Kiwi County Tour: Women's T20 Super League Preview

Bates plays for Southern because it's like the English version of Otago, yeah?

Bates plays for Southern because it's like the English version of Otago, yeah?

Two T20 competitions form the foundation of Women's T20 cricket and are perhaps the most important assets in Women's cricket at the moment. One is the Women's Big Bash League in Australia which enjoys fantastic coverage on the internet and even gets a few games on free telly (wow! Wonder what it's like to watch sport on free telly...), the other is the England's T20 Super League and exists on similar level to the WBBL.

With the Super League set to get underway on August 10, we are set to see a cluster of Aotearoa's best cricketers play key roles in their respective franchises. Any time there is a restriction on overseas players, the importance (and expectation) around overseas players increases. This amplifies the work of our kiwis and with 16 overseas players signed up by SL teams, we can't overlook how funky it is to have Aotearoa contributing six of them. 

Lachasire Thunder

Amy Satterthwaite

T20I

Bat: 19.74avg, 89.42sr.
Ball: 23.28avg, 7.06sr.

Last Year

Bat: 6th in runs, 36.50avg, 102.81sr.
Ball: 33rd in wickets, 54.50avg, 7.60rpo.

Lea Tahuhu

T20I

Bat: 6.33avg, 82.60sr.
Ball: 17.85avg, 5.32sr.

Last Year

Ball: 26th, 32.33avg, 8.31rpo.

Lancashire Thunder are one of two SL teams two boast two kiwis, so they would be a good place to start for kiwi fans looking for a team to support. Expect Satterthwaite to bat in the top-four and there will be a lot of responsibility on her shoulders to ensure that Lancashire truck along nicely with runs; Satterthwaite is capable of ticking things over and smacking it round. This enables Satterthwaite to bat according to game situations, which when combined with her experience should have her as one of the best performing kiwis in the SL.

An interesting little battle to keep tabs on this year will be Tahuhu vs Huddleston as Tahuhu is already known as one of the best seamers in the world and Huddleston will be gunning to join Tahuhu some time soon. Tahuhu's T20I average (17.85) is considerably better than her ODI average of 31.03 and having featured heavily in the rise of the WBBL and SL, Tahuhu has gained valuable experience at this level of cricket.

Southern Vipers

Suzie Bates

T20I

Bat: 27avg, 106.08sr.
Ball: 22.97avg, 6.60rpo.

Last Year

Bat: 2nd in runs, 46.40avg, 113.17sr.
Ball: 2nd in wickets, 13.77avg, 6.09rpo.

Defending champion and all-round SL superstar Suzie Bates is back with her Southern Vipers as they look to go back to back in snatching the SL crown. Bates finished 2nd in runs and wickets last year to West Indies' Stafanie Taylor and while Bates was arguably the 2nd best batter in the competition (Taylor scored more runs, with a better average and strike-rate), there's a case to be made for Bates being the best bowler; Bates played one less game that Taylor, took 2 less wickets but her average and rpo were both better than Taylor's.

What Bates does with the ball will hold the most interest for me as she's a near-certainty to score plenty of runs. During the World Cup, Bates wasn't as good as she has been at the bowling crease and the lack of impact or consistency with that extra bowling option hindered the White Ferns, especially when Sophie Devine couldn't bowl. Having shown that she's a fine international seamer, Bates could reinforce this with a strong tournament, or we could be slowly moving towards Bates being known predominantly as a batter.

Western Storm

Holly Huddleston

T20I

Bat: 5avg, 35.71sr.
Ball: 16.25avg, 4.64rpo.

Rachel Priest

T20I

Bat: 16.82avg, 106.02sr.

Last Year

Bat: 9th in runs, 19avg, 98.51sr.

Lancashire have two kiwi big guns, Western Storm are a wee bit more low key with their kiwi duo and perhaps that's more your style? Western are a great option to support given they have the kiwi duo and the ceiling for Huddleston and Priest this year is rather high. Huddleston is an unknown quantity in the SL despite having played some County cricket this year - this is her first SL campaign after all - and we could legit see Huddleston emerge as the breakout star via aggressive seam bowling, smart change ups and accuracy. Huddleston has quickly climbed the White Ferns ladder in a limited time period, so there's every reason that she will be a key wicket-taker for Western and in combination with Stafanie Taylor, they could form an impressive bowling attack.

Taylor's going to score runs, as is English batter Heather Knight so when you've got that sort of bowling artillery and world-class run-scoring, Western are going to demand attention. Priest could feature in that group, although her style doesn't lend itself to consistency and in T20 cricket you've got to take the good with the bad when your an attacking opening batter. Priest will have a crack at the top and keep wicket for Western, so she'll always be in the game and the Storm will only need Priest to chip in with a few hefty knocks when others don't contribute to enjoy success. There's always the chance that Priest runs into a purple patch of form though and blows everyone away with her hitting.

Yorkshire Diamonds

Sophie Devine

T20I

Bat: 24.39avg, 114.69sr.
Ball: 15.82avg, 5.81rpo.

Last Year

Bat: 17th in runs, 15.33avg, 92.92sr.
Ball: 12th in wickets, 22avg, 8rpo.

In a similar vein to Suzie Bates, the intrigue levels are through the roof with regards to what Devine is going to dish up as a bowling option throughout this SL. Injury severely restricted Devine's output during the World Cup and part of Devine's appeal is that she's equally as talented with bat and ball, equally as likely to influence a game with bat or ball. Now there's question marks about her bowling, so we'll have to follow Devine's SL journey to suss out what role she is going to play for Yorkshire.

If Devine doesn't bowl and only plays as a batter, that's 1,000 percent all goodies. Devine, like Priest, can be a little inconsistent but when the moon, sun and stars are in Devine's favour there's no more destructive batter in world cricket. Devine is likely to bat No.4/5, although if she's picked solely as a batter, we could possibly see Devine open where she would be tasked with instantly turning the game in favour of Yorkshire. Otherwise, batting down the order suits Devine perfectly as it's less about how many runs your score and more about how quickly you score your runs.

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