Team Preview: Surrey Stars is the team to beat
Having maintained the core of the team that won the Women’s Cricket Super League last year, Surrey Stars appear to be one of the strongest teams in the 2019 competition. The team is led by Natalie Sciver the England allrounder, and boasts of some of the best talent from England and around the world.
Sciver leads the batting department which contains the likes of Sarah Taylor, Lizele Lee, Bryony Smith and Dane van Niekerk. The bowling department has a perfect blend of pace and spin, with Marizanne Kapp, the fast bowler from South Africa, leading their charge. Laura Marsh, Mady Villiers and van Niekerk provide balance to the attack with their spin bowling.
Their overseas contingent is one of the strongest amongst the teams— both individually and collectively— while Surrey’s England internationals— Sciver, Marsh, Taylor, Smith and now Villiers— make the side seem even stronger than before.
Sophia Dunkley, who played a major role in Surrey’s campaign last season has been shifted over to Lancashire. While it is likely that the defending champions will certainly feel her absence in the middle order, they will need to find someone to fill the gap quickly.
Surrey Stars were crowned champions in the last edition of the WCSL. Considering the strength of their squad, and that they have kept the core of their team together, Surrey are surely one of the teams to beat this season as well. Having struggled through the first season— only managing two wins in the season— Surrey came back wonderfully in 2017 and then 2018 as well. First, they reached finals day in 2017, losing in the semi-final, before going one better in 2018 to win the entire tournament. They will be looking to repeat that performance this time around
Through the course of the WCSL so far, Sciver has been the rock of the Surrey Stars batting line-up. With 697 runs at an average of 49.78 and a strike rate in excess of 135 she has almost always led from the front with the bat in hand. Sciver would have been disappointed with her Ashes performances, having struggled to make an impact with both bat and ball she will be determined to make her presence felt in the WCSL. Like many of her England teammates, the England allrounder will be looking to use the WCSL as an opportunity to regain some confidence heading towards the Women’s T20 World Cup in February while also signing off the tournament with a bang.
Sciver has so far played 22 matches for the club and has scored three half-centuries. She is not only Surrey’s leading run-getter, but also their highest wicket-taker with 25 scalps in 22 matches. Her allround contributions will be key to Surrey’s campaign this year.
Lee is the second highest scorer for her side after Sciver. She has amassed 475 runs at a strike rate of 146. She has also smashed as many as 24 sixes— by far the most by a batter from Surrey. When on song, the right-hander is unstoppable. She has the ability to clear the ropes with utmost ease against both spin and pace. In the last few years she has established herself as one of the most feared openers in the world, with the ability to almost single-handedly take the game away from the opposition.
In last year’s WCSL final she tore apart Loughborough Lightening’s bowling attack enroute to a scintillating 104 of just 58 balls which took her side to a competitive total of 183. In the end it proved too much for Lightning who had to settle for second place.
Player to watch:
Mady Villiers, England’s young off-spinner, showed great character and game smarts on her international debut against Australia last Wednesday (July 31). Walking into a side that had been handed defeat after defeat by Meg Lanning’s team, Villiers injected the hosts with an energy that had been missing from the very start of the series. She picked up two big wickets in her four over spell, removing Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner in the same over to hand England a huge advantage in the final game— an advantage that they made sure to make the most of.
In her first season of the WCSL last year Villiers picked up five wickets in 11 matches at an average of 18. Her tournament economy rate of 6.92 reflected great control and subtle variation that she used every time.
Having gained some confidence from her experiences with the England team, and also having done well for England Academy against Australia A, Villiers will be looking to make a big impact for Surrey Stars this WCSL.
The squad for Surrey Stars looks strong and balanced. On their given day if their core group of players come good then they can destroy any opposition. A top two finish looks very likely.
Squad: Natalie Sciver, Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Bryony Smith, Amy Gordon, Mady Villiers, Aylish Cranstone, Gwenan Davies, Grace Gibbs, Eva Grey, Hannah Jones, Rhianna Southby, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelee Lee, Dane van Niekerk
August 6: vs Yorkshire Diamonds, at Headingly
August 8: vs Lanchashire Thunder, at Woodbridge Road
August 12: vs Southern Vipers, at Kennington Oval
August 15: vs Loughbourough Lightnings, at Woodbridge Road
August 18: vs Southern Vipers, at Arundel Castle
August 20: vs Yorkshire Diamonds, at Woodbridge Road
August 21: vs Western Storm, at Taunton
August 23: vs Loughbourough Lightinings, at Haslegrave
August 25: vs Western Storm, at Woodbridge Road
August 28: vs Lancashire Thunder, at Stanley Park