Alyssa Healy was player of the tournament at the World Cup, and her Sydney Sixers are the defending champions, but with plenty of player movement and a host of international stars coming to our shores, WBBL04 looks more open than ever.

Adelaide Strikers

After making the semi-finals last season, the Strikers have kept the majority of their squad intact for WBBL04. Their bowling line-up is world class, with #1 ranked T20 bowler in the world Megan Schutt headlining a pace attack that includes the rejuvenated Sarah Coyte, cunning medium pacer Tahlia McGrath and New Zealand’s strike weapon Sophie Devine.

Their spin attack is just as good, with English offie Dani Hazell joining big-turning leggie Amanda-Jade Wellington in the blue this season. The combination of variety and quality makes Adelaide’s attack the strongest in the competition.

On the batting front, Kiwi pair Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine will be heavily relied upon once again, and if the Strikers have a weakness, it is with the bat. However, they are superstars, and with such a strong bowling unit, the Strikers might never have to chase a total large enough to trouble their thin batting line-up.

Possible First XI

Sophie Devine
Suzie Bates
Tahlia McGrath
Bridget Patterson
Tabatha Saville
Amanda-Jade Wellington
Megan Schutt
Tegan McPharlin (wk)
Dani Hazell
Alex Price
Sarah Coyte

Other squad members: Ellie Falconer, Katelyn Pope, Sam Betts and Eliza Doddridge

Prediction: 4th

Brisbane Heat

The Heat narrowly missed finals last year after an up and down season, and they will be looking to make amends this season. Deandra Dottin has been replaced with young South African Sune Luus – a crafty leg spinner and solid middle-order batter.

She’ll be joined by teammate Laura Wolvaardt who had an awful T20 World Cup and will be wanting to bounce back. Grace Harris also returns after playing just four matches last season, and Beth Mooney was a standout last season at the top of the order, with an incredible strike rate of 143.5 to complement her average of 42.27. Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen are the standouts with the ball, but ambidextrous Jemma Barsby proved to be somewhat of a revelation last season as well.

Their pace attack is a bit of a concern, with Haidee Birkett and Sammy-Jo Johnson prone to leaking runs, but if it all clicks, this is a dangerous team. A lot will come down to the performances of Internationals Woolvardt and Luus, who will both need to turn around their T20 World Cup form.

Possible First XI

Beth Mooney (wk)
Kirby Short
Laura Wolvaardt
Grace Harris
Sune Luus
Delissa Kimmince
Josie Dooley
Jess Jonassen
Sammy-Jo Johnson
Haidee Birkett
Jemma Barsby

Other squad members: Laura Harris, Charli Knott, Georgia Prestwidge and Courtney Sippel

Prediction: 6th

Hobart Hurricanes

After making the finals in the first two seasons of the WBBL, Hobart won just two matches last season. The loss of superstar Englishwoman Heather Knight proved crucial, with the Hurricanes scoring the least runs of any side.

This year they’ve tried to turn their batting into a strength by adding Indian opener Smitri Mandhana and re-adding Knight. Mandhana was in particularly good form in the T20 World Cup, and Hobart will be hoping she can recreate the fireworks of her 83 off 55 against Australia. Add an in-form Georgia Redmayne, fresh off of a successful tour of India with Australia A, and the likes of captain Sasha Moloney and big hitting all-rounder Erin Fazackerley and the Hurricanes should have solved their batting woes.

The bowling side of things will be more difficult for the Hurricanes. After losing leading wicket-taker Nicola Hancock, they look to be a bowler short, and on paper have the weakest bowling attack in the competition. Off-spinning trio Hayley Matthews, Heather Knight and Sasha Moloney will need to bowl some handy overs to make up for one of the weaker pace bowling units in the competition.

Possible First XI

Smitri Mandhana
Hayley Matthews
Heather Knight
Georgia Redmayne (wk)
Stefanie Daffara
Sasha Moloney
Corinne Hall
Erin Fazackerley
Veronica Pyke
Katelyn Fryett
Brooke Hepburn

Other Squad Members: Emma Thompson, Meg Phillips, Rhiann O’Donnell and Ash Day

Prediction: 7th

Melbourne Renegades

The Renegades disappointed last season, finishing sixth and never reaching the potential of a talented squad. This season the squad looks strong on paper and should be primed to bounce back.

The bowling attack will be the key, with World Cup T20 winning trio Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck all suiting up in red this season. Molineux’s ability to bowl in the powerplay allows Wareham to bowl more aggressively knowing that she has protection on the rope. Quicks Vlaeminck and New Zealand’s Lea Tahuhu will undoubtedly be the speediest fast bowling combination in the competition, and along with Maitlan Brown’s mediums, they are a formidable seam bowling attack. Throw in Australia A skipper Molly Strano’s off breaks and the Renegades have a fantastic bowling line-up.

With the bat, skipper Amy Satterthwaite played a lone hand at times last season, but the addition of star English opener Dannie Wyatt should ease the load. Middle order batters Jess Duffin and Claire Koski head into the tournament in fantastic form, and the Renegades will need them to perform in order to hide a reasonably long tail. Overall, the balance of the side looks strong, and the Renegades are a massive chance to reach the finals for the first time in their history.

Possible First XI

Sophie Molineux
Danni Wyatt
Amy Satterthwaite
Jess Duffin
Claire Koski
Emma Inglis (wk)
Molly Strano
Maitlan Brown
Lea Tahuhu
Georgia Wareham
Tayla Vlaeminck

Other squad members: Zoe Cooke, Erica Kershaw, Anna Lanning and Courtney Webb

Prediction: 3rd

Melbourne Stars

The Stars started last season 0-4 and never recovered, missing the finals for the third straight year. This year they’ve brought back many of the same players and have added medium-pacers Nicola Hancock and Holly Ferling from Hobart and Brisbane respectively.

Unfortunately, the Stars still look like one of the weaker teams on paper. South Africans Lizelle Lee and Mignon du Preez struggled in the T20 World Cup, and Englishwoman Georgia Elwiss struggled to find the boundary for the Stars last season, hitting just eight fours in ten innings.

The new additions and young Annabel Sutherland – who proved to be a revelation in WBBL03 – form a solid if unspectacular pace attack. Former internationals Kristen Beams and Erin Osborne will be the frontline spinners and combined with leggie Alana King, they undoubtedly are the strongest part of the Stars’ roster.

If their internationals can fire with the bat, the Stars are a chance to knock off anyone on their day.  

Possible First XI

Lizelle Lee
Katie Mack
Mignon du Preez
Georgia Elwiss
Erin Osborne
Annabel Sutherland
Alana King
Nicola Hancock
Nicole Faltum (wk)
Kristen Beams
Holly Ferling

Other squad members: Makinley Blows, Elly Donald, Chloe Rafferty and Ange Reakes

Prediction: 8th

Perth Scorchers

Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani were the standout batters in WBBL03, and their combination at the top of the order propelled the Scorchers into the final. This year, when one of those two is dismissed, Perth will likely bring out the best batter in the world at number three, with Meg Lanning returning from her shoulder injury. Add to this England’s Amy Jones – fresh off a player of the match performance in the World Cup semi-final – and Perth is as destructive as any T20 team going around.

Crafty medium pacers Heather Graham and Piepa Cleary were consistent contributors for the Scorchers last season and will be asked to play an even larger role this summer without key bowler Katherine Brunt, who took 23 wickets at an economy of 4.83 last summer.

Without Brunt, the bowling attack does look somewhat thin, but Kate Cross should go some way to replacing her countrywoman’s output. The Scorchers will back themselves to chase down any target, no matter how large, but their bowling deficiencies might just cost them if their big guns don’t fire. They are the second favourites with the bookmakers but don’t be surprised if the Scorchers are a slight letdown.

Possible First XI

Nicole Bolton
Elyse Villani
Meg Lanning
Amy Jones (wk)
Lauren Ebsary
Chloe Piparo
Heather Graham
Piepa Cleary
Kate Cross
Taneale Peschel
Emma King

Other squad members: Megan Banting,  Hayleigh Brennan, Mathilda Carmichael and Emily Smith

Prediction: 5th

Sydney Sixers

The defending champions and the glamour team of the WBBL are once again the favourites.

Their opening batters are the pair that any team would love to have. Alyssa Healy is the most in-form player in the world at the moment, and Ellyse Perry might just be the best. After that, the firepower continues, with the powerful Ash Gardner at three and Erin Burns at four. Internationals Dane van Niekerk and Sara McGlashan round out a formidable middle-order that rarely needed to be used last season due to the dominance of the top four.

Their bowling line-up might even be better than their batting. Ellyse Perry is world class with the new ball and was terrific for Australia in the T20 World Cup, and South African Marizanne Kapp is one of the most skillful pace bowlers in the world as well. Throw in Sarah Aley and Lauren Cheatle, who has returned from a back injury, and the Sixers quicks are potent. Add leggie van Niekerk – a prodigious turner of the ball – and offies Gardner and Lauren Smith, and it’s hard to see where the opposition will score their runs.

Overall, the Sixers have the most well-rounded team and should be right in contention for back-to-back-to-back titles.

Possible First XI

Alyssa Healy (wk)
Ellyse Perry
Ash Gardner
Erin Burns
Dane van Niekerk
Sara McGlashan
Tahlia Wilson
Marizanne Kapp
Sarah Aley
 Lauren Smith
 Lauren Cheatle

Other squad members: Stella Campbell, Hayley Silver-Holmes and Carly Leeson.

Prediction: 2nd

Sydney Thunder

The only team that looks as strong as the Sixers on paper is their cross-town rivals, the Sydney Thunder. After winning the inaugural WBBL, the Thunder struggled in WBBL02 before bouncing back to make the semis last season.

Their top order is stacked with familiar names, with Alex Blackwell, Rachel Priest, Naomi Stalenberg and Rachael Haynes all going around again this season. Haynes in particular is a class act, and she has upped her strike rate to the point where she is now one of the best and most versatile T20 batters in the world. Indian hero Harmanpreet Kaur struggled in WBBL03 but is in fantastic form after her hundred in the opening match of the World Cup.

Perhaps the most exciting of the lot, though, is young Rachel Trenaman, who scored a century earlier this year for Australia under-19s. Her talent is awe-inspiring, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her take hold of WBBL04.

Thunder also have a well-rounded bowling attack to match their batting riches. Last season, Nicola Carey, Rene Farrell, Stefanie Taylor and Sam Bates all ended with between 15 and 17 wickets for the tournament, showing the evenness of their attack. Bates’ left arm orthodox was a revelation, with her 16 wickets coming at an economy rate of just 5.87. With a first XI strong enough to keep out talented off-spinner Maisy Gibson, as well as Australian under-19s representatives Hannah Darlington and Saskia Horley, the Thunder will be a great chance to take out WBBL04.

Possible First XI

Rachel Priest (wk)
Rachael Haynes
Harmanpreet Kaur
Alex Blackwell
Naomi Stalenberg
Rachel Trenaman
Stefanie Taylor
Nicola Carey
Rene Farrell
Belinda Vakarewa
Sam Bates

Other squad members: Maisy Gibson, Lisa Griffith, Hannah Darlington and Saskia Horley

Prediction: 1st

How to watch?

More than a third of WBBL matches will be shown on free-to-air television via Channel Seven while 23 of the 59 matches will be shown by both Seven and Fox Sports. The remaining 36 games will be live streamed on and the CA Live App.

Full draw available here.

The season kicks off this weekend with four big matches at St Kilda.