Gaurav Joshi is a freelance cricket journalist. He had previously covered cricket for ABC Radio, BBC Asia, Mid-Day News, ESPNcricinfo and Wisden.
Played: 8 Won: 3 Lost: 3 Points: 8 Ladder position: 5th
Strengths: The form of Sophie Devine with the bat has been one of the major reasons the Strikers have three wins to date. The White Ferns allrounder has already scored a hundred and with 230 runs, she is the second leading run scorer in WBBL|02.
Weakness: The Strikers have been far too dependent on Devine. English import’s Charlotte Edwards and Tammy Beaumont are yet to really announce themselves in WBBL|02, with the former currently out injured while Beaumont’s first fifty of the season came in their eighth match. On the bowling front the Strikers have struggled to take wickets with no bowler featuring in the top 10 wicket takers in the tournament.
Breakout Star: Tahlia McGrath has been threatening to break free but has been starved of opportunity. The 21-year-old has registered three not-outs with a top score of 27 but one senses she is due for a big finish to the season.
Played: 7 Won: 3 Lost: 3 Points: 6 Ladder position: 7th
Strengths: There is plenty of depth in the Heat batting but it is matter of the order gelling together. The team also has plenty of variety in their bowling ranks and is probably one of the best fielding units in WBBL|02, as shown in their tight victory over the table topping Melbourne Stars.
Weakness: Apart from couple of innings from Beth Mooney at the top of order, no other batter has been able to stamp their authority on an innings. It has resulted in the Heat putting up a string of low scores in 20 overs, either chasing or batting first. Unfortunately, they have lost their prized West Indies recruit Deandra Dottin to a fractured cheekbone and will also be without the services of Southern Stars pacer Holly Ferling for a couple of matches in the run home due to an elbow complaint.
Breakout Star: The ambidextrous Jemma Barsby has shown plenty of promise with both bat and ball for the Heat. Batting in the middle order Barsby has had resurrected the Heat’s innings with gritty knocks in the later overs and also held her nerve by bowling in the clutch situations in the close finishes.
Played: 7 Won: 3 Lost: 3 Points: 7 Ladder position: 6th
Strengths: It has been a collective effort with the bat so far for the Hurricanes. They have four players who have scored more than hundred runs this season – Heather Knight, Georgia Redmayne, Hayley Matthews and Amy Satterthwaite - and each one of them has a strike-rate over 100.
Weakness: The Hurricanes have been far over reliant on West Indies allrounder Matthews. At times the Hurricanes have also missed having a front line spinner, particularly on pitches that have assisted a bit of turn.
Breakout Star: Wicketkeeper Georgia Redmayne has been instrumental at top of the order. The left-hander has hit 19 fours from her six matches to play the anchor role perfectly. She has also taken a couple of good catches behind the stumps.
Played: 7 Won: 4 Lost: 3 Points: 8 Ladder position: 2nd
Strengths: The opening partnership of Meg Lanning and Emma Inglis have laid the platform for the Stars in four of their seven matches. The pair have four opening stands in excess of 50 which has resulted in the Stars notching up some big scores in the tournament.
Weakness: The middle-order for the Stars haven’t quite managed to capitalise on the formidable starts provided by Lanning and Inglis. Despite the return of the experienced Jess Cameron and the form of Katie Mack, the lack of power hitting is one of the biggest weaknesses for the Stars.
Breakout Star: Emma Inglis struggled a bit in the middle-order last season but the decision to move her to accompany Lanning at the top has been smart move. Her ability to hit the ball over the top during the power play has given the Stars a flying start on more than a few occasions.
Played: 8 Won: 2 Lost: 6 Points: 4 Ladder position: 8th
Strengths: The Renegades have the luxury of not relying too heavily on one single player. The form of Kris Britt at No.3 and Dani Wyatt at No.4 has also been pleasing with pair featuring in the top 10 runs scorers for the tournament to date.
Weakness: The Renegades’ bowling unit has been guilty of bowling way too many ‘four’ balls. They have conceded highest number of boundaries of any team in the competition and this will be an area the team will look to improve on in their remaining six matches.
Breakout Star: Sophie Molineux has almost become a cult hero in WBBL|02 with her performances with the bat, ball and in the field. Starting off in the middle-order, Molineux’s stunning batting has already secured a promotion to the opening slot. Bowling her left-arm spin, Molineux has nabbed five wickets and also inflicted two run-outs.
Played: 6 Won: 4 Lost: 2 Points: 8 Ladder position: 3rd
Strengths: The opening bowling combination of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole in the last couple of matches is making a world of difference to the Scorchers. Add to it the ever-reliable Suzie Bates and the Scorchers are rallying nicely for a strong finish to the season.
Weakness: Apart from Elyse Villani no other batter has been able to stamp their authority in the matches. If the Scorchers are to go deep in the tournament they need more output from the likes of Nicole Bolton and Suzie Bates.
Breakout Star: Heather Graham has been a shining light with the bat and ball for the Scorchers. Graham has picked up six wickets at 15.66 and also shown great maturity with the bat to give the Scorchers some much-needed depth in their batting order.
Played: 7 Won: 4 Lost: 3 Points: 8 Ladder position: 4th
Strengths: The Sixers arguably have the most devastating batting order in the competition. They have scored the highest score (164) of WBBL|02 so far and with South African skipper Dane Van Niekerk batting at No.5 the Sixers have proved then can still post healthy totals despite losing early wickets.
Weakness: Apart from Sarah Aley and Marazine Kapp, the Sixers’ other bowlers have been vulnerable. All the other bowlers - including captain Ellyse Perry - are conceding more than 6.5 runs an over, which mean the Sixers often need a big score to be safe.
Breakout Star: Ashleigh Gardner batting at No.3 is having some sort of season for the Sixers. The talented batter is third on the runs table with 217 runs at an impressive strike rate of 114.81.
Played: 8 Won: 4 Lost: 3 Points: 9 Ladder position: 1st
Strengths: Led by Rene Farrell, the Thunder bowling attack as a collective group is the best in the business. Incredibly, the Thunder have four bowlers who concede fewer than six runs per over. The Thunder will also be bolstered by the return of Southern Stars left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle, who missed the first half of the tournament through illness.
Weakness: While the Thunder have been blessed with abundance of spinning option, their pace stocks are more limited. On pitches that have a bit of pace and bounce the Thunder have been found wanting because of the lack of an extra quality medium pacer.
Breakout Star: Young spinner Samantha Bates has been superb with the new ball. Given the responsibility to bowl in the power play, Bates has an economy rate of just 4.5. The left-arm spinner has also managed to pick up six wickets to be one of the rising stars in the competition.