Adelaide Strikers form batter Katie Mack will be hoping to continue her recent run when the team takes on the Brisbane Heat in The Eliminator on Wednesday evening.
At the back end of the regular season, Mack has been able to go on with her strong starts to become one of the most consistent and impressive batters in the competition. Her scores of 89*, 84*, 67* and 54* in recent matches have helped the Strikers to secure their place in the WBBL|07 finals.
Mack’s average of 60.85 runs for the regular season and strike rate of 118 have been well-above her WBBL career averages of 24.29 and 100.51.
This year she finished fourth in the Golden Bat standings (most runs) with a total of 426 runs from 12 innings, her most prolific season with the bat in the WBBL.
Teammate Tahlia McGrath even revealed she has earned a new nickname this season – Katie Whack – for her ability to smoke it to the boundary with her 426 runs including 51 fours.
Mack’s Player of the Match performances of 67* and 54* have come in wins against the Sixers and Heat respectively, however her two biggest innings for the season were in the sides’ recent losses to the Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars.
On Sunday, Mack was pushing towards her first century in the WBBL against the Stars, but starved of strike in the final two overs as Madeline Penna smashed her way to a half-century, she was left 11 runs short of the milestone.
Some small tweaks to technique and a whole lot of confidence have been behind Mack’s rise this season.
“A few little technique things, but they’re really simple, like keeping still and sort of my back lift being a bit straighter, but I think a lot of it is confidence,” she said.
“Something I also learnt last year was, I bat so much better when I go out and I play my shots, and so I try and take that in.
“Obviously there is that risk that you’ll get out, but it’s T20 cricket, it’s going to happen eventually.”
A steady position at the top for much of the WBBL season has also helped Mack, giving her confidence to go out and swing as an opener with Dané van Niekerk.
She has spent the last seven games of the season opening the batting for the Strikers. On four occasions in those seven matches, she scored half-centuries and finished the innings not out.
“I think I finished WBBL strong last year opening,” Mack said.
“And then the Strikers giving me the opportunity to start there (in WBBL|07), and sort of work my way through that, [it] has been really nice.”
Mack’s ‘favourite ground’
The Eliminator and Challenger Finals will be held at Adelaide Oval, after second placed side the Melbourne Renegades chose the venue as their ‘home’ ground for the Challenger.
Due to the short turnaround between these first two finals both will be held in the same location, which means the Heat will host the Strikers at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
The opportunity to play an ‘away’ final in front of their home crowd is something the Mack and the Strikers are incredibly excited for.
“It [Adelaide Oval] is my favourite ground, even before I joined the Strikers, it was my favourite ground to play at,” Mack shared ahead of the first final.
“It’s got a nice character about it, which some of the newer grounds I feel like have lost a little bit when they’ve expanded the stands and stuff, so it’s got a really nice feel with the scoreboard.
“The girls, they said they haven’t played here since 2018.
“It’s really nice to be back here and I think that’ll be a nice touch for our finals, and hopefully we can get a bit of a crowd here to help us get through the Eliminator and Challenger. Ultimately, them coming down to our games and getting involved has been amazing.”
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The structure of the WBBL season, with all matches condensed into 45 days, can be tiring mentally and physically.
Adelaide has already played back-to-back matches on the weekend and will need to back that up with a further three matches in four days to become Champions.
However, Mack said the excitement of the finals and what could happen over the next few days will give the girls the boost of energy they need to get the job done.
“I think adrenaline’s probably going to pull us all through.
“It’s going to be a big week, once we win these next two games and fly to Perth for the final, that’ll be five games in a matter of seven days.
“It’ll be a big week, but we’re excited.”
The Strikers will face Brisbane Heat at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 24 November, with first ball scheduled for 6.40pm local time.
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