This article was written by Kristy Williams.
Queensland, and the Brisbane Heat, have a proud history of success- and with a couple of promising New Zealand additions to the squad, it may well join the Sydney Sixers in securing back-to-back titles. Six of the squad are internationals, with Sammy-Jo Johnson also in the frame for Australia, and there is no shortage of fire power in this squad. They’ll bring the heat again, no doubt.
Batters: Maddy Green, Charli Knott, Laura Harris, Mikayla Hinkley, Kirby Short
Allrounders: Grace Harris, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Jess Jonassen, Amelia Kerr, Delissa Kimmince, Courtney Sippel
Wicketkeepers: Beth Mooney
Bowlers: Lily Mills, Haidee Birkett, Georgia Prestwidge
Ins: Amelia Kerr (NZ), Maddy Green (NZ), Mikayla Hinkley (Hurricanes), Lilly Mills (QLD Cricket) | Outs: Jemma Barsby (Scorchers), Josie Dooley (Renegades), Sune Luus (SA), Laura Wolvaardt (SA)
Best XI: Mooney, G. Harris, Johnson, Green, Jonassen, L. Harris, Short (c), Kimmince, Kerr, Birkett, Prestwidge
Last season (WBBL04)
What a ride WBBL04 was for the Brisbane Heat! Jess Jonassen sunk to her haunches in the semi final against the Thunder and it all seemed lost; only for Haidee Birkett to come up trumps in one of the most clutch plays in WBBL history. They then beat the Sixers in the final after a typical display of Queensland tenacity that saw the vaunted Sixers batting line-up held to just 131, before Beth Mooney dry-wretched her side to victory in oppressive heat.
MVP: Sammy-Jo Johnson: 16 matches, 260 runs @ 17.33, SR: 139.78, 24 fours, 10 sixes, HS: 51. 20 wickets @ 17.95, ER: 6.15, BB: 3/12.
Given a licence to swing (and boy did she!) given the plethora of stroke-makers in the Heat line-up, Johnson excelled in the pitch hitting role. Her no holds barred approach was highly effective when opening the bowling, and the quick had a highly effective repertoire of slower balls to accompany her bullish speed.
It’s scary to think of how much power and depth this Brisbane Heat line-up has. Unless something drastic happens, pencil in Mooney and Grace Harris for 700+ runs. They are a sublime duo to watch. Gone are the underwhelming overseas recruits that threatened to mess up the batting line-up last season, which robbed the ‘other’ Harris, Laura, of the ability to impact. Her strike-rate of 144 showcased her ability to thump the willow and looking forward to seeing more of her cameos this season. Where does Short bat? She’s struggled to keep up with the pace. She might find herself in the lower order, especially if new recruit Maddy Green finds form. Allrounders Johnson, Jonassen and Kimmince will be expected to chip in and strike at over 120. Even Kerr can whack them.
They’ve lost dual-threat Jemma Barsby, but replaced her with an even more dangerous spinner- Kiwi star Amelia Kerr. The legspinning prodigy is still only 19 and has an economy rate of 5.96 in T20I. Her flight, fizz and variations are mesmerising. Kimmince bowls an outstanding yorker and a deceiving slower ball while Jonassen has been in terrific form for Australia. Birkett and Prestwidge are effective medium pacers while Grace Harris and her right-arm off spin are hugely underrated.
Who could forget THAT moment, when Haidee Birkett came from nowhere and plucked the ball from the sky to send her team to the WBBL Final. It wasn’t a fluke either- this one is almost better. She’s the side’s best outfielder and is always in the most dangerous position. Short is an elite infielder with a penchant for throwing the stumps down, and Mooney is the second-best ‘keeper in Australia. These Queenslanders are a well-drilled unit and the best of the lot may well be Jess Jonassen, who is a game changer at point.
There are a lot of stars in this Heat side, but for her remarkable consistency and ability to lift in the big games it’s hard to go past Beth Mooney. In the first four editions of the WBBL she has scored 400, 482, 465 and 486 runs- easily in the top five in all four tournaments. Her unorthodox strike zones are a nightmare to bowlers and you’d be brave to bet against her scoring over 400 runs again this WBBL.
There are a couple of promising youngsters coming through the Queensland system, but given the depth of the squad, it is hard to see many of them getting a run. Amelia Kerr is still a young gun despite being around on the international stage for three years, and the huge amount of domestic players who haven’t faced her regularly will be left spellbound on many an occasion.
Heart & soul
She’s almost more well known for what comes out of her mouth, but Grace Harris is an incredible competitor and a character that draws the side together, no matter the situation. Her professionalism has drastically improved in recent years, so she is someone the young players in the team will be looking up to.
Ready to explode:
The previously mentioned Laura Harris is batting in a deep line-up, but she showed when given the opportunity in both WBBL and the WNCL, that she is more than capable of crafting a good T20 innings. She might overtake Short for a middle order role given her ability to find the boundary more frequently.
Not many reasons why they can’t lift the trophy again. If Harris and Mooney don’t get runs, are there batters who can craft a long enough innings? Probably, but still a question mark. This tournament will be far more open than previous editions, and the Heat’s ability to provide pressure in the field might be what tips them over the edge over others when it comes to finals.