The sixth edition of the Women’s Big Bash League is set to start on Sunday, 25 October, in Sydney, which will host all games this season.
The tournament features some of the top talent in women's cricket, with several international players and Australia's ICC Women's T20 World Cup-winning team in action. The build up to this edition included lots of internationals moving from one franchise to the other, promising considerable shake-up to the competition. Ahead of the season, we take a look at some key player signings and how it could impact the franchises.
Laura Wolvaardt (South Africa)
The CSA Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2020, Laura Wolvaardt has big shoes to fill in Adelaide: She comes in for Sophie Devine, who made a move to Perth. While Wolvaardt failed to make a big impact in her time with Brisbane Heat previously, she comes into this season following fine performances for South Africa earlier this year, including at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. She has added an attacking element to her already pleasing, technically sound batting, and her South Africa team-mate Marizanne Kapp is backing her to be one to watch.
Sophie Devine (New Zealand)
From Adelaide Strikers to Perth Scorchers
With Devine moving out of Adelaide, the successful 'Bash Sisters' pairing of Suzie Bates and Devine at the top of the order has been broken up. The New Zealand skipper was a massive player for Adelaide between 2015 and 2019, racking up 2174 runs, the third most in the history of the WBBL. She also has a total of 60 wickets, the 12th best in the league.
Last year, she topped the run charts with 769 at an average of 76.90, making an incredible nine half-centuries in 16 matches. She also finished as the fourth-highest wicket-taker with 19 in the season.
Devine moves into Perth as captain, replacing the formidable Meg Lanning. She has also spent time with the Western Australian team in the Women’s National Cricket League earlier in her career.
Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt (England)
Melbourne Stars; previously Perth Scorchers
Melbourne Stars had a forgettable season in 2019/20, finishing eighth after winning just two of their 14 matches. They made a host of changes to their squad this year, with the England pair of Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt the two big transfers. While Sciver moved from Scorchers, Brunt returns to the tournament after a break last year.
Sciver has made 952 runs at an average of 24.41 and a strike-rate of 112.52 in 52 WBBL matches while also taking 36 wickets. Brunt has 49 wickets in 44 WBBL games and has conceded runs with an economy rate of 5.15.
Beth Mooney (Australia)
Brisbane Heat to Perth Scorchers
Beth Mooney's move to Perth Scorchers and the potential partnership at the top with Devine remains one of the biggest talking points ahead of the season: the No.1 batter on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Rankings and the No.1 all-rounder coming together.
Mooney played a key role in Brisbane's title triumph last time, winning the Player of the Match in the final after scoring a half-century. She finished right behind Devine in the list of top run-scorers with 743 runs at an average of 74.3 and made nine half-centuries.
The Australian opener also was Player of the Tournament at the T20 World Cup earlier this year. She remains the second-highest run-scorer in the WBBL, with 2576 runs at a strike-rate of 122.6.
Lizelle Lee (South Africa)
From Melbourne Stars to Melbourne Renegades
Lizelle Lee adds big-hitting capabilities to the Melbourne Renegades to make up for the absence of Jess Duffin, who was the third-highest run-scorer last year but is now on a maternity break. Lee was South Africa’s top run-scorer in the Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year, where she even made a century, and will potentially bat at the top of the order.
Meg Lanning (Australia)
Perth Scorchers to Melbourne Stars
In a high-profile player transfer, Australia's multiple World Cup-winning captain Meg Lanning returns after a season with Perth to give the Melbourne Stars a lift. In their last three seasons, the Stars have finished seventh twice and eighth once. Lanning has a terrific T20I record, making 2859 runs in 107 matches, averaging 36.18 with two centuries. In the WBBL, she is 18 runs shy of becoming the sixth player to 2000 runs. Her potential tie up with Elyse Villani in the middle order, a combination that worked well at Perth, will be keenly watched.
Other overseas movements this year include the England duo of skipper Heather Knight, from Hobart Hurricanes to Sydney Thunder; and opener Tammy Beaumont, from Melbourne Renegades to Sydney Thunder.