Two of the most consistent teams in the history of the Women's Big Bash League, Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder lock horns in the second semi-final at the North Sydney Oval. The defending champions Brisbane Heat have been on a roll in the past couple of weeks, registering six consecutive victories in their last six league games.
The wins have helped them climb up the ladder in the points table and finish second behind the Melbourne Stars, with eight wins in 14 league games.
The Sydney Thunder have one of the most balanced teams in this edition of the tournament. Led by Rachael Haynes, the team has a nice blend of young and exciting talent along with the experience of the international stars.
The Girls in Green are coming into this game on the back of a successful run chase against the Hobart Hurricanes in their last encounter.
Three players to watch out for in the WBBL 2020 semi-final between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder
While the momentum is well and truly with the reigning champions, the Thunder have the depth in their squad to take them through this all-important clash.
The two teams are evenly poised at the moment having won one of the two games against each other in the league phase of the competition.
With not much to differentiate between the two sides, it will be the little battles that will hold the key in deciding the outcome of the game. On that note, let's take a look at the top three player match-ups in this exciting WBBL 2020 contest:
#1 Heather Knight (Sydney Thunder) vs Jess Jonassen (Brisbane Heat)
The highest run-getter for the Sydney Thunder in this season of the WBBL, Heather Knight has been in sublime form with the bat, scoring 403 runs in 14 league matches. With an average of just over 40 runs, Knight has anchored the innings along with Rachael Haynes in the middle overs. The duo has been the mainstays in the batting department, and they will hold the key heading into this epic clash.
The Heat will be reliant on their skipper, Jess Jonassen to provide them wickets early on in the innings. The left-arm spinner has been their premier wicket-taker with 16 wickets in 13 games at an economy rate under seven runs per over.
With the ball holding a bit in the first semi-finals, the ball turning away from the right-handed Knight will make it difficult for the England captain to try and attack the opposition bowlers.
The ploy of operating with a left-arm spinner and varying the pace can help the Heat create in-roads into the young middle order of the Thunders.
#2 Georgia Redmayne (Brisbane Heat) vs Shabnim Ismail (Sydney Thunder)
The wicket-keeper batter has been one of the finds of the tournament for the Brisbane Heat. With 332 runs in the 13 league games, Redmayne is currently the highest run-scorer for the side in this season of the tournament. Opening the batting along with Grace Harris, the left-hander has single-handedly managed to score the bulk of the runs for her side. Along with useful contributions from Laura Kimmince and Jess Jonassen, they have managed to take the defending champions past the finish line on numerous occasions.
However, tomorrow seems to be a different challenge altogether, with Shabnim Ismail starting the proceedings for the Thunders. With a wealth of experience and exposure at the international level, Ismail has been a match-winner not only for her WBBL side but also for the South African outfit.
The right-handed bowler has been exceptional with the ball, picking up 12 wickets in 14 games at an economy rate under six runs per over. Her ability to bowl a tight line and length will be a key factor in restricting Redmayne, and it will be exciting to watch this mini-battle on the field.
#3 Rachael Haynes (Sydney Thunder) vs Amelia Kerr (Brisbane Heat)
The skipper of the Sydney Thunder, Rachael Haynes has one of the most astute cricketing brains in the women's circuit. Apart from her deep understanding and knowledge about the game, Haynes also benefits from her ability to remain calm under pressure.
While she has not had a remarkable season by her standards, the left-hander will be keen to turn things around in this much-anticipated clash.
However, it will not be easy as the 33-year-old will be up against the spin duo of Jess Jonassen and Amelia Kerr in the middle overs. The leg spinner is having a breakthrough the season with the Heat, picking with 16 wickets at an economy rate of just over five runs per over.
Over the years, the strength of Haynes has been the sweep shot to the spinners. However, Kerr can bowl the googly at will, and with the ball turning away from her, this could result in Haynes' downfall.Published 25 Nov 2020, 20:15 IST