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WBBL|03 preview: Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers are looking to carry in momentum from last year's final appearance to again content for the WBBL|03 title

Previous WBBL|03 previews:

The squad: Elyse Villani (C), Nicole Bolton, Katherine Brunt (Eng), Meg Lanning, Megan Banting, Mathilda Carmichael, Piepa Cleary, Lauren Ebsary, Heather Graham, Katie Hartshorn, Mikayla Hinkley, Emma King, Chloe Piparo, Natalie Sciver (Eng), Emily Smith

In: Mikayla Hinkley (Thunder), Meg Lanning (Stars), Natalie Sciver (Stars)

Out:  Suzie Bates (Strikers), Emma Biss, Anya Shrubsole

Replacement overseas player: Thamsyn Newtown (NZ), replacement for Meg Lanning (shoulder)

Mel Jones previews WBBL|03: Perth Scorchers

The inside word with coach Lisa Keightley: “We’ve got a few changes; it’s how quickly you can gel together as a team and get going, getting some momentum into the tournament. We’ll be prepping hard to start well and then hopefully there we’ll get some momentum and play some good cricket again and win they games we need to to get to the semis. I think it’s really exciting that someone like Meg (Lanning) would want to come and play for the Scorchers, I think that’s credit to the WACA and the Scorchers family on creating a program that you get world-class players wanting to come to your franchise. With the local contracts, the WA girls, they’re improving all the time and they’re starting to play some really good cricket and grow in confidence and belief. Who will stand up this year? I have no doubt the reason why we made the finals last year was because our local players improved and stepped up.”

Fiery Brunt skittles Strikers

The talking point: Can the Scorchers go one better in WBBL|03? After narrowly missing out on a final berth in the inaugural competition and finishing runners-up last Rebel WBBL season, the Scorchers are champing at the bit to have another crack on the big stage. Losing captain Suzie Bates to the Strikers hurts, but the Scorchers have nailed their recruiting, luring superstar Australia batter Meg Lanning from the Stars on a three-year deal, although the injured national captain will be sidelined this season.  England allrounder Natalie Sciver also joins the mix, as does promising teenage batter Mikayla Hinkley. The experience of internationals Sciver, Nicole Bolton, Katherine Brunt and new captain Elyse Villani will complement a core of WA products as they look to again push for finals.

The WBBL|02 result: The runners-up. The Scorchers have been consistent performers, and just seven runs separated them from the title last summer. Their players had seasons to remember, with Elyse Villani ranked fourth overall in the batting with 442, and Nicole Bolton 10th with 324. Spinner Emma King was fifth in the bowling stakes, claiming 17 wickets. The Scorchers won eight matches and were the second-highest scoring team in the competition.

Vicious Villani flays Thunder attack

The one to watch: Elyse Villani. The newly appointed Scorchers captain had sensational form with the bat across the opening two WBBL seasons, notching up 768 runs across 31 innings, going at a strike rate of 109.25. Explosive with the bat and solid in the field, the second-year Fury captain will look to again impose herself on the competition and will be eyeing another run-drenched summer in orange.

The rising star: Mikayla Hinkley. The young batter managed just two games for Sydney Thunder last year, but new coach Lisa Keightley is optimistic about what she will bring with her new opportunity at the Scorchers. A former NSW Under 15 and Under 18 captain, Hinkley has performed well in the T20 format and will be looking to impress at her new club.

NSW product Mikayla Hinkley will play for Scorchers // Getty
NSW product Mikayla Hinkley will play for Scorchers // Getty

The changes:  Perth Scorchers’ biggest signing will not take the field this summer, but they will be optimistic about going one better than last season’s runner-up finish with quality recruits on board. The Scorchers landed the signature of the summer, locking in the world’s best batter and former Melbourne Stars captain Meg Lanning for three seasons. Although Lanning has been ruled out for  Rebel WBBL|03 season following shoulder surgery, her leadership around the club will be a massive boost. Exciting England allrounder Natalie Sciver has also crossed from the Stars, joining countrywoman and pace spearhead Katherine Brunt in the side. Promising 19-year-old batter Hinkley has made the long journey across from Sydney Thunder, rounding out the Scorchers’ recruits, while the club has retained the bulk of last year’s playing group.

The fixtures:

December 10 v Heat – North Sydney Oval

December 12 v Sixers – North Dalton Park, Wollongong

December 15 v Heat – Allan Border Field

December 26 v Stars – The Furnace

December 27 v Stars – The Furnace

December 30 v Sixers – Lilac Hill, Perth

January 7 v Thunder – Lilac Hill, Perth

January 8 v Thunder – The Furnace

January 13 v Strikers – Traeger Park, Alice Springs

January 14 v Strikers – Traeger Park, Alice Springs

January 21 v Hurricanes – Lilac Hill, Perth

January 27 v Renegades – Camberwell Sports Ground, Camberwell

January 28 v Renegades – Camberwell Sports Ground, Camberwell