08:05 AM UTC: Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide Strikers
In the second double-header of the day, the Sydney Thunder will take on the Adelaide Strikers. The Thunder is the reigning WBBL champion while the Strikers finished with the third-worst record last season.
Thunder’s team: Thunder received a big blow when the team learned that premier batter Rachael Haynes had to withdraw due to injury. The three overseas signings in Smriti Mandhana, Issy Wong, and Deepti Sharma make them look impressive though. Smriti provides incredible opening depth and is coming off a stellar series versus Australia so she is well-acquainted with Australian surfaces by now.
Meanwhile, Deepti Sharma gives middle-order depth and is more than a handy T20 spinner. Issy Wong is a 19-year-old pacer who can extract advantage on the fast-paced Australian tracks. On the other, Sammy Jo-Johnson provides a terrific allrounder skillset and Hannah Darlington is an amazing fielder and bowler. However, with Rachel out, the batting order looks a little fragile and the Thunder may not be able to repeat as champions.
Strikers’ team: Adelaide looks like a more well-rounded team this season. The bowling attack of Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown, Amanda Jade-Wellington, Dane Van Niekerk, and Sarah Coye, paves way for all sorts of combinations. And all-rounder Tahlia McGrath is in the form of her life and can take them through with her middle-order batting.
Laura Woolvdart, van Niekerk, and Tahlia McGrath may have to carry the major batting load and there can be some fractures within the batting order at times. However, having multiple all-rounders always provide depth to any team. Is Adelaide looking like a better team than Sydney Thunder?