15/04/2024

The Sydney Sixers have started WBBL|08 in fine fashion, winning each of their opening three games. (Photo: @SixersBBL)

The start of WBBL|08 delivered plenty of highlights, with big-hitting, skillful bowling, and classic catches all featuring prominently. 

The Inner Sanctum recaps all the results and the biggest talking points of the opening round of WBBL|08. 

Round 1 Results:

Sydney Sixers (6-143) defeated the Brisbane Heat (8-141)

Sixers: Ellyse Perry 55, Erin Burns 50, Maitlan Brown 3-20, Ellyse Perry 2-27

Heat: Georgia Redmayne 49, Georgia Voll 32, Jess Kerr 2-17, Jess Jonassen 2-21

Hobart Hurricanes (5-125) defeated the Sydney Thunder (9-106)

Hurricanes: Mignon du Preez 33, Rachel Trenaman 31, Heather Graham 3-15, Molly Strano 3-18 

Thunder: Tahlia Wilson 26, Phoebe Litchfield 25, Chloe Tryon 2-14, Sam Bates 2-16

Sydney Sixers (2-151) defeated the Adelaide Strikers (9-134)

Sixers: Suzie Bates 82*, Ellyse Perry 58, Sophie Ecclestone 4-17, Ashleigh Gardner 1-26

Strikers: Katie Mack 34, Deandra Dottin 25, Darcie Brown 1-20, Megan Schutt 1-25

Brisbane Heat (3-179) defeated the Melbourne Stars (8-170)

Heat: Ellie Johnston 54, Georgia Voll 40, Jess Jonassen 3-36, Amelia Kerr 2-33

Stars: Lauren Winfield-Hill 74, Annabel Sutherland 45, Sasha Moloney 1-19, Sophie Day 1-19

Melbourne Renegades (6-128) defeated the Adelaide Strikers (7-126)

Renegades: Sophie Molineux 32, Josephine Dooley 29, Sophie Molineux 4-23, Shabnim Ismail 2-30

Strikers: Madeline Penna 36, Tahlia McGrath 35, Megan Schutt 2-23, Amanda-Jade Wellington 2-26

Sydney Sixers (6-147) defeated the Melbourne Stars (9-120)

Sixers: Alyssa Healy 43, Ellyse Perry 28, Maitlan Brown 3-25, Ashleigh Gardner 2-19

Stars: Bess Heath 37, Nicole Faltum 24, Kim Garth 2-21, Annabel Sutherland 2-30

Perth Scorchers (1-89) defeated the Sydney Thunder (8-88)

Scorchers: Sophie Devine 44*, Beth Mooney 19, Lilly Mills 2-12, Marizanne Kapp 2-15 

Thunder: Tahlia Wilson 28, Anika Learoyd 26, Chloe Tryon 1-8

Perth Scorchers (2-110) defeated the Hobart Hurricanes (9-109)

Scorchers: Beth Mooney 38*, Maddy Green 32*, Taneale Peschel 3-13, Alana King 3-15

Hurricanes: Heather Graham 35, Nicola Carey 12, Ruth Johnston 1-13, Molly Strano 1-16 

Brisbane Heat (1-180) defeated the Melbourne Renegades (6-159)

Heat: Georgia Redmayne 98*, Grace Harris 65, Amelia Kerr 2-27, Jess Kerr 1-24

Renegades: Hayley Matthews 35, Carly Leeson 34*, Shabnim Ismail 1-31

Hobart Hurricanes (7-144) defeated the Sydney Thunder (95)

Hurricanes: Lizelle Lee 41, Ruth Johnson 27, Hayley Jensen 2-13, Heather Graham 2-13

Thunder: Phoebe Litchfield 28, Olivia Porter 17, Sammy Jo-Johnson 3-34, Lauren Smith 1-17

More Cricket News:

ICC T20 World Cup: Hobart return a ‘special’ moment for Ireland’s Andrew Balbirnie

“We’re still really confident”: Finch sees no difference in World Cup preparation

ICC T20 World Cup: Every group stage country’s best XI

Five Talking Points

1. Hot starts

Having not featured in finals for the last three seasons, the star-studded Sydney Sixers quickly jumped out of the blocks during the opening round of WBBL|08.

Winning each of their opening three games in Mackay, the Sixers appear primed to challenge opposition sides with both bat and ball over the course of the campaign. The team in magenta knocked off WBBL|07 finalists the Brisbane Heat and the Adelaide Strikers, before accounting for the Melbourne Stars to remain unbeaten.

A four-wicket victory over the Heat was particularly memorable, with a Maitlan Brown six over long-on icing the game in the final over. Brown has also been a standout with ball in hand, collecting seven wickets in her three appearances thus far.

Meanwhile, the Sixers will be buoyed by the performances of their experienced personnel. Ellyse PerrySuzie Bates, and Alyssa Healy have already combined for 276 runs at the top of the order. The trio is capable of striking fear into any opposition bowling unit. 

All early signs indicate that the Sixers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. Can they sustain their hot start?

The Perth Scorchers also reminded the Australian cricket public of their supreme credentials, beginning their WBBL|08 campaign in convincing fashion. The reigning champions comfortably defeated both the Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes to kickstart their title defence.

Across their opening two encounters, the Scorchers only lost three wickets in the batting department, whilst also restricting opposition sides to paltry totals of 8-88 and 9-109. 

Boasting numerous world-class players, the Scorchers once again loom as a major threat to the rest of the competition. 

2. Spin to win?

The use of spin yielded terrific results for teams across the opening week of WBBL|08. Of the 122 wickets which fell across 10 matches played, 56 of those could be attributed to spin. This represents 46 percent of all wickets claimed. 

A reflection of the high-quality spinners partaking in WBBL|08, four spin bowlers currently find themselves in the top five leading wicket-takers for the tournament. Sophie Ecclestone (six wickets), Alana King (five wickets), Jess Jonassen (five wickets), and Molly Strano (five wickets) all form part of this group. 

Captains have been more than willing to throw the ball to their spinners in pressure situations, whether that be during the powerplay or even at the death. The Hurricanes, Thunder, and the Scorchers have all opted to open the bowling with spin in their early season fixtures. 

Meanwhile, a spinner has also been entrusted to bowl the final over of an innings on seven occasions thus far this season. The Heat, Sixers, Thunder, Renegades, and Stars have been the teams to employ this strategy. 

Whether spin dominates the headlines throughout WBBL|08 remains to be seen. 

3. Captains leading from the front

As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words. This was certainly the case across the first 10 matches of WBBL|08, with several big-name captains performing strongly for their respective franchises. 

Sydney Sixers skipper Ellyse Perry reinforced her credentials in the T20 format, recording two half-centuries to guide her side to an undefeated start to the tournament. After finding herself out of Australia’s T20 line-up in recent times, Perry may just have a point to prove over the summer. 

Scores of 55, 58, and 28 mean that the 31-year-old is currently the second-leading run-scorer across the competition. A productive campaign from Perry will likely see her return to the T20 international scene. 

Sophie Molineux, who also hasn’t featured for Australia in T20 cricket since last year, produced a match-winning performance against the Adelaide Strikers. The Renegades captain collected figures of 4-23 off 4 overs, picking up the crucial wickets of Laura Wolvaardt and Tahlia McGrath in the process. 

This was followed by a well-constructed knock of 32 runs at the top of the batting order, helping the Renegades clinch a nail-biting win. 

Fellow left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen was vital in the Brisbane Heat’s nine-run win over the Melbourne Stars. Having assumed the responsibility of bowling the final over of the match, Jonassen calmly defended the required 14 runs for victory, dismissing the dangerous Annabel Sutherland off the very first ball of the over. 

4. International X-Factor

The arrival of overseas players is always a major talking point ahead of any white-ball tournament. The opening round of WBBL|08 saw numerous international superstars put their best foot forward.

At the Sydney Sixers, Suzie Bates and Sophie Ecclestone were instrumental in their side’s victory against the Adelaide Strikers. Bates amassed an unbeaten 82 runs off 67 balls, batting through the entirety of the Sixers’ innings. 

Meanwhile, Ecclestone showed exactly why she is ranked the number one T20I bowler in the world. The left-arm orthodox spinner finished with impressive figures of 4-17 off 4 overs, whilst also effecting a run out to dismiss South African Laura Wolvaardt. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill was another English international who shone over the weekend. The opening batter blasted 74 runs off 51 deliveries against the Heat, almost dragging the Melbourne Stars over the line.

West Indian duo Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews showed glimpses of their destructive power with the bat. Dottin’s quickfire knock of 25 runs off 16 balls against the Sixers included three sixes and one four. 

Matthews also looked comfortable, scoring 22 and 35 across the Renegades’ opening two encounters. She will now be looking to convert these starts into match-winning innings’. 

Perth Scorchers captain Sophie Devine picked up from where she left off last season, accumulating 44 runs in her side’s opening fixture against the Thunder. 

5. Just what the doctor ordered

With Rachael Haynes recently announcing her retirement from international cricket, a vacancy has emerged at the top of Australia’s batting order.

Queenslander Georgia Redmayne firmly put her name in contention to fill the void. The left-hand opening batter accumulated 180 runs across three matches, headlined by a magnificent 98* off 67 balls against the Renegades. 

Possessing an uncanny knack for finding the gaps, Redmayne hit 12 boundaries on her way to her highest-ever WBBL score. It’s performances of this nature which may just force the hand of Australian selectors. 

Redmayne’s ability to rotate the strike and bat with terrific tempo makes her an enticing option to partner with Alyssa Healy at the top of the innings. 

Will a big WBBL campaign from the 28-year-old culminate in Australian honours?

The next round of WBBL|08 matches is set to commence on Thursday night, with the Perth Scorchers hosting the Melbourne Stars at the WACA.

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