The Adelaide Strikers have been one of the most consistent sides in this year’s iteration of the WBBL. Star batter Katie Mack attributes the success of the team over the past few seasons, to the consistent playing list over an extended period of time.
Out of the previous eight seasons in the competition, the Strikers have reached the finals in half of those, with two years as runners-up (WBBL|05 and WBBL|07) before their maiden title last season.
Adelaide have been a consistent outfit in the last four seasons with head coach Luke Williams at the helm. Their consistency in the competition is due to the mix of domestic, international and Australian talent as well as the team being together for an extended number of seasons.
The capped Australians include pace ace Darcie Brown (three seasons), veteran Megan Schutt (nine seasons), spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington (eight seasons) and Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath (eight seasons).
Other notable additions that have stayed with the Strikers have been South Africa’s new captain Laura Wolvaardt who’s played for Adelaide for the past four seasons, as well as Bridget Patterson (inaugural Striker), Jemma Barsby (three seasons) and Mack herself (five years).
Speaking to the media on Monday, Mack confirmed that these are the reasons for their success in her opinion.
“They’ve worked really hard to keep the core group the same and that’s been really important,” Mack told the media.
“We’ve had the same team for the last three, four years with a couple of different internationals but I think that definitely helps.
“We know each other’s roles, we know how we play [and] it’s been building over the last couple of years and I think that’s the main thing that’s helped.
“Our Aussie players are obviously very good players and our internationals are good but our domestic players have shown that they can perform at that international level too.”
She spoke about their form across the season as a whole, stating that the team has made sure they play until the ‘last ball’.
“It’s a 14 game tournament and it’s only over six weeks [so there’s] a lot of travel, so I think we are not expecting to play every game to the best of our ability,” she said.
“We’ve had some close games where we haven’t played the best and still come out on top so I think that’s been the biggest thing for us is we’ve turned up each game [and] we’ve made sure until the last ball we are trying to win it no matter what.
“I think we’ve done that really well throughout the year and in a really tough year of travel and games.”
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Earlier this week Mack was selected in the Team of the Tournament for the first time in her career.
Becoming one of the key figures in their batting stocks since her move from the Melbourne Stars, she was rewarded for a career-best year.
“It’s always nice to get [selected in] the Team of the Tournament but ultimately it’s about how the team’s going so I’d much rather us go well and not make the team,” Mack continued.
“It’s nice that we are doing both, so going well and I make the team.
“I thought a few more of the Strikers girls would be in [the team] after such a good year we’ve had but it’s been a big team effort so they’ve probably been lost a little, they probably haven’t taken as many wickets as they deserve but nice to get a couple of us in there.”
The Strikers have been on a mission to ‘Overflow AO’ when the time comes on Saturday afternoon.
Hosting the Brisbane Heat after they successfully moved through to the final, Adelaide hope the Adelaide Oval is full of the right shade of blue.
“We’d obviously love to fill Adelaide Oval on Saturday, I know the girls are super proud to be from Adelaide and finally we are getting a home final there so to see [everyone] out coming to cheer us on, that would be amazing.”
Mack described her excitement at hosting a big crowd at the final encouraging Adelaide’s cricket-loving supporters to turn out. She also explained what it would mean to the Australian contingent for a big turn-out on their home ground.
“I’m one of them [that hasn’t played in front of a big crowd before so especially if we fill Adelaide Oval, it would be quite a surreal moment,” she said.
“Even for those girls that have played in front of hundreds of thousands, the Adelaide girls (Brown, Schutt, Wellington and McGrath), they’ve never won a major tournament in Adelaide.
“I think getting that home crowd for them will be just another experience, they’ve played in front of [big crowds] in India and all over the world [so] for them to get it in Adelaide, they’ve said that would be pretty special for them.”