Adelaide Strikers WBBL|08 Preview with head coach Luke Williams

Adelaide Strikers head coach Luke Williams speaks to Edge of the Crowd ahead of the Strikers WBBL|08 season.


The Strikers had a great season last year with plenty of international talent and great coaching the Strikers managed to make it all the way through to the final. They couldn’t quite get the job done against the Scorchers though after failing to chase the Scorchers 5/146 at Perth Stadium.

While they couldn’t quite get it done that didn’t mean their season was a waste, far from it in fact. Katie Mack who has recently re-signed with the Strikers posted 513 runs through the year while Amanda-Jade Wellington was the clear stand-out with the ball taking 23 wickets alongside the young and talented Darcie Brown who took 20 of her own wickets.

Ahead of the season the Striker's head coach Luke Williams spoke to Edge of the Crowd about last season and looked forward to the season ahead. He reflected on just how good the Strikers were last season.

“We had a really enjoyable and successful season last year. We dropped four games in a row but played some good cricket towards the back end and then play well in our first two finals but weren’t quite good enough to get through a strong Perth Scorchers team.

“For us, it’s about trying to play enough good cricket to give ourselves a chance in a finals series and go one better if we get that opportunity.”

How they did last year

4th – The Decider Final (seven wins, six losses, 15 points)

The Strikers had a great season overall performing much better than many expected especially after a rather large bump in the road during the middle of the season.

The Strikers may have been entirely fortunate to be allowed to play their first two finals in Adelaide with COVID rules meaning Adelaide and Perth would host the finals. The Strikers managed to keep the Heat to just 114 in the Eliminator before keeping the Renegades to just 83 in the Challenger final. Their biggest strength was clearly bowling first.

One thing that particularly benefitted them was Megan Schutt going for just 5.37 runs per over while Jemma Barsby and Darcie Brown went for little more than six per over.

Most importantly though was the run-scoring of their batters with every single person who scored at least one run scoring at better than a run a ball, something that couldn’t be said of all the batters in WBBL|07.

How they can improve

It’s really hard to see how the Strikers could improve things after such a good season last time around. Perhaps the only thing they could do better is score even faster and post even bigger totals. To do that the Strikers have continued with Laura Wolvaardt while bringing in the West Indian Deandra Dottin who brings a huge amount of power into the middle order. Williams suggests that the power was what led the Strikers to pick her up.

"That was one of the reasons for Deandra and our interest in her. Her power game is excellent and with the power surge, her ability to impact that is one of the reasons we were interested in Deandra.

“Laura has had a great two seasons for us and fits in really well with our group and has been consistent in the top order and we hope she has a big season for us."

List Changes:

Returning: Darcie Brown, Tahlia McGrath, Megan Schutt, Laura Wolvaardt (SA), Jemma Barsby, Tegan McPharlin, Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Maddie Penna, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Katie Mack, Meagan Dixon.

In: Deandra Dottin, Anesu Mushangwe, Ella Wilson.

Out: Sarah Coyte (Renegades), Dane van Niekerk.

Biggest Strength

The Strikers come into the season with one massive x-factor and that is Tahlia McGrath. The right-handed all-rounder comes into the season after having averaged 93.75 in T20I cricket so far, as well as just 13.66 with the ball. She has been a more than worthy replacement for Ellyse Perry in the middle order and with her also captaining the Strikers again this year, McGrath will be ready to continue showing the world what she can do.

“She has learnt a lot about herself and her game and reached a level of consistency that she has been striving for. Certainly, hoping that her last year or two continues and for the future,” said Williams.

McGrath’s striking power along with the steady and consistent Laura Wolvaardt will be key for the Striker's success. And with the Power Surge coming into the competition McGrath will be looking to clear the front leg and blast the opposition over the rope. If the Strikers are to win this time around they will certainly be looking towards their captain and superstar to put together a good season.

Biggest weakness

For most teams, there would be a player or an area of the game where there is a clear weakness. This isn’t the case at all for the Strikers who have world-class batters in Wolvaardt, Tahlia McGrath and Deandra Dottin as well as top-class bowlers in Darcie Brown, Tahlia McGrath and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

So, for the Strikers the weakness doesn’t even come within their squad. The Striker's weakness is the Scorchers who they lost to three times during the year including in the final. Whether it was their first loss in a super-over or the final the Strikers just couldn’t get past the women in orange.

“A lot of respect for the Scorchers and Sophie Devine played a lot of years for the Scorchers ad did Shelly Nitschke so certainly a bit of a rivalry there. We are very much aware of all the teams; you look through the teams and it’s hard to predict.

“It’s going to be a really interesting tournament and it will be interesting to see who gets through at the end of the season,” said Williams of the Scorchers.

Rising Star

Many of the rising stars are young players who are clearly on their way to the Australian team, but for the Strikers this rising star will never play for Australia. The reason for that is Anesu Mushangwe has already played 21 matches for Zimbabwe taking 33 wickets at an average of just 7.42 during that time.

Mushangwe comes into the Strikers line-up as a local player rather than taking up an international slot which is likely what has allowed her to make this squad at all. She is also playing premier cricket in South Australia bowling her leg breaks.

With Amanda-Jade Wellington also in the squad, it will be interesting to see if we see Mushangwe at any point. The good news is that Mushangwe can also bat having scored her runs at an average of 16.50 so far for Zimbabwe.

Predicted lineup:

1) Katie Mack
2) Laura Wolvaardt
3) Tahlia McGrath
4) Deandra Dottin
5) Bridget Patterson
6) Maddie Penna
7) Amanda-Jade Wellington
8) Tegan McPharlin
9) Jemma Barsby
10) Megan Schutt
11) Darcie Brown

Prediction for WBBL|08

This has to be the season for the Strikers with everything seeming to go right for them as pointed out by Luke Williams who spoke about the season’s preparation.

“Last couple of years had their challenges with different arrival dates and requirements and even the schedule changing. It’s great to get back to a little bit of normality for the upcoming season. The planning and the welfare and those sort of discussions have been things we have learnt from and are taking into this year and the upcoming tournament.”

As well as the preparation going well their squad has just got even more powerful with Deandra Dottin coming into the squad. With class players all the way through as well as a more normal season the Strikers should certainly be competing for finals and quite possibly coming up against her Scorchers once again.

Prediction: 1st