WBBL 2020 semi-finals: All you need to know about the four teams
Another exciting season of the Rebel Women's Big Bash League (WBBL 2020) is about to conclude now as we head into the semi-finals on Wednesday. Melbourne Stars, Brisbane Heat, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder are the four teams to make it to the knockouts and here we'll take a look at each of them, and how they shape up going into this all-important stage.
Most Runs: Beth Mooney (524), Sophie Devine (448)
Most wickets: Sarah Glenn (16), Taneale Peschel (13)
Perth Scorchers finished fourth in the WBBL 2020 points table in the league stage. They ended up with 14 points, which was equal to that of Sydney Sixers who finished at the fifth spot. But the Scorchers qualified on account of a better NRR. They have to consider themselves lucky to qualify as their middle-order kept misfiring throughout the season.
Both of their top-order batters in Sophie Devine and Meg Lanning averaged over 50 in this season but there has been no significant contribution from the other batters.
They did face some setbacks during the season as well. Devine had to sit out of their last few matches due to injury but she is back now and that will be a massive boost as they go into the semi-finals.
Most Runs: Heather Knight (403), Rachael Haynes (268)
Most Wickets: SJ Johnson (18), Hannah Darlington (15)
Sydney Thunder performed well in this season despite their limitations. They finished as the third-placed team in the league stage and like the Scorchers, their batting was pretty much dependent on two batters -- Heather Knight and Rachael Haynes -- as well. Phoebe Litchfield has provided some sort of solidity to their middle-order, though. She has been averaging 33.20 this season with a total of 166 runs to her name.
But her strike-rate of 99.40 is an issue in this format. Sydney Thunder, in fact, have two other batters -- Tammy Beaumont and Rachel Trenaman -- who have not only scored at a strike-rate of below 100 but have a poor average of less than 20 as well. However, their performances have improved in the last few games and they are going into the semi-finals on the back of consecutive victories. So, they will be confident of doing well in the knockouts.
Most Runs: Georgia Redmayne (332), Grace Harris (240)
Most wickets: Amelia Kerr (16), Jess Jonassen (16)
Brisbane Heat finished second in the league stage but they have entered the semi-finals as a far more confident side than even Melbourne Stars, who finished at the top of the table. That's because of the run of form they enjoyed in the second half of the season. Brisbane Heat are coming into the knockouts on the back of seven back-to-back wins and that is a huge confidence booster going into such an important stage of the tournament. The main reason behind their success has been the all-round exploits of Jess Jonassen, Grace Harris and Amelia Kerr.
Both Jonassen and Harris have scored over 200 runs with the bat and at the same time, they have taken 16 and 13 wickets respectively. Kerr, who has also picked up 16 wickets, has contributed with valuable 96 runs down the order as well. Laura Kimmince's fearless batting has been the X-factor for them as well. She has scored 140 runs at an outstanding strike-rate of 202.89. Wicketkeeper-batter Georgia Redmayne has scored over 300 runs, batting at the top of their order, and she has given steady starts to her team in almost every match. All of them will be eager to keep the momentum going as they take on Melbourne Stars in the semi-finals.
Most Runs: Meg Lanning (458), Mignon du Preez (375)
Most Wickets: Natalie Sciver (18), Alana King (12)
Melbourne Stars did finish at the top of the table, but their confidence has been dented due to consecutive losses in their last two league matches. However, they had been a force to reckon with barring these two matches and they will be looking to get back to that form in the knockouts. Apart from Meg Lanning and Mignon du Preez, who are the top two run-getters for the Stars this season, Natalie Sciver deserves applause for here all-round exploits as well.
She is not only their highest wicket-taker with 18 wickets to her name at an average of 14.33, but has amassed 194 runs at an excellent average of 32.33 once again. Elyse Villani has played an important role too, with a contribution of 341 runs at an average of 31. The young leg-spinner Alana King has been pretty impressive with her bowling as well. She has not only picked up 12 wickets but has done that at an excellent economy rate of 6.00. If all of them can regain their mojo back, they will be pretty hard to beat in the semi-finals.
Women's Big bash League 2020 semi-final schedule
Semi-final 1, November 25: Melbourne Stars vs Perth Scorchers
Semi-final 2, November 26: Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Thunder
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @WBBL