The WBBL reaches its final stages this week with the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday at the Adelaide Oval and the MCG, and the final on Sunday at a venue to be decided by who hosts the men's final. All the games are being played as double-headers with the men's BBL, and all are being televised live in Australia (there will be highlights of the semi-finals in England on Sky and the final will be live).
In the first semi-final table-toppers Sydney Thunder take on fourth place Perth Scorchers. In the second semi second-placed Hobart Hurricanes take on third-placed Sydney Sixers. Who will win these matches, or indeed the final, is anyone's guess. Two weeks ago you could have got 200/1 against the Sydney Sixers winning the tournament. They are now the 2/1 favourites!
The bookies think it will be a Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers final.
I think the experience of the Perth Scorchers should get them through against the young Thunder team, in what will be a big match, in front of a big audience. The Sixers won their last eight games to squeeze into the semi-finals as others (Melbourne Stars, Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers) blew their chances.
The Hurricanes have surprised everyone, but under the cool leadership of Heather Knight, they have exceeded even their own expectations and won several very tight games. However they have lost twice already to the Sixers in the last few days, the last one off the last ball as Sara McGlashan took the 14 runs required off Knight's last over. There is no reason to doubt that this game will be just as tight.
No matter who wins the semi-finals and ultimately the final, the tournament has to be seen as a watershed moment in women's cricket, with a realisation that if it is televised with the same professionalism as the men's game, then it has an audience. Cricket Australia have to be commended for realising this is the case and effectively paying for the initial coverage in Australia, coverage which has proved so successful it has now been switched to a more popular channel, and now includes live coverage of the semi-finals, which were originally not going to be televised at all and which were going to be played on smaller grounds.
Fingers crossed for three more great games of women's T20 cricket!