Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Kia Super League 2017 is go.....

The second edition of the Kia Super Leagues T20 competition is ready to go.

KSL2 kicks off on Thursday 10th August with a rematch of last year's final between the Southern Vipers and the Western Storm at the Ageas Bowl. The competition was officially launched last night, although with many of the England players on a break and very few overseas players back in the UK it was a low-key affair.

Two internationals who were due to play have had to pull out through injury - Dane van Niekerk (Vipers) and Beth Mooney (Diamonds), but news has come in today that Mooney's replacement for Yorkshire will be Sri Lanka's Chamari Atapattu. This is great news for her and for Sri Lankan women's cricket.

Here are the full squad lists (15 players) and the possible starting XIs for each team, plus a look at their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Lancashire Thunder
Dani Hazell ©, Sarah Taylor, Kate Cross (England contracted)
Amy Satterthwaite, Jess Jonassen, Lea Tahuhu (Overseas)
Sophie Ecclestone, Emma Lamb, Eve Jones, Ellie Threlkeld (England Senior Academy)
Tash Miles, Natalie Brown, Alice Dyson, Rachel Dickinson, Ella Telford (County)
Likely Line-Up 
1. Lamb, 2. Jones, 3. Taylor, 4. Satterthwaite, 5. Jonassen, 6. Miles, 7. Threlkeld, 8. Cross, 9. Hazell, 10. Ecclestone 11. Tahuhu
Key Player
Sarah Taylor - More as a batsman than as a keeper (she may even give the gloves to Ellie Threlkeld on some occasions!). She has the ability to score runs quickly against any type of bowling attack.
They look like a very balanced side, and will be hoping their new overseas players (Jonassen and Tahuhu) contribute a bit more than Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews did last year.
Where will they finish?
2nd 1st

Loughborough Lightning
Georgia Elwiss ©, Amy Jones, Beth Langston (England contracted)
Ellyse Perry, Kristen Beams, Elyse Villani (Overseas)
Paige Scholfield, Thea Brookes, Georgie Boyce (England Senior Academy)
Becky Grundy, Sonia Odedra, Marie Kelly, Sarah Glenn, Lucy Higham, Abi Freeborn (County)
Likely Line-Up
1. Elwiss, 2, Villani, 3. Perry, 4. Jones, 5. Scholfield, 6. Boyce, 7. Brookes, 8. Odedra, 9. Grundy, 10. Langston, 11. Beams
Key Player
Ellyse Perry - She will be the glue for the Lightning batting, with others batting around her. Last year she only bowled 19 overs in six games. She may be needed to bowl a few more this year.
A lot will be expected from the top four batsmen, which may restrict the way they play. Rebecca Grundy had a good KSL last year and she may be the key to the bowling attack.
Where will they finish?

Southern Vipers
Charlotte Edwards ©
Tash Farrant, Danni Wyatt (England contracted)
Suzie Bates, Hayley Matthews, Mignon du Preez (Overseas)
Georgia Adams, Katie George, Linsey Smith, Ellen Burt (England Senior Academy)
Arran Brindle, Tara Norris, Izzy Collis, Carla Rudd, Charlie Dean (County)
Likely Line-Up
1. Bates, 2. Matthews, 3. Wyatt, 4. Edwards, 5. du Preez, 6. Brindle, 7. Adams, 8. Rudd, 9. Smith, 10. George, 11. Farrant
Key Player
Suzie Bates - She was the top run scorer and top wicket-taker for the Vipers last year and they will hope she can do the same this year.
Their other overseas players - They have lost Dane van Niekerk to injury, but Mignon du Preez has taken her place. She is not really a T20 specialist. Hayley Matthews has massive potential but is yet to show it to an English crowd.
Where will they finish?

Surrey Stars
Nat Sciver ©, Tammy Beaumont, Laura Marsh, Alex Hartley (England contracted)
Marizanne Kapp, Harmanpreet Kaur, Lizelle Lee, Rene Farrell (Overseas)
Bryony Smith, Sophia Dunkley (England Senior Academy)
Grace Gibbs, Aylish Cranstone, Cordelia Griffith, Hannah Jones, Naomi Dattani, Kirstie White (County)
Likely Line-Up
1. Beaumont, 2. Smith, 3. Sciver, 4. Lee, 5. Kapp, 6. Dunkley, 7. Griffith, 8. Marsh, 9. Cranstone, 10. Farrell, 11. Hartley
Key Player
Nat Sciver - Currently in sublime form with the bat, she could win a game on her own.
Not much changed from last year (Lee in for Tahuhu), where they only managed to win 2/5, but the England girls are in form. Lizelle Lee is a late replacement for Kaur, who played for the Storm last year and can hit big, on her day. Bowling might be a bit weak?
Where will they finish?
1st 3rd 2nd

Western Storm
Heather Knight ©, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson (England contracted)
Stafanie Taylor, Rachel Priest, Holly Huddleston (Overseas)
Freya Davies, Sophie Luff (England Senior Academy)
Georgia Hennessy, Jodie Dibble, Amara Carr, Alice Mcleod, Dani Gibson, Lauren Parfitt, Claire Thomas (County)
Likely Line-Up
1. Taylor, 2. Priest, 3. Knight, 4. Wilson, 5. Luff, 6. Hennessy, 7. Macleod, 8. Dibble, 9. Shrubsole, 10. Davies, 11. Huddleston
Key Player
Stafanie Taylor - Last year's player of the tournament for her 289 runs at an average of 57.8 and 11 wickets, the Storm will hope she is back in the same form this year.
Without Lizelle Lee back in the ranks the young middle order may need to show their mettle. Also now missing Shrubsole for at least the first two games, which are against last year's winner & semi-finalists.
Where will they finish?
3rd 2nd 3rd

Yorkshire Diamonds
Lauren Winfield ©, Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn (England contracted)
Sune Luus, Sophie Devine, Chamari Atapattu (Overseas)
Alice Davidson-Richards, Hollie Armitage (England Senior Academy)
Anna Nicholls, Katie Levick, Katie Thompson, Steph Butler, Laura Crofts, Teresa Graves, Maddie Walsh (County)
Likely Line-Up
1. Winfield, 2. Atapattu, 3. Devine, 4. Luus, 5. Davidson-Richards, 6. Brunt, 7. Gunn, 8. Butler, 9. Armitage, 10. Levick, 11. Crofts
Key Player
Sophie Devine - She has switched from Loughborough Lightning to the Diamonds this year and will be hoping that the move brings her more success in the KSL. Last year was disappointing with both bat and ball. Diamonds really need her to fire with both this year.
Losing Beth Mooney (keeper and opening bat) before even a ball has been bowled is far from ideal, but Chamari Atapattu is an interesting replacement. There could be some opportunities for some of the youngsters to shine, but it could be a tough KSL2 for them.
Where will they finish?

updated 08/VIII/17


  1. For the sake of cricket worldwide it is great to see Sri Lanka contributing a player (Chamari Atapattu) to franchise cricket. A thank you to Yorkshire Diamonds for signing her.

  2. Here are my (abridged) thoughts. A quick note first, you seem to be really flying the flag for the Thunder! There's no doubt they're much improved from last season but remember they finished bottom last time, and other squads have improved too. I generally agree with your other assessments but I'm not sure Diamonds will finish last, more like 4th or 5th. There will be less than 5 places between Thunder and Diamonds, the sides are closer matched than that. You seem to have forgotten that Diamonds have Armitage as well.

    Thunder: Thunder really look to be significantly stronger than last season and should offer a much bigger challenge for a top 3 finish. This is a good thing, as they finished bottom of the pile last time out. They are one of the more nicely balanced sides now, and have a good mixture of youth and experience.
    Prediction: 4th

    Lightning: After a solid showing in the first edition of KSL, in which they came third, Lightning 's squad for this year shows they remain a strong side, who could at their best put up a challenge for another appearance on finals day. However, they might not make it this time – the squad, whose England players didn't see much action in the world cup, hasn't been improved as much as some other teams.
    Prediction: 6th

    Vipers: Vipers are the defending champions and look to be strong contenders again this year. They should be able to reach finals day, the main concern appears to be the lack of specialist bowlers available if any of the all-rounders start to spray it around. If they do concede more runs though, their spruced-up batting line-up might well be able to make up for it.
    Prediction: 2nd

    Stars: Having just missed out to Lightning in qualification for last year's finals day, Stars will be looking to go one better this time around, and on paper it certainly appears that they have the squad for it. With some explosive batting and accurate wicket taking bowling available, Stars will be looking for a much improved performance this year, and should be serious contenders for the title.
    Prediction: 1st

    Storm: After losing out to Vipers in the final last time out, Storm will be looking to make it to finals day once again and go that extra step to the title. They certainly have a capable squad, with a strong mix of solid and aggressive batsmen and some serious bowling to contend with too. It would be unwise to discount them from the final reckoning.
    Prediction: 3rd

    Diamonds: After a disappointing first season, I'm hopeful that Diamonds will be much more competitive this year, and there's good reason to think that they will. Their squad is more in-form and potent this time out, with some of the strongest all-rounders in the league, and they are in with a decent shout of a qualification place if things go well.
    Prediction: 5th