15/04/2024

The Brisbane Heat are looking to break their knockout stage drought. (Image: Brisbane Heat/Twitter)

The Brisbane Heat are looking to compete for a championship once again, after losing to the lower-ranked Adelaide Strikers in the elimination final.

To address the concerns with the playing group after their performances in the knockout stage, the Heat were able to add key pieces in the off-season to improve their batting order, alongside all-rounders and generally, more experience.

Last season:

The Brisbane Heat were able to find consistency in a couple stretches of the season, however their losses would show their biggest weakness in batting with the squad they put together.

Having two patches of three consecutive wins in a row during the season showed how good the Heat can be when they’re in form. 

However, their losses to the Strikers and Thunder before the end of the season displayed their inability to shift momentum when their opponents are bowling to produce more runs.

Despite this, Georgia Redmayne was a clear stand-out on the batting front, named at first drop in the team of the tournament.

In her 13 regular season games, she hit 436 runs at an average of 36.33, with a strike rate of 120.44. The star wicket-keeper batter had a tournament to enjoy.

Grace Harris and Jess Jonassen were also named in the middle-order and in the bowling group. Jonassen took 21 wickets in her 13 regular season matches.

Squad:

Zoe Cooke, Nicola Hancock, Laura Harris, Grace Harris, Lucy Hamilton (local replacement), Mikayla Hinkley, Ellie Johnston, Jess Jonassen (c), Amelia Kerr (NZ), Jess Kerr, Charli Knott, Grace Parsons, Georgia Redmayne, Courtney Sippel, Pooja Vastrakar (IND), Georgia Voll, Danni Wyatt (ENG) 

Big inclusion:

Pooja Vastrakar impressed the Brisbane Heat with her performance during the ICC One Day World Cup in New Zealand. 

Vastrakar’s all-around contributions displayed impact on both sides of the crease, which stood out most to coach Ashley Noffke.

In the World Cup, she finished as her team’s second leading wicket-taker and produced an impressive 67 off 59 balls to counter-attack for her team when it was struggling against Pakistan.

This season, Vastrakar will be able to seamlessly help the Heat’s lower order batting and provide experience for this squad.

Who’s missing?

Poonam Yadav is an experienced leg-spinner bowler that the Heat have lost this off-season. 

Although Yadav’s bowling wasn’t the best against the Strikers in the knockout stage, she managed to get one of the two wickets they were able to get in the game.

Known affectionately to her teammates as ‘Simba’, the leg-spinner became a bit of a cult hero after claiming an inspiring 3/17 haul against the Sydney Thunder.

She’ll be missed in the bowling group, as one of the stronger international spin options that the WBBL saw last tournament.

Wildcard player:

In signing with the Heat, Zoe Cooke made her commitment to the club very noticeable to management ahead of WBBL|08.

Cooke showed her bowling ability with the ACT Meteors in the Women’s National Cricket League on the way to a haul of 12 wickets at 15.58 from eight games. This includes a best bowling performance of 3/5 against Victoria.

The Heat are going to be flexible with their options with Cooke’s bowling. They will able to count on her to deliver on expectations and play her role with ease.

More WBBL Season Previews:

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Melbourne Renegades

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Melbourne Stars

WBBL|08 Season Preview: Hobart Hurricanes

Rookie to watch:

Teenage leg-spinner Grace Parsons has demonstrated her talent with her bowling skill, and has brought her experience in clinching an undefeated season in the national championships.

Parsons’ 15 wickets in seven matches as part of Queensland’s Under-19 women’s team led to her being named in the Cricket Australia Team of the Tournament.

Joining the likes of Jonassen and Amelia Kerr, who are also slow bowlers, will be valuable and pivotal in her development.

Squad strengths:

The Heat’s bowling depth is top-tier and with adding more all-rounders and spinners into the mix, it has only gotten better.

As well this off-season, the Heat were able to keep their strongest batters through extensions.

Redmayne and Grace Harris will both be sticking around to do their thing in teal once again this season, in an exciting prospect for fans.

They will be able to produce more runs and spark stretches of good hits when their opponents are dominating them with their bowling.

Squad weaknesses:

The batting strength has been a concern throughout the past two seasons, and continues to be a concern heading into to this tournament.

With the additions made making stronger impressions on the bowling side, the Heat’s batting order could be adjusted game to game for strategy purposes.

The bowling attack in the Heat group has added more slower pace talents, which could hurt the team’s options when their opponents are batting at their best.

Predicted XI

  1. Grace Harris 
  2. Georgia Redmayne 
  3. Georgia Voll
  4. Mikayla Hinkley 
  5. Jess Jonassen (c)
  6. Laura Harris 
  7. Amelia Kerr 
  8. Zoe Cooke
  9. Pooja Vastrakar
  10. Nicola Hancock 
  11. Courtney Sippel 

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