Sport WBBL06: Why each team has a shot of winning the Women's Big Bash title

04:55  25 november  2020
04:55  25 november  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The Women ' s Big Bash League (WBBL) is the Australian women ' s domestic Twenty20 cricket competition. The WBBL replaced the Australian Women ' s Twenty20 Cup

The Women ’ s Big Bash League, or WBBL, is the premier The WBBL is contested between the same eight franchises which comprise the men’ s Big Bash League: the Each club can sign a squad of 15 players, including five current or recent Southern Stars and up to three other international players.

The Melbourne Stars are resounding favourites going into the WBBL finals series after a stellar season, but the Brisbane Heat, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder all have what it takes to claim the sixth edition of the competition.

The race to take out the sixth edition of the Women's Big Bash is down to four in the most unique version of the tournament we've ever seen.

Teams have been forced to stay in a hub at the Novotel at Sydney Olympic Park. While they're certainly world-class facilities, it's clear the isolation from their friends and family have taken a toll on a lot of the players.

Add the condensed schedule with regular back-to-back days of cricket and it has arguably been the most difficult WBBL to date.

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Fixtures for the sixth edition of the Women ' s Big Bash League, being held in Sydney. *Selected games (indicated with an asterisk and bold type) will have commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport website and app.

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MORE: WBBL06: Sporting News' Team of the Season after the home and away fixtures

That's why whoever lifts the trophy this season will have certainly earned the right to.

Here's why each team can win the title.


Ladder Position: 1st

There's no doubt the Melbourne Stars have been the form team of the competition.

The recruitment of Australian captain Meg Lanning has given the side a big boost and their batting has certainly been their strength in WBBL06.

They've had four players average above 30 for the competition. Lanning, Ellyse Villani, Mignon Du Preez and Nat Sciver. No other team had that many.

As a team, they averaged 146.4 with the bat. That includes their 2/93 when they chased down the Hurricanes' small total. Remove that figure and the average goes up to 151.3.

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Women cricketers will strike out on their own for the first time when the new domestic Twenty20 The fifth iteration of the Women ’ s Big Bash League begins this weekend and with the standard of the With each season of the WBBL there is a crop of new talent waiting in the wings, ready to push

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They're also the only team to score over 170 this season on multiple occasions (9/177 v Heat and 4/178 v Sixers).

The Stars take on the Scorchers in the semi-final, the team that probably presents the most dangerous match-up with Sophie Devine and Beth Mooney at the top of the order.

Sciver will be key with the ball, the competition's joint leading wicket-taker has got 18 to her name this season and has bowled the most overs for the Stars in WBBL06.

Look for Lanning to throw her the ball at crucial stages in the second half of the Scorchers innings if Perth start to get a roll-on.

But the key for the Stars is likely to be bat first and go big. If they can do that and put pressure on Devine and Mooney at the top, they should book their place in Saturday's final.


Key all-rounder Nat Sciver believes that the Stars will have their work cut out for them trying to restrict the opening partnership of Devine and Mooney.

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While it doesn't assure victory, she's confident if her side can keep them quiet, they should book a place in the WBBL final for the first time.

"They (Mooney and Devine) have been crucial for the Scorchers during the season so far," Sciver said.

"We know that they are big wickets but obviously they've got other girls in their line-up.

"It's not only about the opening pair but they are quite crucial wickets."

With an array of internationals in their side, Sciver is "confident" that the experience of the likes of Lanning, Du Preez and others will get them over the line.


Ladder Position: 2nd

The Heat are looking for their third-straight title and are coming into the finals on the back of an incredible seven-win streak.

After languishing near the bottom of the ladder early on, they've bounced back to be serious contenders in WBBL06.

One of the key reasons for this resurgence has been the form of Laura Kimmince coming in down the order to lift the scoring rate.

Kimmince has only scored 140 runs this tournament, but she has a strike rate over 200 and has helped propel the Heat from good scores to great scores on multiple occasions.

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No other player in the competition has a higher strike rate than Kimmince.

Then at the other end of the spectrum, Kiwi leg-spinner Amelia Kerr has been extremely economical with ball in hand, taking plenty of wickets along the way.

Kerr has only gone for 5.37 runs an over this tournament with opposition batters unable to get the crafty spinner away.

The key for the Heat will be limiting the Thunder to a <120 score and they should be confident of chasing down the total.


Key bowler Delissa Kimmince believes the hard lessons the Heat learned early in the tournament have them set for a strong push towards making a third-successive WBBL final.

"I think we knew we were still playing pretty good cricket, we probably just weren't winning the one or two overs in T20 cricket that can win you those games," Kimmince said.

"We were just falling short by one big over or letting one big over slide in the bowling innings.

"But apart from that, we knew were on the right track, we knew our plans were right, we just had to keep backing ourselves and that's what we've done the last seven games.

"The most pleasing part is we're not relying on one or two people to win us games, we're a squad of 14 plus a few extras that are here.

"People wrote us off before we came here, they were worried about the people we lost along the way.

"If we can come out and show we're not about two players, that would be a great statement."

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Ladder Position: 3rd

The Sydney Thunder have been somewhat of a surprise packet in WBBL06, sneaking their way into third position. But now they're here, they certainly are prepared to do a lot of damage.

Led by the impressive Heather Knight, the Thunder will take on the Heat as they look for their second WBBL title after the first season of the competition.

Concerningly for the Thunder, they have only passed 150 once this season. As a result, they've had to rely on their bowlers to restrict the opposition and that's certainly been their modus operandi in 2020.

Sammy-Jo Johnson has been excellent in her first season with the Thunder, leading the comp with 18 wickets at an average of 16.72.

The Thunder have only used seven bowlers for the entire tournament, the least of any side. So that has provided them with plenty of stability throughout the season.

It has also allowed Hannah Darlington to emerge as a genuine wicket-taking option, 15 wickets at an average of 15.06.

Throw in Sam Bates and Shabnim Ismail who have also hit the double digits in terms of wickets taken and it is a lethal bowling attack that can do plenty of damage.

Ideally, they'll want to be bowling first and restrict the Heat to a low score but they'll have full confidence in their bowlers regardless of what happens at the toss.


Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper Tahlia Wilson believes her side's consistency will be key as they head into the semi-final match up against the Heat.

"I think it comes down to our overall consistency," Wilson said.

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"I think this year we've done really well in recruiting some very good internationals, Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont have done a great job at the top of the order.

"We've had a well-rounded season.

"When we're playing our best cricket we're definitely playing a fearless brand of cricket.

"I think everyone goes out there knowing everyone behind them is definitely backing them.

"If we can stick to our plans, hopefully, we'll be able to execute on the night.

"I don't think there's one key factor [to beating Brisbane]. Overall, consistency is going to be key."


Ladder Position: 4th

The Scorchers were the team everyone was talking about going into WBBL06 after the marquee signings of Beth Mooney and Sophie Devine.

And it's certainly been the Mooney-Devine show for Perth, they've been completely dominant at the top of the order.

Mooney leads the competition in terms of runs scored, while her and Devine are the only two players to average above 50 this season.

Throw in their two 100-run opening partnerships and it's a daunting task for the Stars bowlers if the pair are able to get going early, especially with the small confines of North Sydney Oval.

The obvious concern is if Mooney or Devine are dismissed early. The player with the next best average is Mathilda Carmichael with 22.66 and the numbers get worse with every other teammate averaging lower than 15.

But the surprise influence for the Scorchers has been bowlers Sarah Glenn and Taneale Peschel. They have taken a combined 29 wickets at around six an over. A fantastic economy rate.

If Devine returns to the bowling line-up as we expect her to in the semi-finals, look for those three to play a pivotal role in trying to stop the Stars' red-hot top order.

Ideally for the Scorchers, they'll want to bat first and build a strong platform off the back of Devine and Mooney who love playing at North Sydney Oval.

If they can get a total of 160+, they're a strong chance of knocking over the Melbourne Stars.


Explosive opening batter Beth Mooney is excited by the opportunity to bat again with Sophie Devine against the Stars on Wednesday night.

She admits that "not a lot" of work went into the partnership but it just clicked naturally.

But Mooney also knows bowlers like Glenn and Peschel will play a crucial role if they want to book their place in the final.

"There's been a few conversations between Soph and I but it's been a sense of familiarity in terms of playing cricket with each other, it feels like we've played with each other for years," Mooney said.

"I'm not sure that's something you can learn along the way, but it's something that just happens.

"Soph and I are quite similar personalities.

"I think it's about the fact we can be really honest with each other when we're out there and hold no prisoners with what we're trying to do.

"I hadn't seen a lot of Sarah Glenn...or Taneale Peschel either.

"For them to come out and bowl the tough overs in the powerplay and the back end and do as well as they have has been really impressive for our group.

"I've got no doubt they'll do exactly the same job as they've done throughout this tournament tomorrow night (Wednesday) and put the Stars under a lot of pressure early."

You can catch all the WBBL finals action LIVE on Kayo Sports.

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