Ellyse Perry primed as Sydney Sixers return to Hurstville Oval for WBBL04 double header

Ellyse Perry is keen for the Sydney Sixers to continue their dominance at Hurstville Oval when they return to the St George district for a WBBL04 double header.

The Sixers host Brisbane on Sunday before welcoming Adelaide to Hurstville on December 28 as they look to maintain their place at the top of the table.

Sixers captain Perry has been in imperious form so far this season. The 28-year-old was the leading run scorer for the WBBL03 season with 552 runs in 16 innings. But, in just five knocks in WBBL04, Perry has already smashed an incredible 316 runs at an average of 158.

The Australia superstar helped the Sixers to a pair of victories over the Hurricanes in Hobart on the weekend with another brutal half century, with Perry’s unbeaten 72 coming in just 55 balls on Sunday.

Perry told the Leader her side, the two-time defending WBBL champions, were keen to return to Hurstville where they have built an impressive record.

“It’s really brilliant. I love playing at Hurstville, I think we all do. You always get a great crowd and atmosphere. The conditions in terms of the pitch and outfield are always conducive to high-scoring games,” she said.

“I love that it’s that time of year as well. I hope as many people come down as possible being school holidays. It’s great to go around interacting before and after the game and meeting the kids and hopefully giving them a positive experience they’ll remember. 

“For us it’s a massive [couple of games]. Even in the first round for us against the [Melbourne] Stars it was a huge wake up call. Every team has a lot of quality in it and one player can easily take the game away from you.

“Both Brisbane and Adelaide are really dangerous teams in their own right. It’s really important for us leading into the new year that we perform well and continue to build our own momentum.”

The Sixers will also host the Heat at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. After losing their opening match of the tournament, the Sixers have won their last four games in a row to sit top of the WBBL04 table.

As for her own form, Perry said it was simply a case of making hay while the sun was shining.

“I think cricket is a pretty fickle game. Sometimes you’ve just got to cash in when you get the opportunity. Certainly in T20 cricket opening the batting is the best place to bat. You’re guaranteed to get a bat and when you get the opportunity you want to cash in.

“That’s been really helpful. I’ve been fortunate the last couple of knocks. I love opening the batting with Alyssa Healy too. That partnership is really cool. Being out there from the start you get a feel for the match and how things are as well.

“I suppose it was [a conscious decision to score runs quicker] but also it’s just going with the way the game is developing. The change has been so rapid in the women’s game the last couple of years. Every season you look at the average runs and they’ve gone from teams scoring on average six runs an over to seven-and-a-half runs an over in less than 12 months.

“Basically the game is evolving really quickly so the players have to too. Last year I played a role with the team that was probably what worked for us and gave us a good blue print. This year we’re conscious we need to continue to grow as a team and part of that is to improve which for me required some work.

“For me that was thinking about expanding my stroke range and really having multiple options that I can play to. Most of us have a blue print for the way we play. But having a couple of different shots to score off the same ball based on where the field is has given me something extra.”

Perry said her side still had plenty to improve on despite their double victories in Hobart as they hunt a third successive title.

“Any time you come away from a weekend winning two from two is really nice. There was a few little things in those matches though where we were a little off the pace,” she said.

“The first day we were a little bit poor in the field and also the way we bowled. The second half of that match the way we chased down a pretty big total was important but we’d made life hard for ourselves in the first place.

“It’s a really good challenge for us. This competition is so tight that winning is really important to keeping your momentum up which is really important as well.

“We’ve got the potential [to win the competition again] as any team does. Certainly it’s something that we set out to do. It’s something we’d love to achieve, I think it’s going to be really tough.

“The big thing for us is to play better cricket than we did last year. And we have in patches in the five games we’ve played so far.

“This competition is relentless so you have to consistently excellent if you’re going to be successful.”