A total of 57 matches, with Sydney Sixers emerging triumphant in the most important of them all – the final on Saturday (January 28) over Perth Scorchers – to keep the Women’s Big Bash League trophy in the city; Sydney Thunder had won it the first season.
At the end of some fantastic action spanning over a month and a half, and featuring some of the best talent in the women’s game, here’s a look at the players that made it to our Dream Team.
Alyssa Healy (Sydney Sixers, wk)
Healy sparkled with both bat and gloves in what was a hugely successful season, reasserting her claim of being Australia’s best keeper-bat in the face of some serious competition. With 479 runs and 17 dismissals, she was a key contributor in the Sydney Sixers win, top-scoring with 40 in 27 balls in the final. To top it off, she also took on the third responsibility of captaincy late in the tournament after Ellyse Perry went out with an injury.
Beth Mooney (Brisbane Heat)
After a slow start to the tournament, Mooney, the Brisbane Heat wicketkeeper, fired on all cylinders, finishing the season second in the list of top run-getters behind Meg Lanning. Her 482 runs, at an average of 43, was the driving force behind Heat making the semifinal. Though she was excellent behind the stumps too, she comes in as just a batter in this team, a role she is likely to reprise in the Australian squad.
Meg Lanning (Melbourne Stars, capt)
For the second season running, Lanning broke the 500-run mark, almost getting a century in one game along the way. Averaging 45 at a strike rate of 120, she also comes in as captain of this side on the basis of her success with the Australian national team even though she failed to take Melbourne Stars to the final four for the second year in a row.
Harmanpreet Kaur (Sydney Thunder)
The Indian import made a splash with her big hitting in the competition, averaging almost 60 and striking at 116.99 with eleven sixes. Her 12 innings included seven unbeaten efforts, illustrating how difficult it was to contain and dismiss her once she got set. And on more than one occasion, she proved that no boundary was too big for her powerful strikes. Besides, she picked up nine wickets with her part-time offspin.
Ellyse Villani (Perth Scorchers)
This was a breakthrough competition for Villani, and she achieved the kind of consistency that she has been searching for all career. Her 442 runs formed the backbone of Scorchers’ run to the finals, to the extent that they seemed over dependent on her at times. She featured in three of the top six partnerships in the WBBL. But, although she opened for Scorchers, she comes in the middle order in this team.
Amy Satterthwaite (Hobart Hurricanes)
Despite being in a team where everyone contributed, New Zealander Satterthwaite stood out. Her 323 runs came at an average of 46, but what really tipped the scales in her favour ahead of the likes of Ash Gardner was her bowling. Satterthwaite only started bowling her offspin a couple of years ago, but found herself with 15 wickets this WBBL, including the competition’s only hat-trick.
Marizanne Kapp (Sydney Sixers)
Kapp, the South African international, disappointed with the bat in this competition, but still walks into this team purely for her bowling. For the second year in a row, she topped the economy rate charts (minimum ten overs) despite often bowling three of her overs in the Power Play. Her ability to swing the ball at pace off a minimal run up borders on miraculous. She is also the best outfielder in the team, capable of effortlessly side-arm throwing from the deep into the keeper’s hands.
Sarah Aley (Sydney Sixers)
Aley now holds the record for most wickets in the WBBL, adding to her 19 last year with 28 this time around. Her consistency and lack of pace made her difficult to score off, and she also topped the strike-rate charts (minimum ten overs), taking a wicket every 12 balls. In the final, she ripped the heart out of the Scorchers chase, claiming best figures of 4 for 23.
Kristen Beams (Melbourne Stars)
Despite playing only the second half of the competition after staying out with a finger injury, Beams was quick to make an impression, thrice claiming three-wicket hauls with her leg-spin. Danielle Hazell, her replacement at Stars, and Amanda Wellington, the Strikers youngster, were in contention for this spot too, but Beams’s experience carried her through.
Molly Strano (Melbourne Renegades)
Strano finished an impressive season with 21 wickets, second only to Aley. Often called upon to bowl while the fielding restrictions were in place, she was slightly more expensive than the other prominent bowlers, but subtle variations in pace helped her end with a stronger finish this season than the last.
Lea Tahuhu (Melbourne Renegades)
While Tahuhu’s numbers are not as impressive as some of the other pace bowlers (nine wickets at 5.75 runs per over), she makes the cut based on other factors, some measurable, some less so. The White Ferns player clocked the quickest ball of the tournament at 126 kph, and was often trusted by Renegades to bowl her four overs up front. She possesses an excellent bouncer, which kept the batters honest, swung the new ball at pace, and would have left a few batters with bruises by the end of it. In tandem with the miserly Kapp and Aley, she would make a potent attacking combination for any captain.
Ash Gardner (Sydney Sixers, 12th player)
The 19-year-old Gardner had an outstanding season, with more than 400 runs and ten wickets with her offspin. Most impressive was her penchant to put her hand up in pressure situations, often scoring big after her more established Sixers teammates had been dismissed. With this year’s statistics, she has taken some steps towards wearing the Australian colours in the near future.