Scorchers poach World Cup star Mooney
Australia opener joins Perth Scorchers for the next two Rebel WBBL seasons, departing Brisbane Heat following back-to-back titles
29 July 2020, 10:05 AM AEST
The world's top-ranked T20 batter Beth Mooney is the latest Australia star to find a new Rebel WBBL home, officially signing with the Perth Scorchers for the next two seasons.
As first reported by cricket.com.au earlier this month, Mooney is heading west after five years with the Brisbane Heat, having been named player of the final in both of the Queensland club’s back-to-back title wins during that period.
The left-handed opener is a welcome addition to the Scorchers' batting line-up in the wake of Meg Lanning’s departure, after the former Perth skipper last week confirmed she would return home to Melbourne to play for the Stars in WBBL|06.
Mooney has been at the peak of her powers throughout the past 12 months; she was the second highest run scorer behind Sophie Devine in WBBL|05, smashing 743 runs with a strike rate of 125.08, including an unbeaten 56 from 45 in the final against Devine’s Adelaide Strikers.
Then, opening the batting alongside Alyssa Healy during Australia’s triumphant T20 World Cup campaign on home soil earlier this year, Mooney was named Player of the Tournament after striking 259 runs at 64.75 including 78 not out in the final.
That campaign saw the 26-year-old Queenslander rise to the top of the International Cricket Council’s T20 batting rankings for the first time.
In all, Mooney has scored 2576 runs in five WBBL seasons, second only to Ellyse Perry’s 2612 runs for the Sydney Sixers.
One of her most memorable knocks came against Perry’s team in the WBBL|04 final, when she battled illness and heat exhaustion to score a match-winning 46-ball 65.
Keeper-bat Mooney, who admitted several months ago she faced a difficult decision around her Big Bash future, said she was excited to make Perth her new WBBL home.
"I’m really happy with my decision to join the Scorchers for the next few seasons," she said.
"I have heard great things about the people and culture at the WACA and I love the way Perth has gone about their cricket over the years."
Mooney said part of the reason for her move was the chance to work closely with Australian assistant coach Shelley Nitschke, who takes the reins this season after Lisa Keightley’s appointment as England head coach, as well as current WACA CEO and former Australia wicketkeeper Christina Matthews.
"(They are) two very highly regarded women and leaders of our great game, and to reunite with Nicole Bolton and Heather Graham who have both been part of the Australian set-up," she said.
"I can’t wait to be a part of the team and continue to learn and evolve as a player.
"I know that they are building for success and I’m looking forward to being part of that and bringing my knowledge and experience to the side."
Nitschke said it was Mooney’s record under pressure that made her such a valuable addition to the club.
"Beth is one of the best T20 batters in the world at the moment and has experienced great success at both the domestic and international levels," the Scorchers coach said.
"Her T20 statistics over the past 12 months are phenomenal, but what is really impressive is her ability to deliver on the big stage and under pressure.
"That sort of character in the team can be inspirational.
"Beth also has great cricket awareness and I am sure she’ll be able to pass on some of her knowledge and thoughts on the game to the playing group."
Mooney is the sole marquee player on the Scorcher’s current list, after Bolton’s Cricket Australia contract was not renewed this year.
With each club able to sign up to five marquees – with a maximum of three from overseas – Perth can target some of the world’s top players through the rest of the contracting period, due to end on September 25.
The Scorchers have reportedly been in talks with New Zealand superstar Devine – the world’s top-ranked T20I allrounder – who is out of contract with the Adelaide Strikers.
If they were to entice the 30-year-old across to Perth, it would see the club field last summer’s two highest run scorers.
Devine produced the best individual season in the competition’s history in WBBL|05, scoring 769 runs with a strike rate above 130 and collecting 19 wickets at 20.68.
The White Ferns captain does have strong ties to the state, having held a WA contract in 2019-20, playing four Women’s National Cricket League matches for the state after spending the southern winter training at the WACA – a move she credited for her incredible run of form last summer.
Scorchers squad so far: Jemma Barsby, Nicole Bolton, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Emma King, Beth Mooney (Aus)