Monday, 21 December 2015

WBBL - Half-term Report

With 25 of the 56 WBBL league games played it seemed the right time to review how the teams, their players, and, in particular, the England players have been getting on.

The teams & their players
[current WBBL table is here]
Against all the odds the Hobart Hurricanes (6 wins/1 loss) are the league leaders with six wins out of seven, having only lost to the Scorchers. They were the bookies outsiders when the tournament started, presumably based on the premise that they were the Tasmanian Roar in purple, and the Roar had lost all their WNCL games. But England vice-captain Heather Knight has led her team from the front and they have won a few tight games with some great bowling and fielding.
Keep up the good work.

Also sitting on 12 points at the top of the table are the Brisbane Heat (6/4), but they have played three more games than the Hurricanes. They lost their first three, but then won their next five games, before tripping up against the then-winless Renegades. The Heat look a good "team" with various players standing up to be counted when needed - Grace Harris (including a century), Beth Mooney (four 50s), a re-invigorated Holly Ferling (12 wickets), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince (with the ball if not the bat).
Great team effort. You are all working together well.

Meg Lanning's Melbourne Stars (4/1) won their first four games, with Lanning looking unstoppable with the bat. To describe a team as "belonging" to any one individual can be rather disingenuous, but in this case it is wholly appropriate. When Lanning finally failed (20), so did the Stars, losing to the Hurricanes. The question is how often can she carry the Stars batting, and, if she can get them to the semi-final and then perhaps the final, can she continue to do it?
Some of you need to take on more responsibility. Don't leave it all for others to do.

The Sydney Thunder (3/2) won their first three games, but lost their last two to the winless Strikers (courtesy of a blistering 71 off 47 balls from Sarah Taylor) and the Heat. Stafanie Taylor and Alex Blackwell are carrying their batting.
Need to buck your ideas up if you are not to slip to the bottom of the pile.

Just about everyone's favourites before the tournament started (not mine I hasten to add), the Perth Scorchers (3/3), have largely failed to deliver. They beat the Heat and the Sixers early on, but have lost subsequently to the Heat, the Hurricanes and even the Sixers. Their big guns have really not fired with the exception of Suzie Bates, but she is now being replaced by Deandra Dottin.
Need to knuckle down and get on with the job in hand or your goose may be cooked.

The Adelaide Strikers (1/4) were also firm favourites to do well, based as they are around the successful South Australia Scorpions, and with English-import Sarah Taylor in their midst. Taylor finally turned on the style against the Thunder to get the Strikers first two points on the board.
Expect much more from you than we are currently seeing. Too much chatter and not enough action.

The Melbourne Renegades (1/4) also recorded their first win last weekend against the high-flying Heat. A surfeit of spinners doesn't seem to be doing the job for them and none of their batsmen have reached 50 yet in five games. Could be a long T20 campaign for them.
You are obviously trying hard. Keep working at it. Winning isn't everything.

Bottom of the pile, and likely to stay there, are the Sydney Sixers (1/6). They had been abject until they finally beat the Scorchers last weekend. They didn't just lose their first six games, they got marmelised (four times by 9 wickets!). In seven games they have only taken 17 wickets and their batting looks feeble, despite Ellyse Perry doing her best to shore it up.
Best to write off this year and look to come back bigger, better and stronger next year.

The English Players

There are nine current England players out in Oz for the WBBL and these are their numbers to date.

Batting Stats

Bowling Stats

Heather Knight has probably been the most consistent, with both bat and ball, and Sarah Taylor finally produced an innings of quality against the Thunder. Consistency has never been her strong point. Lauren Winfield has been batting in the middle order for the Heat, hence four not out innings, which keeps her average high. Her 48* was a crucial knock in the win over the Scorchers. More worrying has been the batting form of Charlotte Edwards (Scorchers), Nat Sciver (Stars) and Danni Wyatt (Renegades). After a decent start Sciver has struggled in her last few games. Edwards has never really got going and has three single-figure scores in her last three knocks. Wyatt's best knock of 28* was in the Renegades last game. One can only hope she can continue on an upward curve.

As for the bowlers, behind Knight, it has been rather mundane so far. Katherine Brunt burst on the WBBL with 4/17 in her first game, but has only taken two wickets in four games since. She has been miserly however. Danni Wyatt  picked up four wickets in the Renegades only win and has been tight, going at only just over five per over. Laura Marsh has had a couple of good games with the ball, but has only bowled her full compliment of four overs once. Both Kate Cross and Nat Sciver have been expensive in claiming seven wickets each. It has to be said that T20 is a notoriously difficult gig for the bowlers, particularly those who bowl in the first six powerplay overs. The England girls have actually done OK without setting the WBBL on fire. Compare the England girls stats with Ellyse Perry who has just three wickets for 145 runs from 21 overs at an economy rate of nearly 7 per over.

The WBBL continues on Boxing Day when the Stars take on the Scorchers. It is the start of a brutal period for the Scorchers as they play six games in seven days. If there is one gripe about the WBBL it must be the rather haphazard scheduling. Perhaps 56 is too many games?



  1. The good thing about each team playing 14 matches is that a few defeats doesn't screw your season. With 4 teams to qualify for the semis there is still lots of interest for all of the teams - even the Sixers could still qualify if they get a winning streak together.
    If you want to gain interest you've got to have this number of matches coming quick-fire one after another. T20 needs to be all action both on and off the field - and my biggest concern about the proposed WSL is whether it is capable of replicating this intensity.
    Hats off to Cricket OZ and the teams for creating brands and really marketing the product. They've set the bar really high (good news in one sense for Clare Connor because it proves its possible but also a concern if the WSL falls short).

  2. I think the WBBL has been great and I've enjoyed both games shown on Sky Sports here in NZ - but I agree about the scheduling. At one stage the Brisbane Heat had played 6 games while one of the teams had only played 1 - now the Heat has played 10 while four teams have only played 5. Stafanie Taylor of WI and the Sydney Thunder has already called for double-headers - two games in one day for the same team - to be scrapped.

    It would be very interesting to read an article exploring why the games were scheduled in this way and whether there are plans to make the schedule more equitable in WBBL02. Is the glut of games each weekend partly to allow the players to keep up their non-cricket commitments during the week?

    Having said that, I agree with the commenter above that T20 matches need to come in close succession - it's one reason the men's BBL has worked so well, whereas the every-Friday approach in the UK hasn't.

  3. Yes just caught up on this - Edwards is now doing much better with scores of 61*, 61 and 88* all in double-quick time in the last 4 games, meaning her average is now (as of 30 Dec) according to my calculations 44.4 with SR of 107! Big improvement.

  4. None of the Perth Scorchers' English players had a match to write home about in today's televised game, but for the victorious Adelaide Strikers, Sarah Taylor top-scored and then made 3 stumpings, the last of which was absolutely superb.

    For me, though, the outstanding performer was Adelaide's 18-year-old leggie Amanda Wellington. No darting the ball in for her - she bowled with great flight and got prodigious turn and bounce - Charlotte Edwards, stumped by Sarah Taylor, being among her three wickets as Adelaide easily defended 135.

    The crowd for this first game of a WBBL/BBL double-header was excellent too - good at the start of the game, then reported as 4,500 by 6 overs into the second innings, and 10,000 by the time the last Perth wicket fell. The scheduled gap between the women's and men's games was reduced from 2 hours to 90 minutes, which seems like a very worthwhile move.