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WBBL|03 preview: Brisbane Heat

Brisbane Heat have maintained the most stable playing group as they look to go one better in WBBL|03

Previous WBBL|03 previews:

The squad: Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen, Grace Harris, Deandra Dottin (WI), Holly Ferling, Kara Sutherland, Georgia Prestwidge, Delissa Kimmince, Jemma Barsby, Haidee Birkett, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Tess Cooper, Laura Harris, Kirby Short, Courtney Hill

In: Grace Harris (Renegades)

Out: Smriti Mandhana

Mel Jones previews WBBL|03: Brisbane Heat

The inside word with coach Pete McGiffin: “The key is to reflect. I just think that we’ve had a look at the things that we did well last year and, obviously, the things that we can be doing better. It’s disappointing, but I think you reflect and have a look at the things you need to be doing better and set some goals. If everyone is buying into what the vision is, I think you can create some real positivity. It’s just backing ourselves, if the girls can be bold and brave and courageous … we’ve got a very young group, but a talented group. We just need to win more of those bigger moments. (Beth Mooney) is in amazing form at the moment. She’s playing a lot of new shots, she’s very confident, but she’s just keeping it very basic for herself, she’s just seeing the ball, hitting the ball.”

The talking point: How good does the Heat’s batting line-up look? Beth Mooney is fresh off a record-breaking T20 leg of the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes for Australia, and West Indies powerhouse Deandra Dottin will pull on the teal again after a fractured cheekbone interrupted her WBBL|02 campaign, and captain Kirby Short will be looking for another solid performance with the bat. The Heat have the firepower and have plenty of options. With an almost unchanged group, can the Heat build momentum and push further into finals in Rebel WBBL|03?

Deandra Dottin fractured her cheekbone in WBBL|02 // Getty
Deandra Dottin fractured her cheekbone in WBBL|02 // Getty

The WBBL|02 result: Third. The Heat climbed into finals but were knocked out of contention by a scintillating Perth Scorchers side at #TheFurnace. They compiled eight wins from 14 games, and were particularly comfortable chasing, twice winning by nine wickets and another time by eight. But frustratingly, some of their losses were just as extreme, going down to the Scorchers by nine and eight wickets and also suffering big losses to the Hurricanes (eight), Sixers (eight) and Renegades (seven).

Majestic Mooney dazzles with the bat

The one to watch: Beth Mooney. The Heat wicketkeeper reached new heights with her batting during the Ashes, with unbeaten knocks of 86 and 117 during the T20 leg setting new records on the Australian international scene. She will be looking to produce more of the same when she pulls on the teal again for WBBL|03 and add to the 807 runs she has made across the first two seasons.

The rising star: Haidee Birkett. The 21-year-old caught the eyes of the world with her exploits in the field last summer and claimed a handy seven wickets with her medium pacers. Heat coach Pete McGiffin rates her as one of the best fielders in the team, if not the competition, and lauded her allrounder abilities. She has variety with her deliveries and can bowl well under pressure. In a club game leading into the WBBL season, she scored 154 in a limited-overs match for Queensland Premier Cricket club University of Queensland.

Birkett takes a screamer

The changes: Brisbane Heat will be hoping a largely unchanged squad can continue its progression up the WBBL ladder. Perth Scorchers were simply too strong for the Heat in last year’s semi-finals, but strong performances by Australia players Beth Mooney and Jess Jonassen – who have both signed three-year deals with the club - during the Ashes Series will have Heat optimistic about a repeat stint in finals.

The fixtures:

December 10 v Scorchers – North Sydney Oval

December 15 v Scorchers – Allan Border Field

December 22 v Renegades – Camberwell Sports Ground, Camberwell

December 23 v Renegades – Etihad Stadium

December 29 v Strikers – Adelaide Oval

December 31 v Strikers – Adelaide Oval

January 7 v Hurricanes – Blundstone Arena

January 8 v Hurricanes – Blundstone Arena

January 12 v Stars – Harrup Park, Mackay

January 13 v Stars – Harrup Park, Mackay

January 18 v Sixers – SCG

January 19 v Sixers – Hurstville Oval, Hurstville

January 27 v Thunder – Gabba

January 28 v Thunder – Allan Border Field