 3.30 20 12 5.30 4.98 4.15
Storm 34 1.79 3.93 24 12 5.10 4.88 4.18
Lightning 31 1.79 3.75 22 13 4.33 4.84 4.48
Thunder 36 1.83 3.52 20 15 4.69 3.65 4.45
Sunrisers 30 1.78 3.76 20 15 5.08 4.33 4.20
Sparks 34 1.74 4.05 23 15 4.53 4.24 3.97
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org

The two leading run-scorers in the competition were both Diamonds – Lauren Winfield-Hill (405 runs) and Holly Armitage (329 runs) – and furthermore both scored their runs at a strike rate of over 90. (The average strike rate for the 10 batters scoring more than 200 runs in the competition’s group stages was 83.) With Winfield-Hill opening and Armitage coming in at 3 (but invariably an early 3, because Linsey Smith has struggled opening the batting alongside Winfield-Hill) the Diamonds have typically given themselves a huge platform for Bess Heath (179 runs at 95) to then come in later and pile-on even more runs with the freedom to play her natural hitting game.

Bowling

Bowling Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two 4/6 Wide 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Diamonds 36 1.76 3.88 20 15 27 4.39 4.59 4.40
Sparks 33 1.87 3.46 18 14 32 5.00 4.69 4.04
Vipers 35 1.94 3.06 22 16 28 4.36 4.88 4.45
Stars 31 1.86 3.47 35 13 21 6.12 4.39 4.43
Thunder 40 1.71 4.54 19 11 31 4.21 4.98 4.75
Lightning 37 1.83 3.72 19 12 31 5.34 4.00 4.50
Sunrisers 38 1.82 3.71 23 12 24 4.81 5.24 4.92
Storm 45 1.92 3.68 17 11 24 5.28 4.88 4.97
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org

The leading wicket-taker in the tournament was Grace Scrivens (who was also the 3rd-highest run-scorer) but there were three Diamonds players in the Top 10* wicket-takers: Linsey Smith (11), Katie Levick (10) and Holly Armitage (9). Linsey Smith in particular also complemented her wickets by being one of the most economical bowlers in the competition – of the bowlers to send down more than 20 overs, she returned the second-best economy rate of 3.57 per over, bettered only by Scrivens 3.23.

(*Top 10… ish – Armitage  was one of 6 players in joint-tenth on 9 wickets.)

ENGLAND v INDIA: 3rd ODI – Mankad!

It was a record-breaking day for women’s sport in North London – over at the Emirates stadium in Highbury 47,000 watched Arsenal smash their local rivals Tottenham 4-0 in the Women’s Super League; whilst here in St John’s Wood 15,000 were at Lord’s to see England nearly pull off a miracle in the 3rd and final ODI versus India.

It was a hard-fought game of cricket, with some fantastic bowling from players on both sides, but it will really only be remembered for one thing: the mankad which ended the match.

My view is that it was within the rules, and should have been given out. Although the law as it currently stands is intended to prevent “fake bowling” the wording is simply that the batter must be out of her crease at the moment the ball would have been bowled, and Charlie Dean was (just) out of her crease when Deepti Sharma mankaded her.

But I think it was a terrible moment for Charlie Dean… a terrible moment of cricket… and actually a terrible moment for Deepti.

Let’s begin with the last of those. Deepti has probably severely damaged what’s left of her career. In the short term, who of the England players will want to play franchise cricket with her ever again now? In the longer term, that moment will follow her everywhere – it will be the only thing anyone ever talks about. And I can’t believe for one moment that’s what she’d want her legacy to be – an underhand piece of gamesmanship in a match which in the greater scheme of things really didn’t matter, as India had already won the series, and almost certainly will finish the ICC Championship qualifying easily, with or without those 2 points.

It won India the game, but in Jhulan Goswami’s last ever match, where she’d been given an unprecedented guard of honour onto the field by the England players, it finished with her being booed off the ground at the end. That’s what she’ll remember from her last ever international. What a pity.

Of course, many are defending the mankad, because it was “within the laws” but actually that doesn’t make it the right way to win a cricket match. After all… bodyline was “within the laws”.

I always liked football blogger Arseblog’s take on this kind of thing: If it was done to your team, how would you feel? I think it is pretty safe to say that most India fans would have been up in arms if England had done it to Smriti earlier in the day, for example.

The issue I have with the mankad is that it isn’t skill, or even luck – it is pure trickery and gamespanship. Deepti has form on pushing the laws like this – she frequently pulls out of her bowling action at the very last moment. The bowler is permitted to do this when they are distracted, or the batter moves; but Deepti does it to try to gain an unfair psychological advantage by unsettling the batter. The mankad at Lord’s was from the same playbook – it was (just-about) not “fake bowling” – I’m not accusing her of that – but it was as close to that line as it is possible to get.

I’ve also seen a few ex-players defend Deepti, effectively saying it was moral because it was within the laws which is particularly interesting, because they don’t actually believe this. If they did, they’d have executed tens of mankads in their careers, but they didn’t… because they knew at the time it was an underhand tactic and not the right way to play.

I do accept that there needs to be some sanction for the non-striker stealing ground, but the loss of the wicket is too harsh and too controversial a penalty, because there is no skill involved. Perhaps the answer is to write the warning, which is traditionally said to be given, into the laws – so the first time the batter is not out, but the umpire notes a “tick” (as they do for bouncers) and then a second dismissal is actually out?

The real pity is that it overshadowed some brilliant bowling performances from both sides. Kate Cross has returned better figures including two ODI 5fers, but she has rarely (if ever) bowled better – making use of the slope at Lord’s to move the ball with wonderful control, making mincemeat of some of the world’s best batters in the process, taking two wickets bowled and one LBW with that movement. (Though the wicket that got Smriti was a bit of a bonus – probably the worst ball Cross  bowled in the entire series – and Smriti’s reaction was priceless: you could see her thinking “Can I review that on the grounds that such a terrible ball didn’t deserve a wicket?!?!”)

Renuka Singh also bowled a high-class spell, and looks to have come-good at just the perfect time for India, with the retirement of Jhulan. She might not be the quickest, but speed isn’t everything – just look over to James Anderson in the men’s game, who Renuka reminds me of a little.

But the best ball of the day was from the spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad to Danni Wyatt – it turned exquisitely, just enough to beat the bat, but not too much to beat the off stump – the second time in the series Wyatt has been dismissed by an absolutely unplayable delivery.

But no one will remember any of this.

They’ll just remember the mankad.