Team by team preview of Women's Big Bash League 2017

Dec 09, 2017
The Women's Big Bash League is going from strength to strength as it returns for its third season having smashed expectations for crowds and television audiences. Sydney teams have dominated the competition's short history with the Thunder and Sixers winning the first two competitions. The tournament gets underway on Saturday with six games to be played across the opening weekend in a carnival atmosphere including two double headers at North Sydney Oval. Adelaide Strikers The Strikers' squad is headlined by star international batters Tammy Beaumont, Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates (captain). New Zealander Devine scored an explosive century for the Strikers at the start of last season and will be looking for more consistency this summer. Fast bowler Megan Schutt was arguably the best player in the recent women's Ashes and will be supported by rising stars Tahlia McGrath and Amanda-Jade Wellington in the bowling attack. The Strikers have never made the finals before but with star players throughout their squad, they are the team to beat. Tabatha Saville: "[Our aim is] obviously just to do a lot better than last season first and foremost but also bringing home the trophy would be the ultimate goal for us. Brisbane Heat Beth Mooney showcased her explosive hitting for Australia in the Ashes T20s and will spearhead the Heat batting line-up with South African batting prodigy Laura Wolvaardt. All-rounders Jess Jonassen, Deandra Dottin and Jemma Barsby provide good batting depth in the middle order. Jonassen will lead the bowling attack with former Australian representative Holly Ferling. Kirby Short: "We made semis last year and didn't really get it done in the semis. It'd be really nice to get ourselves to that top four and then try and go one better." Hobart Hurricanes The Hurricanes punched above their weight in the first two seasons but it will be harder to make the finals for the third time. The Hurricanes have lost key players Heather Knight (injured), Amy Satterthwaite (Renegades), Erin Burns (Sixers) and Julie Hunter (retired). The Hurricanes' most important players are at the top of the order in England opener Lauren Winfield and wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne. Exciting West Indian all-rounder Hayley Matthews is one to watch. Erin Fazackerley: "Take out the title is the main goal. We've been in semifinals the last two years. We haven't quite made it past that point and getting into the grand final would be a big step for us this year." Melbourne Renegades The Renegades are one of the tournament favourites after recruiting heavily in the off-season. New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite will captain the Renegades after moving from the Hurricanes, while big-hitting Sri Lankan batter Chamari Atapattu has also joined the squad. Young Aussie all-rounders Maitlan Brown, Sophie Molineux and Molly Strano are also exciting prospects in a Renegades side with a good mix of youth and experience. Maitlan Brown: "We've got a really great squad this year and finally some depth in our batting line-up. We've got some older girls who bring a lot of experience to the team." Melbourne Stars The Stars' squad has undergone a major overhaul. Australian captain Meg Lanning's move to the Perth Scorchers is a massive loss. New recruits include South African pair Mignel du Preez and big-hitter Lizelle Lee, England all-rounder Georgia Elwiss and former Australian off-spinner Erin Osborne. Leg-spinner Kristen Beams takes over the captaincy from Lanning. Kristen Beams: "We've finished fifth twice in this competition already so we're just looking for everyone to stand up. That's going to be thing that can take us all the way." Perth Scorchers The Scorchers recruited Australian skipper Meg Lanning but she is recovering from shoulder surgery and will be unavailable for WBBL03. Last season's runners-up have assembled a good team with Aussie batters Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani, all-rounder Nat Sciver, England pace ace Katherine Brunt and New Zealand's Thamsyn Newton. Piepa Cleary: "Obviously we'd like to go one better than last year. That was a game we probably should have won. It still hurts. It's great motivation to go one better." Sydney Thunder Australian veteran Alex Blackwell will captain the Thunder and holds the key in the middle order along with Rachael Haynes. The Thunder have some excitement machines in West Indian Stafanie Taylor and Indian all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur, who smashed 171 not out against Australia at the world cup this year. New Zealand wicketkeeper Rachel Priest is a new recruit. They are definitely capable of winning a second WBBL title. Stafanie Taylor: "I do believe we can go all the way and win this title." Sydney Sixers The Sixers are the defending champions and also made the final of the inaugural season. The squad features Australian stars Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner. Seamer Sarah Aley was the leading wicket-taker in WBBL02 with 28 wickets. Internationals Dane Van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and New Zealand's Sara McGlashan return for the Sixers. A very strong team that will contend for the title. Ellyse Perry: "We'd like to set the pace again but we're very wary that other teams are going to come out and be very strong as well."

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