Shots fired? Schutt sets sights on Aussie skipper
Megan Schutt is a rare cricketer indeed: she's someone who enjoys bowling to Australian and Scorchers captain Meg Lanning
4 December 2019, 04:46 PM AEST
There are not many bowlers in the world who enjoy bowling to Australian and Perth Scorchers captain Meg Lanning.
But Megan Schutt is not your average bowler.
The world’s best with ball in hand, according to the ICC’s T20I rankings, Strikers spearhead Schutt is relishing the prospect of going head-to-head with her Australian teammate in Saturday’s first Rebel WBBL semi-final.
WBBL Finals: Allan Border Field
First semi-final: Strikers v Scorchers, Saturday 10.10am (11.10am AEDT)
Second semi-final: Heat v Renegades, Saturday 1.50pm (2.50pm AEDT)
Final: SF1 v SF2, Sunday 1.40pm (2.40pm AEDT)
Tune in to the WBBL finals on the Seven Network, Fox Cricket, Kayo, the CA Live app or listen on ABC radio
Lanning is fresh off her maiden Big Bash century and finished the regular season third on the runs table, while Schutt boasts the competition’s second-best economy rate.
It’s a dream match-up, and a battle Schutt won when the teams met at Allan Border Field – the venue for the WBBL Finals Weekend – early in the season.
On October 27, Scorchers opener Lanning didn’t manage to get off the mark as Schutt started the game with a maiden.
Schutt’s new-ball partner Sophie Devine reaped the rewards the following over, bowling Lanning for four.
However, earlier this season, Megan Schutt clearly had the wood over the Aussie skipper before Sophie Devine cleaned her up!#WBBLFinals pic.twitter.com/SNQbgnBhkM— Rebel Women's Big Bash League (@WBBL) December 4, 2019
"I like bowing to Meg," right-arm in-swing bowler Schutt said at Strikers training on Wednesday.
"I go against her favourite shot, really, so that’s a benefit to me.
"She loves scoring behind point, that’s her quadrant.
"She’s probably the best in the world at that – but swinging the ball in makes it harder for her to access that area.
"But she’s a quality player and on her day she can put away anyone.
"We’re two people who are very competitive, I think in the nets (at Australian training) every batter thinks they dominante and every bowler thinks they dominate, so we’re probably 50-50."
Given the Scorchers have lost English top-order batters Nat Sciver and Amy Jones to international commitments for the WBBL finals, they will be counting on Lanning for big runs more than ever.
In their favour is Lanning's excellent record versus the Strikers, who she averages 51.4 against.
The Schutt v Lanning battle is also one Australian coach Matthew Mott is looking forward to watching, having witnessed first-hand that earlier match at Allan Border Field.
"Schutt will have a big part to play, she had the wood over Meg in the game I watched at Brisbane last time," Mott told the Unplayable Podcast.
"I think it’ll be a brilliant final, two good teams going head to head.
"You never write off a team with Meg Lanning in it, she got a century last game and they seem to be a habit for her, so watch out."
Ending the regular season in second spot after their sixth-placed finish last season has been an impressive turnaround for Adelaide under new coach Luke Williams, but Schutt said the Strikers’ eyes were on the major prize.
"(Winning a Big Bash) is one thing I haven’t ticked off yet," she said.
"We’ve had some disappointing seasons in the past, we’ve finished wooden spooners and to come in with a fresh team this year, we’ve placed some expectations on ourselves not just to make finals but to actually take the trophy out as well.
"We’re pretty confident, to be honest.
"We know at our best we’re capable of beating every team."