Sixers and sevens: Why Sydney have failed to fire
Former Australia leg-spinner Kristen Beams takes a closer look at the contrasting fortunes of the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Renegades in WBBL|07
Putting together a successful T20 squad seems like a pretty straightforward task to us armchair experts. You simply get the best players and coaches and 'boom', you have a team that could win a WBBL title.
But it's rarely as simple as that and when terms such as 'click', 'gel', and 'momentum' get used, people start to wonder what it all means. But for players and coaches, you just know the feeling; when a team clicks and you feel like you have momentum, it's a beautiful thing. There's an ease to everything, and it kind of feels like being in a relationship where you finish each other's sentences.
On the flip side, if things aren't gelling, you feel a bit clunky and luck doesn't seem to go your way. It's a tough time as a player because you are trying harder and harder to come through the other side and it feels like you are just one good performance away from being back to your best.
Which brings us to the Sydney Sixers, who have been the subject of a lot of talk following their form and results so far in WBBL|07.
Do they have a great squad? Absolutely. Has that resulted in wins and a good ladder position? No.
Sometimes the 'click' moment can be something big or the sum of a lot of small things.
The Sixers made some off-season changes to their overseas players after multiple seasons with the Dane Van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp combination. Not only has that been a change to the skillset within the team, but also a change to the roles the rest of the players now must play.
This, in combination with the loss of the incredibly talented and consistent Sara Aley, has been a factor in my eyes.
Another key player missing has been Erin Burns, who has not been able to join the side after the Sixers were unable to gain government exemptions for her to enter the relevant states. Having Burns, a proven performer, in that middle order would have not only added some depth but also plenty of flexibility to the side.
While the Sixers are blessed with some of the best young talent in the country – Lauren Cheatle looks great in her return from injury, Maitlan Brown is a proven performer and Stella Campbell will be a star – it is important to remember that they are a young bowling group.
I have also found a nice comfy spot on the 'Ellyse Perry needs to bowl herself more' bandwagon because while they have so many options already, she is still a world-class bowler. It's a big generalisation with no statistics to back it up, but I'm a big believer that captains tend to under-bowl themselves.
Form goes up and down, but this is a team familiar with winning and they have the titles to show for it. They know how to win games and win titles, but they simply haven't been able to play the kind of cricket they know they are capable of. But for everyone being critical of them, take a moment because – while their finals chances are all but gone – they might just make you eat your words when it all clicks!
Speaking of clicking, a team that hit the ground running and hasn't looked back is the Melbourne Renegades. They are finishing each other's sentences up there on the top of the ladder.
They had a lot of change in the off-season with a new coach, a new captain, new players and also tweaks to their batting line-up. If they weren’t in the top four, we would probably be cutting them some slack due to all the upheaval, but it feels like everything they touch turns to gold at the moment. That is the momentum they will want to hang on to as we near the finals.
Ellen Falconer has been a great addition after Lea Tahuhu and Brown departed in the off-season, but their success has been down to how they have employed different plans based on the make-up of their team, not just about Falconer being a good pick up.
Bowling six overs of spin in the Powerplay has been a master stroke and the use of Harmanpreet Kaur in and out of the Powerplay has worked a treat as well. Click!
Rhi O’Donnell has picked up wickets on debut, their Indian recruits Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues have been outstanding and the thing I've loved the most is whatever the total is, their batters have chased it. A batting line up that believes they can chase down any total is golden and it gives confidence to your bowlers that even on a bad day, your batters will get it done.
Click, click, click.