We’re about to be halfway through the regular WBBL season, and it’s time to find out who’s hot, who’s not, and who’s warming up.
Here is where we are with the teams:
The Melbourne Renegades have a two-point lead over the Brisbane Heat at the top of the ladder and have played one game less than the Melbourne Stars (fourth) and Hobart Hurricanes (seventh).
The Renegades have won their last four matches and they have managed it without the international spinner Georgia Wareham, who broke his front cruciate ligament early in the competition.
The Brisbane Heat have one win less than the Renegades and have also played seven games.
Renegades and Heat meet for the first time at Adelaide’s Karen Rolton Oval on Saturday.
The Perth Scorchers (fifth) have the same number of wins as the Sydney Sixers (third), but have played one game less.
The Scorchers play their next three games in Perth before ending the regular season in Adelaide.
The reigning champions Sydney Thunder sit last on two wins, but they have come in their last two games so the temperature is rising.
Losing star captain Rachael Haynes for the entire competition due to family reasons was a big blow, but 19-year-old skipper Hannah Darlington makes her mark on the team.
“It would always take them some time to gel, especially with such a young team,” Pike said.
The Hobart Hurricanes are penultimate with just two wins. They failed to take advantage of playing all their games in Tasmania due to COVID-19 restrictions in other states.
Their remaining six matches are scheduled for Perth and Mackay.
Now for individual players.
Who is in top form with the bat?
Opener Grace Harris has contributed for the Brisbane Heat and leads the race scoring with 251 with an average of 50.20 and an impressive strike rate of 133.51.
The 28-year-old has beaten a competition-best 29 fours and has cleared the rope on six occasions.
Harris has also taken three wickets with his off-spin and appears to have made the most of this while being microphoneed up by the TV broadcaster.
Alyssa Healy (Sixers) finished a race of lean scoring with an unbeaten 94 off 57 balls in the win over the Scorchers last Sunday.
The opener boasts the highest stroke rate of players who have scored at least 100 runs.
Scorcher’s captain Sophie Devine is one of two century creators – the other being Rachel Priest from the Hurricanes.
The New Zealand star has lived up to his last name in Super Overs and won matches against the Heat and Strikers.
Her overall record in Super Overs is 25 runs off five balls with four sixes.
Expectations are always high for Australian captain Meg Lanning (Melbourne Stars), and a total of 96 races with a strike rate of 80.67 is well below her usual standards.
Last season, Lanning made 493 runs with six 50s and a strike rate of 127.72.
All-rounder Annabel Sutherland (Stars) was tried at the top of the list – with Lanning at three – but a lack of success has led her to move to the first drop with Lanning restored to the opening role, where she played last season.
Sutherland has delivered with the ball and taken nine wickets.
Australian all-rounder Ash Gardner has made five single-digit goals but has taken six wickets.
So who bowls best?
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen leads by example in the Heat with a competition-best 12 wickets to the miserable T20 economy of 5.50 admitted races per. over.
Pike says the Australian all-rounder has made an impressive comeback after a lower leg injury but could be more productive with the bat.
“She finished last season exceptionally well [with the bat] so she wants to regain that form and the Heat are also very dependent on it, “Pike said.
Before Wareham suffered his knee injury in the Renegades’ second game of the season, Wareham had shown his class with three wickets and conceded a competition-best 3.71 runs per game. over.
Of those who have taken at least five wickets, the most economical is Thunder spinner Sam Bates.
What about Indian imports?
India won many fans with the way they performed in the multi-format series against Australia and that form remains in the WBBL.
Harmanpreet Kaur (Melbourne Renegades) is third in run-scoring with 219, and in her most recent match, she led the team to victory against the Adelaide Strikers with an unbeaten 73 on just 46 balls.
India’s T20 captain has a strike rate of 131.14 and has hit a competition top 10 sixes.
Add seven wickets and four catches and you have a very hot player.
Kaurs Renegades teammate Jemimah Rodrigues is sixth on the race scoring list with 187 races and a top score of 75 not out.
Sydney Thunder all-rounder Deepti Sharma is just in third place on the wicket-taking list with nine, and has also contributed 127 runs and four catches.
The elegant opener Smriti Mandhana (Sydney Thunder) started with three single-digit goals before making 64 against the Renegades. In his most recent game, the left-handed player struck 50 in a victory over the Hurricanes.
The Sixers broke up the reliable opening partnership between Alyssa Healy and Elysse Perry to meet hard-hitting Shafali Verma.
The 17-year-old is only half a century old, and after consecutive ducks, she was moved down the order and the Healy-Perry combination was restored.
Perry and Healy came together for 101 races in the Sixers’ victory over the Scorchers last Sunday.
Sixers to take a step
Pike, who represented Australia in all forms of the game, says the star-studded Sixers are ready to throw themselves into the second half of the regular season.
“The Renegades have done exceptionally well, I would place them in the top four.
“I think the Scorchers will be up there.