WBBL 2022 Team Guide: Melbourne Renegades

The cricketer takes a look at the Renegades squad ahead of WBBL08

Coach: Simon Helmet

Captain: Sophie Molineux

Abroad: Harmanpreet Kaur, Shabnim Ismail, Hayley Matthews

Last season: Second, eliminated in the challenger

How did they do last year?

One of the surprises of last year’s competition, the Melbourne Renegades will be after more of the same, having finished second in the group stage in 2021, only to fall into the challenger ahead of the final.

Harmanpreet Kaur was arguably the player of the competition, topping the tally stakes and wicket list for Renegades, and she returns to Melbourne in the shape of her life after leading India to an ODI series victory against England in September. She will need support at bat this year, though: The Renegades’ second-highest scorers last season were Jemimah Rodrigues and Eve Jones, their other overseas imports, but neither return this time around.

Courtney Webb, who made just 144 carries in 10 games, is their second top scorer available last campaign.

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Harmanpreet Kaur adds overseas class to Melbourne Renegades batting order [Getty Images]

Who are their key players?

Much rests on the shoulders of Harmanpreet, who is often at his best in such situations, but will look to the versatile talents of Hayley Matthews to complement his returns, while Shabnim Ismail is an excellent recruit.

An experienced pace attack has been assembled, not just with South African speedster Ismail, but thanks to the arrivals of Georgia Prestwidge from Brisbane Heat and Sarah Coyte from the Adelaide Strikers. Coyte is a former Australia international, while captain Sophie Molineux is an excellent all-rounder.

What are their greatest strengths?

An excellent slice of overseas players will help make up for problems in their domestic ranks – see below – while Molineux can fill multiple roles and will be one of the main spinners in the competition. Prestwidge and Coyte add quality and experience to the couture attack, which impressed Ellie Falconer in 2021.

She was the only Renegades seamer to take more than six wickets, which is hardly an approach that will bring lasting success. Holly Ferling, the former Australian seamstress, went without a wicket for 12 matches last summer and moved to Perth Scorchers.

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Ellie Falconer impressed with the ball in 2021 [Getty Images]

Where could they have a weakness?

Quite simply, the Renegades look very short right now. Tayla Vlaeminck, picked up from the Hobart Hurricanes, will be a great signing at some point, but injury has already ruled her out of this year’s tournament. She is considered by many to be the fastest bowler in women’s football, so her absence was at least partially made up for by the arrival of Ismail. The prospect of seeing the duo in action together, however, will have to wait another year.

Vlaeminck is not the only long-term miss for Melbourne, which is also without Georgia Wareham, whose recovery from an ACL injury continues. His spin-bowling partnership with Molineux is on hold.

Jess Duffin, the Renegades’ 2021 Australian leading hitter, misses this season due to a clash with the AFLW season. She plays Australian rules football for Hawthorn.

The missing trio left Helmot and general manager James Rosengarten looking for replacements.

Chances of reaching the final stages?

You’d have to worry about the Renegades’ chances right now, given the fragility of a squad somewhat decimated by long-term injuries in key positions. A lot rests on the shoulders of the overseas trio and a bolstered seam offense for a team that seems light at bat – Rodrigues’ loss to long distance rivals Melbourne Stars is a blow.

Eleven strongest: Josie Dooley, Hayley Matthews, Carly Leeson, Harmanpreet Kaur, Sophie Molineux, Courtney Webb, Rhiann O’Donnell, Shabnim Ismail, Sarah Coyte, Georgia Prestwidge, Ellie Falconer


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