WBBL: The tournament that's changing the face of women's cricket

Modified 28 Nov 2020

While the world is busy focusing on the success of the Australian Men's team in the first One Day International against arch-rivals India at the Syndey Cricket Ground, little do they know, there is another major event happening kilometers away from the iconic stadium.

Away from the media glare, one of the premier tournaments in the history of women's cricket, Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) is all set for a blockbuster Saturday at the North Sydney Oval.

Two of the most consistent sides in the sixth edition of WBBL the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder, will square off in the finals of the tournament. 

While the Melbourne Stars will be competing in their first-ever WBBL final, the Sydney Thunder would want to make amends for their dismal show in the past couple of seasons and clinch their second title in the competition.

The summit clash promises to be an exciting contest as the Stars are on the brink of creating history while the Sydney outfit is eyeing redemption.

The inception of the WBBL

Sydney Thunder were the champions in the inaugural edition of the WBBL.
Sydney Thunder were the champions in the inaugural edition of the WBBL.

The inception of the WBBL in the year 2015 kickstarted a revolution for women's cricket all across the globe. The tournament was the first of it's kind with eight franchise-based teams running parallel to the men's Big Bash League. 

With the international stars in action along with the domestic talent, WBBL has enabled the younger players to learn from the best in the world whilst creating an impact.

Although it replaced the domestic championship in the shortest format, this new and rejuvenated tournament garnered plenty of appreciation from all over the world. 

One of the most dominant sides in the last decade, Australia have well and truly laid the path to professionalism in the women's game with the emergence of the WBBL.

Ideal platform for young players

Ashleigh Gardner of the Sydney Sixers in action.
Ashleigh Gardner of the Sydney Sixers in action.

Plenty of success in the first couple of WBBL seasons, backed by the opinions of former players and cricket experts, enabled the board to have a stand-alone WBBL last season.

With stadiums packed to capacity and the great expectations of the fans there is undoubtedly enormous pressure on the players who take the field.

However, this has proved to be a blessing for the Aussie side in their bid to dominate world cricket.

While the world witnessed the rise of Ashleigh Gardner as one of the powerful strikers of the cricket ball in the World Cup, the 23-year-old has been around the circuit plying her trades for the Sydney Sixers ever since the inception of the league.

Gardner's rise in the side from being a rookie to one of the mainstays in the line up for the Sixers is mainly due to her all-around exploits in her 78 matches she has featured. Coming in at number three, the right-hander has amassed 1607 runs for the franchise including a hundred.

Along with her hard-hitting abilities, her part-time off-spin bowling also created a big impact for the team as she picked up 30 wickets in the middle overs. Her exploits for the Sixers fast-tracked her inclusion in the Australian team for the New Zealand series in 2017.

The WBBL has also proved to be the stepping stone for many of the upcoming players of the Australian team such as Annabel Sutherland and Hannah Darlington.

While Sutherland was part of the Australian side in the recently concluded World Cup at home, Darlington's rise has been exceptional, to say the least. The 18-year-old was awarded the Rebel Young Gun award in season five for her 16 wickets all through the competition.

This season, Darlington not only managed to shake off the rookie tag but also emerge as one of the leading pace bowlers in the competition with 18 wickets in 13 games.

Her consistent performances have resulted in her selection for the prestigious team of the tournament in this edition of the tournament.

Across six editions of the league, the WBBL has proved to be a breeding groundt for talents and helping them express their game on the big stage. The tournament has also enabled the youngsters gain immense knowledge and learn from the experiences of the international stars.

The inception of Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) is indeed a new chapter in the history of women's cricket and Australia is leading the way in making women's cricket shine bright at the international arena.

Published 28 Nov 2020
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