To say that Perth Scorchers have had a 'damp' start to the sixth season of the Women's Big Bash League would be a bit of an understatement. The Sophie Devine-led side, one of the favourites to win the competition, have so far struggled to find any momentum in their campaign, suffering their most recent loss to Sydney Thunder.
"I think if you
"For us, it's been a little bit stop-start. We had that game against (Brisbane) Heat and then another washout against the (Hobart) Hurricanes and then a good win (against Melbourne Renegades). I think we were a bit unlucky not to get a final game on against the (Adelaide) Strikers."
"It just goes to show how important it is to rock up and play good cricket. Because, I think, come the back end of the season, these sort of games are going to come back and bite us."
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Scheduled to play two of the top teams - Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers - over the weekend, Bolton said Scorchers would have to be at their best to beat both teams. She added that not all the players had yet found their stride, and these games provide all of them an opportunity to step up against high quality opposition.
"Melbourne Stars are playing some pretty decent cricket considering they've had a bit of an interrupted season leading into this comp, so we'll have to be at our best. We've seen some of our girls probably quite haven't hit their straps yet. So, fingers crossed that in these big games our girls stand up," Bolton said.
Many of the players in the Stars squad previously turned out for Scorchers. The international quartet of Meg Lanning, Elyse Villani, Natalie Sciver and Katherine Brunt all represented the Perth-based side in previous seasons. Bolton said, that the familiarity of the players would result in a very competitive game.
"It's almost like an intra-squad match isn't it," she laughed. "I feel with the number of ex-Scorchers playing for the Stars, we know a lot of information about their players and vice versa. So, I think it's going to be a pretty even contest."
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"Obviously, at the top of the order with Villani and Lanning they're looking pretty formidable, but we match it with Devine & Mooney. Fingers crossed that those two get off to a really good start and we put our best foot forward."
Scorchers' international recruit, Amy Jones, who suffered a thigh strain in one of the early round matches, has been ruled out of the weekend clashes. Bolton said her absence gives the Western Australia trio of Megan Banting, Heather Graham and Chloe Piparo a chance to make important contributions. She stressed that they are likely to play a key role for the Scorchers through the season.
"We've got a lot of young players that have come into form playing some really good, high-quality practice games. Megan Banting, Heather Graham and Chloe Piparo, they're going to be formidable for us in the middle order. We just need to get them some game time and balls under their belt and I think we will see the best of them."
"It's fantastic that Shelley and Soph and the rest of the support staff are backing those girls in because I think they're going to be a really important cog moving forward into the rest of the tournament," she added.
Having had the opportunity to bat only three times in the tournament so far, Bolton has managed a total of 52 runs at a strike rate of 106.12. She has also delivered 12 over of off-spin, picking up two wickets along the way. The left-hand batter admitted that while she has not yet set the tournament alight with the bat, she is happy to chip in with the ball, and is also hopeful of being able to make a big impact over the weekend.
"Sometimes in T20 you miss out with the bat and you sort of don't really let it go, but I get that opportunity to make an impact when I can with the ball. Soph (Devine) and Shelley (Nitschke) and all the team are backing me to do the job with both bat and ball, so that's been really good. Hopefully standing out in these big games - that's where I want to be. I'm a senior player now, so hopefully I can put on one of my best performances," Bolton concluded.