Match Preview – Sixers vs Strikers, WBBL 2022/23, Final

Match Preview – Sixers vs Strikers, WBBL 2022/23, Final

Big picture

The stakes are obviously huge as the eighth edition of the WBBL culminates on Saturday at North Sydney Oval.

The Sydney Sixers are looking to regain their status as the WBBL’s powerhouse, while the Adelaide Strikers are looking for redemption after a heartbreaking loss in last year’s decider against the Perth Scorchers.

The Sixers dominated the early years of the competition and featured in the first four finals, including back-to-back titles in the second and third editions. But they have not won since their victory over the Scorchers in February 2018 and suffered the shock of a wooden spoon last season.

After a remarkable comeback, the Sixers will start favorites against the Strikers after a dominant regular season in which they finished on top with 11 wins to automatically qualify for the finals.

Standing in their way is a side looking for their first title. They will be out to put to rest the ghosts of the loss to the Scorchers almost exactly 12 months ago to rest with nine players from that game likely to take the field on Saturday.

Blessed with arguably the best attack in the tournament, the Strikers should feel confident having narrowly beaten the Sixers this season, albeit a month ago in the last clash between the teams.

A near-capacity crowd is expected at North Sydney Oval in a strong finish to a tournament.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches; last first)

Sydney Sixers WWWWW
Adelaide Strikers WWWLNR

In the spotlight

After being crowned Player of the Year by the WBBL, Ashleigh Gardner is being tossed around as arguably the best player in the country. Her spectacular season has included 339 runs at a strike rate of 153.39 and 23 wickets at 15.08, and her off-spin has improved significantly. She has emerged as a world-class all-rounder and resigned with the Sixers for another three years. There is a lot of hype surrounding the 25-year-old and all eyes will be on Gardner on the big stage.

If the Strikers are to earn redemption then the skipper Tahlia McGrath must probably have a big game. The all-rounder was slow against the Heat as she returned to bowling after suffering a back injury earlier in the month. She has confirmed her availability to bowl in the final in a vital option against the Sixers’ high-strung order. Having been named vice-captain for Australia’s upcoming T20 tour of India, McGrath will be out to showcase his leadership skills under pressure.

Team news

The Sixers should be well rested after a week off and also have the advantage of playing at home. They have superstars across the board with an even spread of contributors, with young speedy Kate Peterson stepping up in place of injured Maitlan Brown.

Sydney Sixers (possible): 1 Suzie Bates, 2 Alyssa Healy (wk), 3 Ellyse Perry (capt), 4 Ashleigh Gardner, 5 Erin Burns, 6 Nicole Bolton, 7 Sophie Ecclestone, 8 Kate Peterson, 9 Angelina Genford, 10 Lauren Cheatle, 11 Stella Campbell

After their thrilling win in The Challenger against the Brisbane Heat on Thursday night, the Strikers didn’t have much time to rest – they were on a flight at 6am to Sydney – but they should enjoy the surroundings of North Sydney Oval, where they just defeated the Sydney Thunder. five days ago starring Megan Schutt with a stunning six-wicket haul. They have a hardened finals team with Striker’s core group from last season intact.

Adelaide Strikers (possible): 1 Katie Mack, 2 Laura Wolvaardt (wk), 3 Tahlia McGrath (capt), 4 Deandra Dottin, 5 Bridget Patterson, 6 Madeline Penna, 7 Tegan McPharlin (wk), 8 Amanda-Jade Wellington, 9 Jemma Barsby , 10 Megan Schutt, 11 Darcie Brown

Pitch and relationship

Sunny conditions are forecast in Sydney with a maximum temperature of 23 degrees to complement the picturesque North Sydney Oval. The pitch is usually conducive to batting and the ground’s short boundaries and fast outfield should ensure a high-scoring contest.

Statistics and trivia

  • The Sixers have won 12 out of 17 games overall against the Strikers.
  • Megan Schutt and Amanda-Jade Wellington are among the top four wicket takers in the tournament.
  • Only the WBBL06 final did not feature either the Sixers or the Strikers as the Sydney Thunder beat the Melbourne Stars to claim the title.
  • Quotations

    “I think given the density of the competition and how many games we’ve played in such a short space of time, this week is a real advantage. I think everyone got a chance to say work on something or get out what they needed. It was also just a really great chance to spend some more time together.”
    Ellyse Perry have no worries after the break before the final

    “Losing a final is never easy. We were quite disappointed last year and we used that hunger to drive the whole season. We go out there with no fear, to play our best cricket and we want that trophy quite badly.”
    Tahlia McGrath on channeling last season’s near miss

    Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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