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The WBBL season that was

10 February 2018

The Strikers soared to their first WBBL finals appearance in club history this summer

Position: 4th (lost semi-final)

Wins: 8 Losses: 7

Highest total: 3-183 v Hurricanes

Highest individual score: Suzie Bates, 102 v Hurricanes

Best individual bowling figures: Amanda-Jade Wellington, 3-9 v Hurricanes

Highlights: First-year captain and recruit Suzie Bates showed brilliant composure under pressure to lead the Strikers to a one-run win over Melbourne Renegades, taking on the responsibility of bowling the final over and taking a caught-and-bowled on the final delivery.

Suzie Bates' match-winning catch in a thriller against the Renegades

The result didn’t go their way, but making the semi-final against the Sixers was a huge achievement for the Strikers, who had occupied a spot in the bottom two in the first two seasons of the rebel WBBL.

The Strikers came away with a pair of wins after the rebel WBBL’s inaugural trip to Alice Springs, defeating eventual grand finalist Perth Scorchers in both matches. Suzie Bates and Tahlia McGrath were impressive, alternating sharing most runs and most wickets.

Bowling ace: New Zealand allrounder Sophie Devine had her best season in the WBBL with the ball, taking 17 wickets with a strike rate of 16.90, and with an economy rate of 6.21, opening the bowling (and the batting) for the Strikers.

Sophie Devine stands tall in super over victory

Batting star: First-year Strikers captain Bates made an instant impact at her new club, scoring a century on the opening weekend at Gliderol Stadium, and going on to finish fifth in the league for runs scored with 434.

On the rise: After playing just three games last summer, Tabatha Saville became a fixture in the Strikers’ batting line-up in WBBL|03. She played a couple of match-winning roles coming in in the middle order, and batted with a composure and maturity beyond her years.

What they need for WBBL|04: A strong opening partnership. The Strikers had plenty of contributors with the bat this season, but only one 50-plus run first wicket stand. They started with Suzie Bates and Tammy Beaumont at the top, before shifting to Devine and Bates. Whether it becomes a matter of shifting their current order around, or bringing in another experienced batter, remains to be seen.

Tammy Beaumont's brave semi-final innings

In a nutshell: This season can’t go down as anything but a positive for the Strikers. After finishing seventh in the inaugural season and slipping to eighth in WBBL|02, the Strikers drastically turned their fortunes around, winning their first three games of the season to set themselves on the path to their first finals appearance. After arguably underperforming – given the list they had – in the first two seasons, the Strikers finally delivered in WBB|03.

WBBL|03 squad: Suzie Bates (c; NZ), Tammy Beaumont, Samantha Betts, Sophie Devine (NZ), Rhiannon Dick, Ellen Falconer, Tahlia McGrath, Tegan McPharlin (wk), Annie O’Neil, Bridget Patterson, Katelyn Pope, Alex Price, Tabatha Saville, Megan Schutt, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Kathryn Bryce (rookie), Emma de Broughe (rookie).