Team Preview: Southern Vipers look set to reclaim the top spot
Southern Vipers are one of most consistent teams in the Women’s Cricket Super League’s (WCSL) brief history. The team will be led by Tammy Beaumont and has the right mix of experienced, overseas and young players.
Suzie Bates, the veteran New Zealand batter and the leading run-scorer of the WCSL, will once again be the central figure around whom the team’s batting revolves. She will have Danielle Wyatt, Stafanie Taylor, the West Indies skipper, and Beaumont for company. Amanda Wellington, Vipers’ third overseas signing, adds balance and variety to an otherwise largely pace dominant bowling attack.
Apart from Beaumont and Wyatt, Tash Farrant is the third England international player in the Vipers’ line-up.
Over the three seasons Southern Vipers team have prided themselves on churning out good performances. Barring their poor returns in the 2018 season, where they finished last, 2016 and 2017 were very successful seasons for the club. In both editions, Vipers finished as table-toppers – winning the competition in 2016 and finishing as runners-up the following year. They’d hope that the finish in 2018 was an aberration.
Bates is the most valuable player in this Southern Vipers team. She been with the club since 2016 and her contributions with both bat and ball have been instrumental in securing victories for the team. With the bat she amassed 737 runs which includes four fifties and one hundred– the first ever in the WCSL. She averages 43 while striking a tad over 120, apart from which she has taken the most wickets for her team– 26.
Bates also brings a calming influence to the team with her leadership qualities. Beaumont will lead the Vipers for the first time but she has an experienced player like Bates to look up to which will make her task a bit easier.
Wyatt has had a quiet two seasons with the bat for Vipers. Considering the standards she has set and immense talent she possesses it is just the matter of time before she lets the bat do the talking. Over the last two years she has established herself as on of the leading T20I openers in the world. She has scored two centuries in T20Is, both coming in successful chases – one against Australia in 2017, and the other against Indian in 2018.
Wyatt is yet to score a WCSL fifty. It will be interesting to see if this is the season she does something noteworthy with the bat.
Player to Watch:
Amanda-Jade Wellington would be key to the Vipers, given she is the replacement for the injured Sophie Molineux. The young leg-spinner from Australia has hardly played international cricket, but ask any cricketer who has played the Women’s Big Bash League and they’ll have a tale to tell. She has close to 50 wickets at an average of 25 and an economy rate that is just hovering around 6.50.
With her bag full of tricks, she could prove to be the variation in the Vipers side that is slightly filled with more pacers. Wellington could prove to be the difference for Southern Vipers, who play more games at The Rose Bowl – a venue known to aid spin.
The Southern Vipers have a balanced squad which has all bases covered. The three overseas players in Taylor, Bates and Wellington are all top-notch players. The addition of Thea Brookes, who had a wonderful season for Yorkshire Diamonds last season, has also lent more depth and balance to the side. On paper, it appears that they have what it takes to go the distance in the tournament. With the personnel at their disposal, anything less than a semi-final finish would be a disappointment.
Squad: Tammy Beaumont (c), Dani Wyatt, Tash Farrant, Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, Amanda Wellington, Charlie Dean, Maia Bouchier, Lauren Bell, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Thea Brookes, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong, Fi Morris.
August 6: vs Lancashire Thunder at Aigburth
August 8: vs Loughborough Lightning, Haslegrave Ground
August 11: vs Western Storm at The Rose Bowl
August 12: vs Surrey Stars at The Oval
August 15: vs Lancashire Thunder in Hove
August 18: vs Surrey Stars at Arundel Castle
August 20: vs Western Storm in Bristol
August 21: vs Yorkshire Diamonds at The Rose Bowl
August 25: vs Yorkshire Diamonds at York Cricket Club
August 28: vs Loughborough Lightning at The Rose Bowl