04/03/2024

Alyssa Healy scoring 94* for the Sydney Sixers against the Perth Scorchers in WBBL|07. (Photo: Women's CricZone/Twitter)

The Sydney Sixers had a tough season in WBBL|07, winning only four matches from 14 as they finished last on the table.

That was their third year in a row missing finals, and they will be hoping to turn it around this upcoming WBBL season.

Last season:

Last season, the best of the bowlers for the Sixers was Lauren Cheatle, who picked up 10 wickets in eight matches at an average of 14.50.

Her economy rate of 5.37 and strike rate of 16.2 were also the best among the squad.

At the other end, the best of the batters were captain Ellyse Perry, who was voted Sixers Fan Voted Player of the Season, and Nicole Bolton, who was voted the Sixers Player of the Tournament.

Perry led the squad by example last season with her performances with the bat, as she consistently found the boundary with 34 fours.

As for Bolton, she impressed in her first season in magenta, scoring the second-most runs for the Sixers last season, with 247 at an average of 30.87.

However, despite these standout players, the Sixers finished last as teams continuously chased down the targets they set.

After winning four of their first eight matches, the Sixers went on to lose their last six matches as they failed to set target scores they could defend.

Squad:

Ellyse Perry, Jade Allen, Suzie Bates (New Zealand), Nicole Bolton, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Sophie Ecclestone (England), Ashleigh Gardner, Angelina Genford, Alyssa Healy and Kate Peterson.

Big inclusion:

The biggest recruit for the Sixers is a player they already had – Ellyse Perry re-signing with the club for the WBBL|08 season.

The captain returns having been the leader for the past seven seasons – including their title-winning WBBL|02 and 03 campaigns.

She brings with her a wealth of experience, which she will be looking to share with a host of new faces in the squad this season.

Last season, Perry top-scored for the Sixers with 358 runs at an average of 35.80.

She was also handy with the ball, picking up five wickets at a average of 35, showing she can call upon herself in big moments to grab a wicket if needed.

Other notable inclusions are England international Sophie Ecclestone and former New Zealand captain Suzie Bates, as well as the returning Nicole Bolton.

With over 150 international wickets at just 23-years-old, Ecclestone will look to bring her slow left-arm orthodox skills to the Sixers.

At the other end of the line-up, Bates will hope to form a strong opening partnership with Alyssa Healy this season to anchor her side to win matches.

Bolton was named the Sixers Most Valuable Player last season on the back of her 247 runs at an average of 30.87, along with her eight wickets at an average of 30.50.

Another inclusion comes at the helm, with former England captain Charlotte Edwards taking the reigns of head coach.

This came after inaugural head coach Ben Sawyer resigned to take up a new role as head coach of the New Zealand women’s national team.

Who’s missing?

The biggest miss for the Sixers this season is the loss of Radha Yadav.

Yadav was the Sixers’ second-best bowler last season as she picked up nine wickets at an average of 25.11.

The 22-year-old will be replaced in the squad by Ecclestone, who will be hoping to step up to the challenge of leading the Sixers spin attack.

Wildcard player:

The player who has the biggest potential to break out this season is Sophie Ecclestone.

Bringing her English international experience to this Sixers lineup, the slow left-arm orthodox could prove to be a real weapon in the bowling attack.

At just 23 years of age, she will be hoping to spearhead the Sixers attack this season and bring the franchise back into the finals.

In international cricket, she has picked up 82 wickets in 61 T20 Internationals for England at an average of 16.34, with an economy rate of 6.02.

If the current world number one bowler can bring those numbers or better to the Sixers, she is going to prove to be a game-changer for new coach Charlotte Edwards.

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Rookie to watch:

The rookie to watch this season will be young fast bowler, Kate Peterson.

Peterson signed for the Sixers after graduating from the Sydney Thunder’s WBBL Academy and playing eight matches for the Thunder last season.

She joins their cross-town rivals, ready to learn off the experience of Australian internationals Ellyse Perry and Ashleigh Gardner.

With her youth and willingness to learn, she will be hoping to continue to develop her craft for the years ahead.

If she is given her chance this season, she will be hoping to show her talent and nail her spot in the starting lineup.

Squad strengths:

The Sixers have a strong core of players up and down the lineup.

The opening batting partnership of Suzie Bates and Alyssa Healy will give the Sixers a strong foundation to start matches or run chases from.

If those in the middle-to-lower order can also contribute with the bat, the Sixers can post totals which can compete when they bat first, in particular.

As for the bowlers, the addition of Ecclestone will add excitement and firepower to the lineup.

Meanwhile, Angelina Genford and Kate Peterson will look to provide depth for the bowling unit as they look to develop their skills this season.

They will provide a youthful exuberance, while the more experienced players will be able to guide them and utilise their energy throughout the season.

Nicole Bolton will look to continue her form heading into this season and lead her side to victory.

For the experienced players, like captain Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Suzie Bates, they can lead from the beginning, either in the bowling attack or as opening batters, respectively.

Squad weaknesses:

The Sixers suffered some heavy losses toward the end of last season, while no Sixer was able to score a century, the top score being Healy’s 94* against the Perth Scorchers in a 44-run victory.

The squad will need to bat in partnerships to ensure they are proactive at the crease and are able to sustain any pressure.

The weakness of the squad is not being able to post high enough totals when batting first to give their bowlers a chance to defend.

If they can understand and sort out that issue this season, then that weakness can be overcome.

After winning the toss and electing to bat in five of their nine losses last season, the Sixers will be looking to rectify that heading into the new season.

Predicted XI:

  1. Suzie Bates
  2. Alyssa Healy
  3. Ellyse Perry (c)
  4. Nicole Bolton
  5. Ashleigh Gardner
  6. Maitlan Brown
  7. Erin Burns
  8. Lauren Cheatle
  9. Stella Campbell
  10. Jade Allen
  11. Sophie Ecclestone

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