'It's good, hard cricket': Alyssa Healy excited about Saturday's Sydney derby

Ananya Upendran
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'It's good, hard cricket': Alyssa Healy excited about Saturday's Sydney derby

Alyssa Healy and Phoebe Litchfield. © Getty Images

After the first round in Hobart, the Women’s Big Bash League caravan now moves to Launceston, and kicks off with a very busy weekend. Seven matches will be played over the course of Saturday (October 23) and Sunday (October 24), including a fiery Sydney derby.

A rivalry that dates back to WBBL01 – where the Thunder beat the Sixers by three wickets with three balls to spare in the final of that tournament – will resume on Saturday at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston. Across six seasons that have seen the teams play 13 times, Sixers have the edge with seven wins, while Thunder have managed five wins, including a victory in a Super Over.

“I say fiery, but it's not fiery. It's just good, hard cricket,” Sixers’ wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy said of the cross-city rivalry in a media interaction in Launceston on Friday (October 22). “I mean, you want to beat your mates more than anybody else, I think.”

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“We've spent all pre-season together training alongside one another and all of a sudden, the WBBL rolls around and we're on separate sides! I think you just want to get one up on your mates or one up on the young kids that are trying to take your spot in the (New South Wales) Breakers side. So, it's always a fun and enjoyable contest, but it's good hard cricket and that's what we want to see.”

In WBBL07, the Sixers have gotten off to a " rel="noopener noreferrer">decent start notching up two wins in their three matches in Hobart, while Thunder lost their only fixture against Adelaide Strikers.

Reflecting on the start of their campaign, Healy admitted that while the Sixers have not quite found their form it was nice to get some points on the board and get ahead early in the competition.

“We probably haven't quite hit our straps just yet. But, I guess, to be able to get two wins on the board is a great start and hopefully we can put it all together this weekend and get a couple more wins before we head off to Perth.”

Healy began the competition with a blistering 27-ball 57 against Melbourne Stars in the tournament opener. Since then, however, she has failed to get going, posting scores of three, in the team’s win over Hobart Hurricanes, and a 13-ball 14 in their return fixture against the Stars.

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Despite the superstar’s iffy form, Thunder’s teen sensation Phoebe Litchfield said they would not take her lightly

“I've grown up watching Midge play, and even her first innings against the Stars just sort of shows how amazing she is. It's been a pleasure to watch her through the years and now playing against her is a bit more nerve wracking,” Litchfield said.

In 12 innings against the Thunder, Healy has managed a total of 336 runs at a strike rate of close to 135, with only one half-century. She has not had the best start to the 2021-22 Australian summer either, falling prey to some extraordinary bowling by the Indian seamers through the multi-format series ahead of the WBBL. However, she insisted that she’s not too worried about her form, and is simply enjoying the opportunity to play in what is currently a relatively free environment in Tasmania.

“It's been great that the tournament is up and running and we're living with relative freedom. I think that's such a blessing at the minute, so we have really enjoyed ourselves so far,” she said.

After their game against Thunder, the Sixers will face Melbourne Renegades on Sunday before the WBBL07 caravan heads off to Perth.