Sutherland to the fore for new breed of WBBL star
One of several teenagers making a splash in WBBL|06, Annabel Sutherland's break-out innings against Hobart underlined how quickly the women's game is evolving
19 November 2020, 03:09 PM AEST
If an example was needed about how far the women's game has come in the professional era it was provided in two consecutive deliveries at Hurstville Oval yesterday.
Nineteen-year-old Annabel Sutherland, the Melbourne Stars allrounder who made her national debut earlier this year, boshed two straight sixes from consecutive deliveries bowled by Hobart Hurricanes seamer Chloe Rafferty.
The first zoomed over wide long off, the second was a slower ball that was picked and dispatched over long on, with Sutherland putting her whole body through the shot as if she was driving off the tee on the par-five first.
While Hurstville Oval is one of the smaller, if not the smallest, venues used this season, those shots would have cleared the rope on any ground.
To see a player of Sutherland's lean stature generate the power required to launch sixes like that points to how the professionalism in the women's game is making the players faster and stronger.
With 11 matches remaining in WBBL|06, 179 sixes have been struck. For the entire WBBL|01 tournament, there were 111 sixes.
Sutherland's five sixes this season would have put her seventh on the list of most maximums in the inaugural season of the WBBL. This summer, there are nine players who have hit five sixes and 11 who have hit more.
While it's exciting seeing sixes getting smashed, it's equally exhilarating watching a fast bowler charge in and send down some heat.
Darcie Brown, Stella Campbell and Maitlan Brown have bowled with great pace the season, with the speed gun nudging 120kph.
Brown is 17, Campbell is 18 and they've still got some growing to do.
Sutherland says she focused on getting stronger this preseason and those sixes are the result of an increased strength base.
"I feel like I'm hitting the ball harder at the moment," Sutherland said yesterday.
"Coming off a pretty solid pre-season, my first one, I feel like I've got some good power and I'm hitting the ball pretty well so it was nice to get out there and reap the rewards of a bit of hard work.
"Hopefully I can take that into the next few games and into the finals."
Sutherland added five fours to those two sixes in her career-best 72 which helped the Stars claim victory and seal top spot on the ladder.
While there are still two matches left before the Stars play in their first finals, Sutherland says the Melbourne club can't help but look past the regular season.
"We can't wait for that semi and I think all the girls are looking towards that," she said.
"Obviously we've got two more games which are really important against two really good sides.
"We're trying to not look too far ahead but we're really pumped for the next few weeks."