Shelly Nitschke wary of Renegades' Indian threat

Women's CricZone Staff
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Shelley Nitschke wants Perth Scorchers' middle-order to be more aggressive

Sophie Devine and Shelley Nitschke. © Getty Images

seventh edition of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). South Africa allrounder Marizanne Kapp joined Perth Scorchers leaving her long-time contract with Sydney Sixers. Chamari Atapattu is another significant addition to the Perth side. They started the season with one win and one loss against Brisbane Heat. Head coach Shelley Nitschke believes Kapp and Atapattu will have huge roles to play once the Scorchers’ line up finds their bearings.

“I don't think anybody has really got going with the bat for us yet. Beth Mooney obviously made a 40 in the first game, but we haven't seen anyone really get going. So, I think once we start to get a bit of momentum, get some partnerships, Marizanne and Chamari are going to play huge roles for us,” Nitschke said at a media interaction on Wednesday (October 20).

“That's the part of the reason why we recruited them was through the middle order, but we haven't really fired with the bat, so I expect them to play a big role for us moving forward and we've still got Heather Graham and Chloe Piparo playing really well there as well. So, between those sorts of players, I think we can lengthen our batting order and take the game on a bit more.”

In their first match Scorchers staged a comeback to win the Super Over contest when it looked like Heat will walk away with the match. But in the reverse fixture on Tuesday, they suffered a huge defeat after batting failure in the face of a steep chase.

“Last night was pretty disappointing the way we played, but when we put it into perspective and we are two games in, we are one and one and it's a long tournament. So, we'll just have to keep that in mind and make sure we are better,” Nitschke added.

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“We were probably outplayed in all facets, so there are areas of our bowling that were off. Our batting - we didn't apply ourselves in that chase as well, and our fielding let us down. It sounds a bit cliché but we probably need to tighten up in all facets of the game to be fair.”

Scorchers will face Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Thunder in their weekend fixtures in Hobart before going back to Perth to play five matches at home. Nitschke termed next two matches as important to set their campaign in motion.

“We obviously want to turn around our performance and we would like to win the last two games here and take some momentum into Perth where we will be in front of our home crowd because I know everyone's looking forward to having us over there this year,” she said.

“The next two games are really important. We talked about it last night. We didn't have our greatest game but what's important now is how we bounce back from that. So, we are looking to put our best foot forward against the Renegades and hopefully get some momentum into the Thunder game.”

One of the things that happened with the player movement across teams has been the return of Indians to the tournament for the first since WBBL04. As many as eight India players – the most for any season – are part of various sides in this edition. Both Renegades and Thunder have two Indians each in their squad and the former Australian player is mindful of the damage Indian duo of Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues can have when Scorchers play Renegades on Saturday.

“They are coming off some good cricket against the Australian team and they really took it to the Aussie girls and they have had a busy winter as well over in England so they have got a lot of prep,” Nitschke said while talking about the Indian presence in the competition.

“We have got the Renegades in a couple of days with Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues. They are two players that have also been playing really well, but I think if we can sort of tighten our bowling plans to them and be really clear about that then we can hopefully contain them. Harmanpreet Kaur can be very damaging when she gets going, but hopefully we can suppress her a little bit and minimize the damage that she can have on us.”

Taneale Peschel was one of the success stories of the last season for Scorchers. The pacer finished as the second-highest wicket-taker for the club with 13 wickets at an average of 21.69 to her name. Only England’s leg-spinner Sarah Glenn took more wickets than her for the side in Orange. But so far in this edition, Peschel has gone wicketless and is one of the reasons why they failed to take early wickets in the power play.

“She has done remedial work (on her bowling action). And the girls, particularly the local players, haven't had a lot of match practice or under pressure as well. So, I think she's still finding her feet with the work that she has done and I expect as we sort of go on into the tournament, she gets more exposure to pressure situations that she will improve,” Nitschke concluded.