Sophie Devine stands as the big fish with Sydney Thunder looking for a much-needed win!
Adelaide Strikers to win!
|Brisbane Heat Women||11||8||3||0||0||16||0.84|
|Adelaide Strikers Women||9||6||3||0||0||12||0.761|
|Sydney Sixers Women||9||6||3||0||0||12||0.429|
|Perth Scorchers Women||10||6||4||0||0||12||-0.272|
|Melbourne Renegades Women||10||5||5||0||0||10||0.021|
|Sydney Thunder Women||10||4||5||0||1||9||-0.605|
|Hobart Hurricanes Women||9||2||6||0||1||5||-0.376|
|Melbourne Stars Women||10||1||9||0||0||2||-0.87|
Although Adelaide Strikers might only be holding the 2nd spot in the points table right now, one could say they that they have been as good as the table-toppers Brisbane Heat. It has been the combination of Sophie Devine and the bowling attack that has Adelaide Strikers do so well until now. The #2 ranked Adelaide Strikers won their last match against Melbourne Stars in a dominating fashion. After combining with Bridget Patterson to help the team post 153 on the board, Sophie Devine was yet again at the heart of the action with a three-wicket haul as Adelaide went away with a 57-run win.
Meanwhile, Sydney Thunder suffered the exact opposite by losing by a margin of 32 runs against Brisbane Heat. While Thunder's bowlers continued their good run of form to restrict Brisbane to 128-8, the batting line-up disappointed once again. As many as five batswomen got ten runs or more but none of them converted it into a match-winning knock on a tough Drummoyne Oval surface.
Just like Ellyse Perry and Beth Mooney, Sophie Devine has led the way for Adelaide Strikers by being a one-woman army. But what makes Devine extra special is the fact that she has been on a song with both bat and ball. In fact, with 412 runs and 13 wickets to her credit this season, Devine tops both the batting and bowling charts for her team. Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong by any means to name her as the current MVP of the WBBL.
Her team-mate and former Kiwi skipper Suzie Bates has however had a patchy run with the bat. With her not performing at her best, Bridget Patterson has been Strikers' second-best batter with 233 runs.
On the bowling front, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Sarah Coyte, Megan Schutt and Tahlia McGrath have supported Adelaide Strikers very well. Apart from picking a lot of wickets, they have also been stingy with Megan Schutt and Sophie Devine operating at 5.08 and 6.25 runs per over.
Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates (C), Tahlia McGrath, Bridget Patterson, Lauren Winfield, Katie Mack, Amanda Jade-Wellington, Tegan McPharlin, Sarah Coyte, Megan Schutt, Alex Price
Phoebe Litchfield, Shabnim Ismail, Hannah Darlington, Lisa Griffith, Rene Farrell, Nida Dar, Tahlia Wilson, Rachel Priest, Alex Blackwell, Sam Bates, Rachael Haynes
Sydney Thunder started the season on a pretty good note with four wins out of six matches but the last three losses have meant that they are struggling at the 6th spot. The main reason for their troubles is the lack of runs from all their batters. The experienced Alex Blackwell has mirrored Sydney Thunder's fortunes as her form has dipped after starting well. Even after registering scores of 6, 7, 4 in the three matches, Blackwell is still Thunder’s leading run-scorer with 236 runs and that perfectly illustrates the over-reliance on her. Wicket-keeper Rachel Priest and 16-year-old Phoebe Litchfield have been decent but their returns too wouldn’t help a team win on a consistent basis.
On the flip side, Sydney Thunder has no issues with the ball and is, in fact, one of the best bowling sides this season. While foreign recruits Shabnim Ismail and Nida Dar have 10 wickets each so far, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, and Samantha Bates have all picked up 9 wickets on their own.
Rachel Haynes (C), Rachel Priest (WK), Tahlia Wilson, Alex Blackwell, Phoebe Litchfield, Nida Dar, Hannah Darlington, Rene Farrell, Lisa Griffith, Shabnim Ismail, Samantha Bates
Megan Schutt, Alex Price, Lauren Winfield, Amanda Jade Wellington, Bridget Patterson, Tegan McPharlin, Sophie Devine, Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath, Suzie Bates, Sarah Coyte
Given that this will be the first and only match at this venue, a fresh wicket will be on offer and batters could have a good day out in the middle. However, based on the few matches that have taken place at the North Dalton Park, spinners could have a pretty good impact too. When it comes to the weather, there isn’t a massive threat of rain on the match-day. It could be cloudy with a nice southeasterly breeze to boot.
The North Dalton Park in Wollongong hasn’t hosted a lot of top-level cricket in the past. In fact, WBBL action will be returning for the first time since the 2017 season. The only match between Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers was played out at this venue. Apart from that fixture, the ground made its' bow in Sheffield Shield cricket when it hosted a match between New South Wales and Tasmania in February 2017.
It will be a tricky decision at the toss if the pitch is on the drier side. In that case, it would be better to bat first but if the captains are not able to gauge the wicket, chasing will always be the preferred option. Apart from playing according to a set target, chasing also helps teams to read the wicket when they are bowling. So, the choice is obvious.
We are predicting a big win for the Adelaide Strikers as they are a much better all-round unit than Sydney Thunder. With Sophie Devine looking in prime form with both bat and ball, it looks very difficult for the Sydney Thunder to post a victory.
Adelaide Strikers to win!