Melbourne Stars WBBL|08 Preview: Can the Stars Win Their First Title?

After just missing the finals last season will the Stars bounce back to compete against the rest of the competition?

Nicole Faltum and Kim Garth celebrate together. Image: Cricket Australia


It was hopeful the Stars would claim their first WBBL title last season after they had finished runner-up the year before.This was not the case as the Stars instead slid down the ladder to not make the finals series.

The Stars had a very inconsistent season and did not look convincing to play finals when they performed differently each week.

They needed to be consistent across the whole table where they went on to have more losses than they did wins.

Meg Lanning too will not play in this season of WBBL for the stars as she takes an indefinite break from the game. As a result, Nicole Faltum will now lead the Stars as captain.

How They Did Last Season

5th - five wins, seven losses

Although the Stars missed the finals series by less than three points, they showed that they have what it takes to compete against the higher teams on the ladder throughout the season.

Throughout the season the Stars defeated runners-up the Adelaide Strikers (twice), as well as the Brisbane Heat who finished third on the ladder. Although the Stars were competitive against the top sides, they struggled against the lower teams.

Elyse Villani charged home in the last two matches scoring 84 and 100, this included hitting a six to get a century and win the game against the Strikers in their last match. It too however would be her last match for the Stars.

How Can They Improve

Although the Stars came home strong to score 181 against the Strikers with three balls remaining, the Stars had multiple matches where they struggled to pass 100.

The Stars lost far too many wickets in matches which would see their opening batters out of the game early and rely on their bowlers to score.

Last season the Stars were all bowed out for 89 against the Hobart Hurricanes, and the Melbourne Renegades, before scoring 97/9 against the Scorchers who would go on to run that down in under 11 overs.

The Stars have shown in previous seasons as well as last season how much of a dangerous threat they can be, however, they need to defend their wickets to win games this season if they want to make a statement.

The departure of Villani to the Hurricanes is a massive loss after her brilliant season placing fourth in the top runs scored for the season with 439 runs.

List Changes

Returning: Tess Flintoff, Kim Garth, Rhys McKenna, Sophie Day, Lucy Cripps, Sophie Reid, Nicole Faltum (c), Annabel Sutherland

In: Sasha Moloney (Hurricanes), Jemimah Rodrigues (India), Alice Capsey (England), Lauren Winfield-Hill (England), Olivia Henry, Hasrat Gill.

Out: Elyse Villani (Hurricanes)

Biggest Strength

The Stars have recruited a couple of international players as well as Victorian players who have been dominating their cricket leagues and now hoping to make a strong impact at the Stars.

Among those recruits is Jemimah Rodrigues who at only 22 looks to fit into the Stars quite comfortably, looking at her achievements and success within the game.

Rodrigues is an all-rounder however dominates to a higher extent in the batting lineup, her presence will hopefully be a great replacement for Villani as well as Lanning. Although it is a big step for her, there is no doubt she is ready to show her talent.

In T20I alone Rodrigues, she has a strike rate of 114.73, her average is 32.35, and her highest score has been 76 in an innings.

Biggest Weakness

There is no doubt that the departure of Elyse Villani as well as the indefinite leave from Meg Lanning will strongly affect how the batting order will be set up to go out as.

Lanning and Villani alone rank second and eighth for power rankings, and to have both of them not playing is a massive worrying sign for the Stars.

The Stars will be forced to play and rely on their younger players to come into the side and help contribute wins to them.

Rising Star

Annabel Sutherland looks to take her game even further this series after how she has looked strong in the T20I, ODI, and now the WBBL.

The recent 21-year-old who can play as a batter too if needed due to the inexperienced team coming in had gained more experience in the series this year and has more confidence going into the WBBL.

Sutherland has already shown how dominant she can be whether it is batting or bowling. In the Women's ODI being 4/31, she too backed this in the test series bowling 3/69, not to mention her two centuries from three matches in the WNCL.

Predicted Line-up:

  1. Lauren Winfield-Hill

  2. Jemimah Rodrigues

  3. Alice Capsey

  4. Annabel Sutherland

  5. Sasha Moloney

  6. Nicole Faltum (C)

  7. Sophie Reid

  8. Kim Garth

  9. Tess Flintoff

  10. Rhys McKenna

  11. Sophie Day

Prediction For WBBL|08

With the Stars' two biggest players last season Lanning and Villani not playing for the club this season, it is definitely a worrying sign as it is very unlikely they will do better this season with a less experienced team.

Expect to see the recruits and younger players at the Stars to make an impact on games, however, it looks as though the Stars could once again miss the race for finals.

Prediction: 6th