22/05/2024

The Adelaide Strikers WBBL Team. (Picture: WBBL; Design: Will Cuckson)

After a strong season for Adelaide, the Strikers are looking for redemption in WBBL|08 after a finals lost to hand the Perth Scorchers the title. Recruiting well in the off-season, they are well-placed to bring a maiden title to the city of churches this season.

Last season:

WBBL|07 ended in heartbreak for the Adelaide Strikers. Going into the final against the Scorchers, they had all the momentum.

Winning two finals against the Heat (eight wickets) and the Renegades (nine wickets), the Strikers look ominous, and even poised to take out their maiden WBBL title. But it was not meant to be last tournament, losing by 12 runs in front of 15,000 fans at Optus Stadium.

Finishing fourth on the ladder was a solid achievement for the Strikers last season, but with the talent on the list, head coach Luke Williams will be looking to jump up the table.

Winning seven games out of 14 played is a bar that the team needs to clear, simply because the squad is better that finish would suggest.

Squad:

Jemma Barsby, Darcie Brown, Meagan Dixon, Deandra Dottin (WI), Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath, Tegan McPharlin, Anesu Mushangwe, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Maddie Penna, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Ella Wilson, Laura Wolvaardt (RSA)

Big inclusion:

Deandra Dottin is the biggest inclusion for the Strikers, and could also arguably be the biggest WBBL recruit in general this off-season. The self-proclaimed ‘Universe Boss’ comes fresh off her retirement from international cricket, but will bring a wealth of experience, leadership and class to Adelaide.

Playing as an all-rounder for the West Indies over the last decade, she has become renowned for her power-hitting and right-arm fast bowling. She was the first ever woman to notch up a century in a T20 game, which shows her class and skill.

Considering the problems that the Strikers have had with their middle-order batting and sometimes their batting in general, she will certainly add to the batters they already have in Tahlia McGrath, Laura Wolvaardt, Katie Mack, Bridget Patterson and Annie O’Neil.

Other solid inclusions for the Strikers come in the form of assistant coaches Johan Botha and Amy Satterthwaite. Hired to work on bowling, fielding and tactics, Botha has donned the blue for the Strikers as captain, playing 27 games for the club.

Recently he has served as the head coach of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (2018), also spending a stint in the Pakistan Super League coaching Islamabad United after taking a few PSL assistant coaching roles.

Satterthwaite is a great of the women’s game and has become one of the best White Ferns players. Entering the assistant coaching role after retiring in May, she will be a great source of knowledge for the batters in the Strikers line-up.

Who’s missing?

Sarah Coyte is the major out for the WBBL|07 finalists, with her experience and bowling nous now serving the Melbourne Renegades this season. Representing Australia 81 times and now a veteran of the competition, Coyte was a fantastic pick-up when brought back to the league after a hiatus.

In the past three seasons at Adelaide, she took 53 wickets with her right-arm pace deliveries and has been an exceptional fielder. In the competition’s history she is the seventh highest wicket taker with 93 poles from her 91 matches.

She looks to bolster the experience required at the Renegades with Jess Duffin out of WBBL|08 after committing to see out the AFLW season.

Wildcard player:

Maddie Penna is always a wildcard player due to the role she plays within the Strikers line-up. In her second year at the club, Penna will look to become more settled in the XI as a power-hitting middle-order player with the opportunity to add her leg-spin bowling as an option for captain McGrath.

She finished her last three WBBL matches at the crease, showing her ability at staying in to close out innings if that is her role, but also that she can hit big scores. Her last two scores against the Stars (56 not out) and the Scorchers (30 not out) are proof that she only has room to grow in the game.

Not only is Penna a handy batter down the order, but she is also an exceptional fielder, which helps complete this really talented fielding group including Mack, Patterson and McGrath.

More WBBL Season Previews:

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Perth Scorchers

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Brisbane Heat

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Melbourne Renegades

Rookie to watch:

Both Ella Wilson and Anesu Mushangwe have signed for their first ever WBBL contracts after impressive seasons for Glenelg in South Australian Premier Cricket. A talented batter and leg-spin bowler, Mushangwe could also make history in becoming the first Zimbabwean player to play in the WBBL.

The 26-year-old was named in last season’s premier team of the year, in a year which saw her become a force in the league. Not only has she played locally, but Mushangwe has also played 21 T20s for Zimbabwe, taking 33 wickets in those games.

Wilson is an up-and-coming fast bowler who might relish the opportunity should she be lucky enough to be presented with a debut. Playing as a middle-order batter, she was included as a local-replacement player last season after captaining the South Australian U19 girls team at the national championships.

Squad strengths:

One of the main strengths of the squad on paper is the batting talent, with the predicted XI batting until the last two bowlers within the line-up. The side can bat quite deep, and even has some heavy hitters in Dottin, Penna, Barsby and Wellington, who can all trouble the bowlers.

In past seasons, the Strikers have had trouble in this area which has resulted in batting collapses which have cost them games.

They have addressed this in the past two seasons with the recruiting of Mack, Penna, Wolvaardt and now Dottin, but it’s time to see whether they have had enough time together to build those partnerships.

As is the case with the Strikers in the past season, they will still be an excellent fielding team capable of plenty of run-outs and breath-taking catches.

Squad weaknesses:

The weakness that might be a concern is the bowling stocks, which is exacerbated with the loss of Coyte. The main bowling options would be Darcie Brown, Megan Schutt, Wellington, Barsby, McGrath, Dottin and Penna.

This shows that they have great depth in their spin options, but with Dottin, Schutt, Brown and McGrath and the only pace options, they may lack variety. If an untimely injury occurs, they might have to play a young body in Ella Wilson.

Predicted XI:

  1. Katie Mack
  2. Deandra Dottin
  3. Laura Wolvaardt
  4. Tahlia McGrath
  5. Bridget Patterson
  6. Maddie Penna
  7. Amanda-Jade Wellington
  8. Jemma Barsby
  9. Tegan McPharlin
  10. Megan Schutt
  11. Darcie Brown

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