Grace Harris gets a nickname, plus internationals and new talent shine in the opening weekend of the WBBL

The first weekend of the stand-alone WBBL season is done and dusted and boy, did we see some amazing cricket.

The Sixers scorched the Thunder in the first game at North Sydney Oval on Friday night, before being torched in turn by the Heat on Saturday in the grand final rematch. To round out the topsy-turvy weekend in Sydney, the Thunder came back with a vengeance to beat the Heat at their own game.

The Hurricanes were the only team to go through unscathed, winning both their games against the Stars and the Strikers and Renegades bagged a game each, leaving the table wide open, with the Scorchers yet to play their first match.

The biggest takeaway from the weekend were the performances by the young debutants.

Amelia Kerr starred with the ball for the Heat, bagging 3/8 off 3 overs and almost snagging a hat-trick but for a sniff of paint against the Sixers, while Pheobe Litchfield lit up North Sydney Oval on Friday night and again on Sunday with some amazing hitting belying her 16 years.

Litchfield was assisted by veteran Alex Blackwell, who batted with the youngster in both innings, keeping a cool head and talking Litchfield through both her innings. That’s the true value of having mature, experienced players in your set-up – the experience they bring, the coolness under pressure, and the game awareness passed on to young players mean young players become more well-rounded and resilient.

Litchfield scored 26 in the loss to the Strikers (Blackwell scored 56 from 38) and then scored her maiden half-century in the win over the Heat, hitting 52 (48) and bagging the Player of the Match to boot.

No doubt about it – we saw something special over the weekend, and I’m betting we’ll be seeing Phoebe Litchfield in the Aussie set-up in the next few years.

In the past, we’ve seen international players struggle early in the season as they adjust to the Aussie climate, but new players and old favourites both shone over the weekend. Nida Dar had an immediate impact for the Thunder against the Sixers in their loss nabbing the first two wickets for the innings, Chloe Tryon hit some massive shots for the Hurricanes in both their games against the Stars, Sophie Devine whacked 72 from 45 against the Renegades, and Marizanne Kapp was typically miserly with her run rate with the ball for the Sixers, but generous with her fast-bowler glare.

Takeaways and best moments

  • Amelia Kerr’s immediate impact with the ball for the Heat against the Sixers turned the game upside-down and though she missed out on wickets against the Thunder, she bowled well and slowed the run rate enough to give the Heat a sniff.
  • Phoebe Litchfield’s defiant innings with Alex Blackwell against the Sixers, and then to back it up with the same batting partner to get the Thunder over the line against the Heat.

Phoebe Litchfield was just one of a number of young debutants across the weekend and they all played extremely well. It proves that the pathways CA invested in at the beginning of the WBBL are now working so I’m looking forward to many more players coming through the system.

Honourable mention

Grace Harris on the mic – always great value and fantastic insights into the game.

And then there was this:

Tweet with Grace Harris Nickname

The ch7 commentators asked for suggestions on nicknames for Grace, who apparently hasn’t had one that sticks yet. I came up with this one and sent it in and it ended up on the telly. Bonus – it was a commentator favourite, and Grace herself said she liked it so my work here is done 🙂

How’d I do with my predictions?

I got 5 from 7 with a game to come. Not bad for the start of the season.

See you Friday with my round 2 predictions.


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