Six of Australia's top cricketers will feature in the England women’s Super League this August, after the England and Wales Cricket Board today announced the player allocations for the second edition of the tournament on Thursday.
Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars allrounder Ellyse Perry leads the compliment of Australians who will feature in this year's tournament, which will kick off on August 10 following the end of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England.
Perry will again feature for the Loughborough Lightning, where she'll be joined by powerful batter Elyse Villani and leg-spinner Kristen Beams, who will be making their Super League debuts.
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Australia opener Beth Mooney will again line up for Yorkshire Diamonds, seamer Rene Farrell returns for Surrey Stars, while allrounder Jess Jonassen will feature for Lancashire Thunder, having missed last year's tournament while she recovered from knee surgery.
Beams' signing is just reward for an outstanding year in the green and gold, while Villani's good form with the bat has been supplemented by her growing prowess with the ball.
Australia captain Meg Lanning, who was contracted to Surrey Stars in 2016 but was forced to pull out due to a shoulder injury, has opted to sit out this year’s tournament.
The Super League will again be a round robin T20 tournament played over 17 days from August 10-26, culminating in a finals day involving the top three teams on September 1.
Each of the six Super League teams can field up to three overseas players, with 16 imports - all of whom featured in last summer's Rebel Women's Big Bash League - from four nations, including West Indies skipper Stafanie Taylor and New Zealand captain Suzie Bates, currently locked in. The final two overseas players will be confirmed closer to the tournament.
Meanwhile, England star Sarah Taylor returns after a year out of the game, signing with Lancashire Thunder.
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"This is a huge summer for women’s cricket and we look forward to seeing the world’s best talent on show at both the ICC Women’s World Cup followed by the Super League,” ECB Director of Women’s Cricket Clare Connor said.
"It is an opportunity to continue to raise the bar for our sport.
"After the success of 2016, we know we can expect to see some outstanding performances in the second season of this T20 competition."
Southern Vipers claimed the inaugural title in 2016 and will launch this year’s edition when they meet Western Storm in a replay of last year’s final.
Six matches will be held as double headers with the men’s domestic T20 competition, with those games to be broadcast on Sky Sports alongside the finals day.
International stars in the Super League
Lancashire Thunder: Jess Jonassen (Aus), Kate Cross, Danielle Hazell, Sarah Taylor (All Eng), Amy Satterhwaite, Lea Tahuhu (both NZ)
Loughborough Lightning: Kristen Beams, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani (all Aus), Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones, Beth Langston (All Eng)
Southern Vipers: Tash Farrant, Danielle Wyatt (Both Eng), Suzie Bates (NZ), Hayley Matthews (WI), Dane van Niekerk (SA)
Surrey Stars: Rene Farrell (Aus), Tammy Beaumont, Alex Hartley, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver (all Eng), Marizanne Kapp (SA)
Western Storm: Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson (all Eng), Rachel Priest (NZ), Stafanie Taylor (WI)
Yorkshire Diamonds: Beth Mooney (Aus), Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn, Lauren Winfield (All Eng), Sophie Devine (NZ), Sune Luus (SA)