#KiwiWBBL05: Sophie Devine Starts Smackin'

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Two games into WBBL 05 and Sophie Devine is already doing as Sophie Devine tends to do in T20 cricket across the ditch. While Devine's now a WBBL veteran, Amelia Kerr is in her first campaign and showed off her bag of tricks taking 3 wickets via her wrongie, plus her Brisbane Heat comrade Maddy Green started nicely to set up an enticing few weeks following our White Ferns in Australia.

Adelaide Strikers

Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine

In two games vs Melbourne Renegades, Adelaide grabbed a win and a loss which featured nifty performances from Devine. The first game was a win, with Strikers bowling first and Devine snaring 1w @ 4rpo in her 4 overs as Renegades wiggled their way to 117/7 in 20 overs. From there, Devine blasted 72* @ 160sr without much support from fellow kiwi Suzie Bates who was dismissed by Lea Tahuhu for 2. Devine hit 6 fours and 4 sixes, guiding Adelaide to their target in 15.2ov and losing just 4 wickets in the process.

The loss came with a more even spread of run-scoring from Adelaide batting first, although it was still Devine leading the way. Devine whacked 48 @ 160sr before being dismissed early in the 10th over, while Bates worked her way to 24 @ 80sr and was dismissed an over later to set up a fairly solid total of 152/5. With 2w @ 8rpo in 4ov from Devine and 1w @ 8.50rpo in 2ov from Bates, Adelaide enjoyed decent all-round service from their kiwis but were unable to do enough damage with the ball as Renegades made their way to 154/5 with an over to spare.

Devine leads all run-scorers and her tally of 8 sixes from the opening weekend is the best in WBBL05, next best in terms of sixes is a total of 4. Also a factor with the ball, Devine has 3w @ 16avg/6rpo and this is exactly the level of cricket we have come to expect from our kiwi Strikers. Adelaide next play on Saturday.

Melbourne Renegades

Lea Tahuhu

A win and a loss for Lea Tahuhu in back to back games vs Adelaide Strikers, in which Tahuhu was not required to bat. Tahuhu definitely bowled though, taking 2w in a single over as Renegades lost that first game, finishing with 2w @ 5rpo in 4ov and then went wicket-less in the second game, conceding 9rpo in her 4ov. Tahuhu has 2w @ 28avg/7rpo all up from two games and will be in action on Wednesday, then on the weekend.

Sydney Thunder

Rachel Priest

Two games for Rachel Priest's Sydney Thunder and another win-loss start. The first outing saw a Sydney derby go in favour of Sydney Sixers, who put up 192/6 and then defended it strongly in restricting Thunder to 143/9. Priest managed just 1 off 5 balls, in that loss before rectifying it with a decent showing in the second game which was a win over Brisbane Heat.

Bowling first again, Thunder did a wee bit better to limit Heat to 150/9 and Priest came out swinging to smack 31 @ 182.35. No sixes, just 5 fours before Maddy Green took a catch to dismiss Priest in the 6th over, before Thunder went on to cruise to victory in reaching 153/3 with 7 balls to spare. Pries is coming off an almighty Women's T20 Super League tournament in England and this is a solid start to WBBL05; consistency will be crucial for Priest though.

Brisbane Heat

Maddy Green and Amelia Kerr

Brisbane Heat followed suit in tasting a win and a loss in their first two games, starting with a win over Sydney Sixers. Batting first, Heat enjoyed value from Maddy Green who hit 21 @ 150sr batting #5 which bumped Brisbane up to 165/6 with Amelia Kerr not required with the willow. Kerr was however, required with the ball and sent a warning shot across WBBL in ripping through the Sixers tail taking 3w @ 2.66rp in 3ov.

This was rather spectacular for a WBBL debutant, although some context is required. Sixers were already 72/6 before Kerr took her first wicket, meaning that this is the ideal scenario for a leggy to bowl as the opposition's lower order have far too much responsibility in chasing runs - while leggies and wrongies are tweaking both ways. Kerr did her job though and took her 3w with Sixers only able to add 1 run, all out for 73.

Game two was a loss to Sydney Thunder, in which Green hit 13 @ 130sr and Kerr gave it a nudge down the order with 8 @ 133.33sr. Heat put up 150/9 and couldn't defend it against Priest and her Thunder homies, who cruised to victory. Kerr bowled 4ov @ 6rpo, without a wicket and I'm super intrigued as to how Kerr rolls through WBBL05, given how these first two games played out. Kerr could be a dominant force and grow into her role with Brisbane, she could struggle against the world's best batswoman and she could also sit somewhere in the middle as an inconsistent option. As one of the premier young talents in world cricket, how Kerr deals with the step up to WBBL05 is a yarn to keep tabs on, followed by Green's work with the bat.

Green didn't put up big runs in the opening weekend, she did however chip in with impressive strike-rates which can be just as important as going large. With an overall strike-rate of 141.66, Green has shown a glimpse of surpassing my expectations and whether she can maintain a strike-rate of 120ish batting in the middle order for Heat is another thingy to pay attention to. Brisbane Heat next play on Saturday.

Melbourne Stars

Katey Martin

Only one game for Katey Martin, as her Stars went down to Hobart Hurricanes. Martin found herself batting #5 and chimed in with 4 @ 33.33sr, as Stars managed 136/7 and were unable to defend it. Hurricanes reached 137/5 in 18.3 overs, fabulous. Stars next play on Saturday.

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