The Melbourne Renegades have emerged as a team on the rise in the women’s Big Bash League this season but face a double test of their development against the Sydney Sixers this week.
The fourth-placed Renegades will host the second-placed Sixers at Camberwell Sports Ground on Tuesday and then in Geelong on Wednesday, the latter as part of a double header with the men at GMHBA Stadium.
The Gades are on a roll, having enjoyed three straight wins before Christmas, including two against the Brisbane Heat.
Skipper Amy Satterthwaite, batting all-rounder Sophie Molineux, 19, and leg-spinner Georgia Wareham, 18, have been influential, while off-spinner Molly Strano has also been important, claiming eight wickets in five matches.
Strano, a part of ‘s Twenty20 international set-up, said the Renegades were developing well.
“We are really rapt with how we have started off the season. We had five games before Christmas. Before we played our first game, we pencilled in that we would be really happy if we could get three wins and we managed to do that. That was a little tick for us there,” she said on Monday.
“We have a really awesome test against probably the best team in the competition [Sixers] over the first two years of competition. It will be a really good test for our squad to see how we stack up.”
The Renegades invested in youth in the opening two seasons, with match-day maturity now starting to pay off.
“All those girls have had two years now and are starting to blossom. It’s worked out well in the end. We’ve had some tough years finishing last and second last but we are starting to turn the corner now and we have got a team that is really competitive and that is really keen to play finals,” Strano said.
In a season where power hitting has intensified, Satterthwaite has 148 runs and Molineux 141 runs in five games, the latter with a player-of-the-match 45 off 37 deliveries against the Heat. The emerging Wareham has also formed a strong spin combination with Strano, the latter pushing for further international honours with a tour of India and women’s World Twenty20 on the horizon.
“That’s the beauty about our team – we don’t just rely on one person. Amy has done a really good job for us over the last three games but we know if she happens to fail with the bat, we know we have Emma Inglis, Sophie, Jess Cameron who can come in as well,” Strano said.
That development will face a huge test against a deep Sixers line-up featuring n great Ellyse Perry and emerging star Ashleigh Gardner.
“They bat very deep but we have done our homework – hopefully, we can nullify their effectiveness and try and get them out early before they get going,” Strano said.