Big picture: Heat’s power verses Strikers’ economy
Adelaide Strikers will aim for back-to-back WBBL titles in front of what they hope will be a record crowd when they face Brisbane Heat at Adelaide Oval.
In recent times, there has been a bit of needle between the teams, with Megan Schutt last year branding Heat’s style of cricket a “bit arrogant” ahead of the Challenger final, which Strikers won, but this will be a fascinating match-up even away from chirping.
This year’s final pits together the team with the highest batting run rate (Heat at 8.42) and the side with the most frugal economy (Strikers at 6.47).
Strikes have been, without doubt, the team of the regular season, stringing together 11 victories to leave daylight to second place. Heat, meanwhile, had to reach the final the hard way after three defeats towards the end of the round-robin phase. However, in the space of 24 hours, they produced two superb performances to overturn Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers in the qualifying finals.
(Last five completed matches, most recent first)
Adelaide Strikers WWWWW
Brisbane Heat LLLWW
In the spotlight: Darcie Brown and Grace Harris
It won’t always come off, but Grace Harris is the type of player who can win a final off her own bat. She had a huge impact in the qualifying finals with scores of 45 and 54 having been somewhat up and down following her record-breaking 136 off 59 balls at North Sydney Oval early in the season. “I’m a strike-rate batter… [aim to] strike at 180-200,” she said after the Challenger final. “You will be inconsistent, but happy to own that role. We want to play an aggressive brand of cricket. It’s about scoring shots and not getting worried about getting out.”
Team news: England players absent
While Strikers have Wolvaardt, England allrounder Dani Gibson has left for their tour of India, which could be a significant hole in the middle order. Gibson struck at 147.43 with the bat and claimed ten wickets. Brown, who was rested for the final regular-season game, will come back in although that leaves a longer tail.
Adelaide Strikers (probable): 1 Katie Mack, 2 Laura Wolvaardt, 3 Tahlia McGrath (capt), 4 Bridget Patterson (wk) 5 Madeline Penna, 6 Georgia Adams, 7 Jemma Barsby, 8 Amanda-Jade Wellington, 9 Darcie Brown, 10 Megan Schutt, 11 Anesu Mushangwe
Amelia Kerr is available for Heat before heading back to New Zealand for international duty, but like Strikers, they have lost England batter Bess Heath. Mikayla Hinkley will be the likely replacement.
Brisbane Heat (probable): 1 Georgia Redmayne (wk), 2 Grace Harris, 3 Amelia Kerr, 4 Mignon du Preez, 5 Laura Harris, 6 Charli Knott, 7 Mikayla Hinkley, 8 Jess Jonassen (capt), 9 Georgia Voll, 10 Nicola Hancock, 11 Courtney Sippel
Pitch and conditions
Adelaide Oval usually produces good pitches for T20s. The scores weren’t huge during the stadium round last week with Heat’s 160 for 8 against Thunder the highest. Scorchers were bundled out for 104 by Strikers. The forecast is for a mild day although it will be cooler by the evening.
Stats and trivia
“Every time we play each other it comes down to the wire. I’ve seen a lot of… they’ve got the best batting attack and we’ve got the best bowling attack and we are excited for the challenge. There’s a bit of extra spice but it’s all fun and games.”
Adelaide Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath
“We do have the confidence and if that’s perceived as something else then so be it. We back the style of play that we have, we believe in that, and ultimately that’s what it comes down to, we are really clear as a team what we are about.”
Brisbane Heat captain Jess Jonassen