The 2016 Kia Super League ended with the New Zealand openers, Rachel Priest and Suzie Bates, going head-to-head in the final. Both players starred, hitting 50s, but Suzie Bates and her Southern Vipers took out the title.
This season, the KSL is back with a bunch of WHITE FERNS’ stars returning for another English summer. Here, we look at the ins and outs from a kiwi perspective.
2016 WHITE FERNS: Suzie Bates, Sara McGlashan, Morna Nielsen
2017 WHITE FERNS: Suzie Bates
The Vipers have two thirds less WHITE FERNS in 2017 and, after winning the title last year, it will be interesting to see how that impacts on their chances of going back-to-back.
In New Zealand captain, Suzie Bates, they have an undoubted star performer and she was a big part of their success in 2016. Her batting average was the 4th best and, with a strike rate above 113, she didn’t muck around either. Intriguingly for this year’s prospects, McGlashan was just two spots below Bates on the averages table.
Their bowling unit may make up for the loss of some runs, however. The Vipers can lay claim to having the two players who topped the bowling averages last year with Linsey Smith again in the squad and West Indian, Hayley Matthews, joining them from Lancashire.
Of course, they may just need Bates, exhibit A:
2016 WHITE FERNS: Rachel Priest
2017 WHITE FERNS: Rachel Priest, Holly Huddleston
Last season’s beaten finalists have built an impressive squad for 2017, highlighted by the return of the WHITE FERNS’ ‘keeper and the addition of Auckland pacer, Huddleston.
Priest hit two 50s in 2016, the second of which was almost enough to take out the title, and claimed four stumpings with the gloves. At the World Cup against the West Indies, Priest flexed her muscles with a brutal 90. The Storm return to the scene of that crime, Taunton, on August 12 so they’ll be hoping for a repeat performance.
Huddleston has been going from strength-to-strength in recent times, punctuated by her 5-for in the World Cup opener against Sri Lanka. In 2016, Huddleston turned out for Middlesex in County Cricket and that experience, combined with the benefit of the World Cup, should have her primed for a strong KSL debut season.
2016 WHITE FERNS:
2017 WHITE FERNS: Sophie Devine
In 2016, Devine was part of a Loughborough Lightning side that were knocked out in a tight semi-final against the Western Storm. For this year’s tournament she moves to Yorkshire who have rolled the dice on three new international signings with Sri Lankan star, Chamari Atapattu, and South Africa’s Suné Luus joining Devine.
The ultra-competitive Devine would’ve been disappointed with only being able to contribute one 50 to the Lightning’s campaign last year but she could find Yorkshire’s side a little more balanced and suited to her style in 2017.
Devine blasted a century in the Women’s Big Bash and made her mark on the World Cup with a typically six-filled innings against Pakistan. Yorkshire have two televised games this season so there’s a good chance we’ll see some quality footage of more sixes from her blade.
2016 WHITE FERNS: Amy Satterthwaite
2017 WHITE FERNS: Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu
Satterthwaite was a late addition to the Lancashire Thunder in 2016 but you can be sure she was one of the first names they wrote down in selecting their 2017 squad. Only seven players in the whole competition could best Satterthwaite’s batting average and, since then, she’s only gone from strength-to-strength.
Joining her at the Thunder this season is WHITE FERNS’ seamer, Lea Tahuhu. After spending the Women’s Big Bash campaign with the Melbourne Renegades, where her economy rate was inside the tournament’s top 20, Tahuhu has continued to impress on the world stage. Tahuhu had limited chances at the Surrey Stars last season – expect more game time at Lancashire.
The Thunder also have the services of English star, Sarah Taylor, who proved that rumours of her demise were well and truly exaggerated with an exceptional World Cup. Pundits in the UK are picking this side to make the final and it’s fair to say the batting and experience that comes from Taylor and Satterthwaite will go a long way to realising that potential.