The first-ever standalone Women’s Big Bash League began at North Sydney Oval on October 18, with (fittingly) another Ellyse Perry masterclass. Expectedly, crowds have thronged to watch the games - made up largely of young children - matches have been closely contested and everyone has been thoroughly entertained.
In the first quarter of the tournament, we got to witness a lot of action, some tense, nail-biting finishes, drama and much more. Women's CricZone looks at some of the major talking points of the ongoing WBBL.
Phoebe Litchfield, Hannah Darlington, Mady Darke, Tess Flintoff, and Hayley Silver-Holmes all have one thing in common - they are teenagers. Any talk of nerves got dispelled when Litchfield announced herself with a 48-ball 52 and remained unbeaten to take Thunder home against Heat. She thus become the youngest player to score a fifty in the WBBL. Flintoff, the allrounder from Melbourne Stars, showed great composure and character by playing two cameos of 18 and 10 to remain unconquered against Hurricanes and Sixers respectively. Darlington, Darke, Amelia Kerr and Josephine Dooley, too, have shown glimpses of their potential with their performances so far.
Third time lucky!
Erin Osborne and Kerr came close to picking up a hat-trick, but sadly, the treble eluded them. However, Sixers' Marizanne Kapp finally broke the jinx, when she picked up a hat-trick against Stars on Saturday (October 26). She dismissed Madeline Penna, Nicola Hancock and Holly Ferling off successive balls to become the second player from Sixers (after Dane van Niekerk), the first in two seasons, and fourth bowler overall to achieve the feat.
Burrrnn! Stop the play!
Rain stops play, bad weather stops play, but burnt toast stopping play? Yes, you heard it right! The match between Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades on Wednesday (October 23) was halted during the first innings when a piece of burnt toast caused the alarm to go off. The players, umpires and also those practicing indoors were given instructions to evacuate the field. The fire engine arrived and cleared the situation as play was halted for 10 minutes. No overs were reduced though.
Old is gold
Alex Blackwell has certainly proved that age is just a number. After hanging up her boots for Australia in 2017, Blackwell has continued to show her class in the WBBL, guiding Thunder to wins with her vital contributions. The 36 year-old has scores of 56, 42*, 21 and 45* in the tournament so far. Her knocks - that have often come with her team under pressure - have shown just how much the old warhorse has left in the tank. With 164 runs already in her first four games of the season, she sits second on the list of highest run-scorers.
Rachael Haynes, Jess Duffin and Elyse Villani are all full-time captains for the first time in this season's WBBL, leading Thunder, Renegades and Stars respectively. Duffin has led from the front, making solid contributions with the bat and in the field, while also ringing in clever bowling changes when the time comes. She is currently third on the run-getters list for the season with 156 runs. Haynes has been calm and composed in Thunder’s last-ball finishes and that has helped the team win two matches on the bounce. Villani, on the other hand, was slow to start with. However, she came good in the last match against Thunder scoring 52 to set an example for her team. Stars, however, are still to register their first win.