An unchanged 13-woman squad has been named for the Lendlease Breakers 22nd straight Women’s National Cricket League Final against Western Australia on Saturday, in what will mark the end of the incredible career of captain Alex Blackwell.
Earlier this week, Blackwell announced her retirement from International and Domestic cricket.
The right-handed top-order batter scored an amazing 5,250 runs throughout an illustrious international career for Australia and a record-setting 19th title at Blacktown International Sports Park No. 2 would be a fitting farewell.
“This is a really important competition for us, as the WNCL has played such a big part of the Breakers history,” said Breakers coach Jo Broadbent.
“There is a real passion and pride that goes along with playing for your state and our players play with their heart and soul because of the team’s heritage. It’s a pride that doesn’t fade,” she said.
It is a very strong squad for the Breakers that comprises six players that were selected in both the Australian One-Day International and T20 squads for the upcoming tour of India.
Those players include world class all-rounder and two-time Belinda Clark Award winner, Ellyse Perry, Australian wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy, Australian opening batter Rachael Haynes, promising young fast bowler Belinda Vakarewa, and all-rounders Naomi Stalenberg and Nicola Carey.
The Breakers coach said the selection of the squad demonstrates a significant depth of talent.
“We are in an extremely fortunate position where we have a real depth of talent with both our batters and bowlers,” Broadbent said.
“As a team we worked very hard at the start of the WNCL season to get into the strongest position possible in order to secure a home final. Now we want to harness our position and good form by finishing off our season the way we started.”
Haynes has been in imperious form throughout the WNCL. She has been the Breakers leading run-scorer making 358 runs at the astonishing average of 119.33. This tally included a highest score of 103 not out from 93 balls in the six-wicket win over Queensland Fire in October at the same venue as the final.
The Australia captain, during the successful Women’s Ashes campaign in October and November, also posted three half-centuries during the competition.
Haynes continued that superb form in Tasmania last weekend where the Breakers secured the home final with wins over Tasmania and South Australia respectively.
The opener made 92 not out from 71 deliveries against Tasmania and 76 off 67 balls in the victory over South Australia to get the Breakers off to fast starts in both games and establish match-winning positions.
Her opening partnership with Healy will be vital for the Breakers against a challenging opponent.
“Western Fury are a team that we plan not to underestimate, with both bat and ball,” Broadbent said.
The Western Australian team includes Australian players Nicole Bolton and dangerous batter Elyse Villani, who will captain the Fury.
“They have a strong combination of experienced international players and younger, developing talents.”
Lendlease Breakers squad:
Alex Blackwell ©