The WPL scouting report

A phase-wise analysis of the best players in the WPL

The WPL scouting report
Photo Credit - Deepak Malik/SPORTZPICS

When you think of Grace Harris, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you followed the WPL last year, you’d be forgiven if you went straight to burgers. Last season we learned that Harris loves them. And she has been taking a big bite out of bowlers in the last 13 months.


Look at Harris in the Powerplay, she’s striking at 145 and has been pretty consistent at it too. She’s been the quickest scorer in that phase by a distance. All of her runs in this phase have come in franchise cricket, largely for the Brisbane Heat, where she opens the batting.

The other batters who we can consider as ‘elite’ are Sophie Devine, Shafali Verma, Danni Wyatt and Alyssa Healy, with Devine being the most consistent at it. 

Chamari Athapaththu and Ellyse Perry are two worth having a look at. Both have been incredibly consistent and scored at a decent click. 

Of the eight batters who scored at a strike Rate of 120+, five are from UP Warriors. Unfortunately for them, all five are overseas options, so it’s likely that at least two miss out on regular game time.

Gujarat Giants is the only side with no one striking at over 115 in the Powerplay, which is also something to watch.

If you’re wondering why you can’t see Nat Sciver Brunt on this graph… Well, it’s because her numbers completely ruin it, so we had to filter her out.

Her consistency has been incredible, but her strike rate of 102 is not ideal. She makes up for it in the next two phases.

Middle Overs

Wyatt has the best strike rate in this phase - and it's not even close.

Nat Sciver-Brunt, Hayley Mathews and Amelia Kerr are real weapons in the middle overs, averaging over 30. In fact, Sciver-Brunt and Matthews combine it with a strike rate of over 140. Throw in the fact that all of them can bowl their full quota, it’s basically like Mumbai Indians have three extra players in their side.

Ellyse Perry’s evolution over the last couple of years has been incredible. After being dropped from the Australian T20 side for much of 2022, she’s completely transformed her game into one of the best across phases. She might be required to do some heavy lifting for RCB in the middle overs this season, with Heather Knight pulling out of the tournament. Devine will play the role of the aggressor while also scoring at a consistent rate.

Mandhana has not been in great form, but you’d think her performance in the last season of the WPL was an exception and not the norm. Richa Ghosh getting an eye in in this phase is also going to be crucial for RCB, given her power-hitting skills at the death.

The middle over phase is also when we see the Delhi Capitals step up. Shafali Verma remains elite, scoring at nearly 150, while Alice Capsey, Meg Lanning and new recruit Annabel Sutherland are all capable of kicking on in the middle phase.

Marizanne Kapp doesn’t have a great strike rate, but it should be interesting to see how she does in a team that is not as dependent on her batting as South Africa. Lanning, though she’s retired from International Cricket since the last WPL, has been in some incredible form at the WNCL for Victoria. Sutherland is coming off a Test double-hundred, while Kapp also scored plenty of runs on South Africa’s tour of Australia, so form shouldn't be an issue for the Capitals.

Litchfield picks up the pace in the middle overs, and Beth Mooney has proved to be the glue that holds the Australian team together. Wolvaardt is more of a classical anchor-type batter, so whether all three play would be interesting to see.

It might come down to one of Wyatt or Athapaththu opening the batting with Healy. Although Athapaththu has been in outstanding form recently, Wyatt's strike rate compared to the others here is hard to ignore.

Grace Harris is once again among the top in terms of strike rate in this phase, only the second batter at 150+. But if you think that’s incredible, she’s untouchable in the death overs.

Death Overs

Harris is probably the most explosive batter at the moment, but unfortunately doesn’t always get a go in International Cricket. Her record also gives the Warriors some flexibility with their batting line-up - they can go the Heat route and push her up the order with Alyssa Healy, or use her as a finisher like Australia does. Either way, you’re guaranteed some quick scoring.

Tahlia McGrath hasn’t got a shout in either of the other phases, but the death overs seem to be her best phase to bat in, she’s only one of 4 to score at a strike rate over 200.

Another player who gives her team incredible flexibility is Phoebe Litchfield. A top-order batter throughout her domestic career, Litchfield has almost surprisingly excelled in the middle order for Australia. The Giants already have Beth Mooney and Laura Wolvaardt to open, so Litchfield might have to play the finisher role for them. She’s very different from Harris, definitely not a batter you’d describe as a basher, but she’s found a way to be successful at the death.

Can’t do a piece on batting without talking about Beth Mooney. The definition of a perfect anchor for Gujarat, she doesn’t start at breakneck speed but once she settles in can get quick runs and well, she just doesn’t get out.

Sophie Devine is excellent at the top of the order and if she lasts to the death, well, things could go south for the bowling side. RCB do seem to have much of their bases covered their, despite losing Heather Knight, with Richa Ghosh, new recruit Georgia Wareham and of course Ellyse Perry striking at 175+.

Hayley Matthews, has the most wickets in all franchise T20s since January 2023. Imagine being the second-highest run-getter AND the highest wicket-taker. In the same time period, Chamari Athapaththu is fourth on the run-getters list and also makes the top 20 wicket takers in franchise T20s.

But you’d have to think Sophie Ecclestone is still the number one white-ball bowler in the game, despite the fact that a shoulder injury kept her out for some time. And she should still not bother bowling with the new ball when the field is up. 

Then there is Kapp, who has taken twice as many Powerplay wickets than the other Delhi Capitals bowlers combined. 

So, how do teams stack up in each phase of the game with the ball?


Kapp possesses the ability to move the ball and is quick. She is at another level in terms of volume of wickets, and will most likely be paired with the young Indian sensation Titas Sadhu, who has taken seven wickets at just over 10 runs apiece. They can also use the services of Shikha Pandey, who bowled well in the Powerplay in the WPL but hasn’t played a T20I since. Jess Jonassen and Annabel Sutherland can chip in. 

New Zealand’s Lea Tahuhu brings with her a wealth of experience for the Gujarat Giants, who don’t really have particularly strong new-ball bowling options after Kim Garth was released. Scotland’s Kathryn Bryce has a solid record, but it is worth noting that she has not yet played against a lot of top teams in international cricket. Gardner went at 10 runs an over in the WPL, but she got that econ back to under eight at the WBBL. However, this is clearly not her best phase in the game.

In the last IPL season, MI used all four of Nat Sciver-Brunt, Issy Wong, Saika Ishaque and Hayley Matthews when the field restrictions were on, and had a pretty successful run. They’ve also signed Shabnim Ismail this season, so they’ve certainly got options.

Renuka Singh goes at less than a run a ball, and can move the ball both ways.

Kate Cross hasn’t been great in the Powerplay over the last 13 months, but was good before that. Wrist-spinner Georgia Wareham can also bowl with the new ball. They also have the services of the all-round duo of Sophie Devine and Ellyse Perry - the real question is, how many of them will eventually start.

Not only is Athapaththu one of the top batters, her off-spin also makes a strong case for her to be included in the XI. Deepti Sharma can bowl off-spin with the new ball, and run batters out at the non-striker’s end, an endless threat. You’d think they need more wickets from Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Anjali Sarvani early on. Grace Harris is not on here because she has bowled only nine overs in this time period, and only two after the last WPL.

Middle Overs

Jonassen and Sutherland are the Capitals best options to take wickets in the middle overs, while Pandey and Kapp can keep things tight. Radha Yadav is still not picking up wickets, but she has an economy rate of less than seven.

You can see that Gardner completely holds her own in the middle phase. Sneh Rana is not taking wickets and is their most expensive option. GG will hope she comes good, and Bryce and Tahuhu live up to the expectations in their first WPL season.

Not one of the MI bowlers goes at eight runs per over or averages over 25, including their all-round options. Ishaque was the find of the tournament last season, and part of what made her successful was her ability to attack the stumps. Amelia Kerr could make a strong case for being one of the most impactful bowlers in this phase of the game. Matthews continues to be brilliant too.

RCB should not use Renuka in this phase. Wareham and left-arm orthodox spinner Sophie Molineux are good picks. However, Molineux has not played a lot of T20s in this time period due to an ACL rupture in November 2022. They will likely have an overseas spinner to complement Shreyanka Patil. Wareham makes a strong case with her hitting ability with the bat. Perry would also be crucial as a seam option, because Devine goes for a few runs. They might use Cross as well. 

Ecclestone is the best bowler in the middle overs, and not only is she accurate but she can also turn the ball. Athapaththu also takes wickets and does not go for many, while Harris is also a useful option. The Indian duo of Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad also do a good job here. It’s quite clear that they would rely on spin for most of the middle overs, though McGrath is also a genuine wicket-taking option.

It’s worth mentioning left-arm spinner Gouher Sultana, who last played a T20 for India in 2014 and is the only Indian along with Harmanpreet Kaur to have debuted before 2010.

Death Overs

Although Jess Jonassen is a death overs specialist, her economy has been slightly higher recently and she’s notably not been a part of the Australian side in the most recent series against South Africa. Capsey is another spinner who has experience of bowling in the final overs. Sutherland is the only bowler who goes at less than nine runs per over. Kapp has a brilliant yorker, but her numbers at the death have not been flattering at all, certainly not by her standards.

Bryce’s numbers look good and playing her would give the Giants an extra overseas option, but she is a bit of an unknown quantity at the WPL. Gardner has been pretty solid at the death and is nailed on to make the XI, so she’ll be a straightforward option for Beth Mooney.

MI have all their bases covered in the death overs too - are we sensing a trend here from the defending champs? None of their bowlers concede more than nine runs per over, and only Matthews is above eight. They have a seamer, an offie, and a leggie among their bowling options that delivered at least 60 balls at the death in this time period. 

RCB will rely on the spin duo of Patil and Wareham to close out games for them. De Klerk might also be a handy option if she is in the playing XI.

Ecclestone is by far the best death bowler in this time period. This could be because a lot of other players at the death bowl with a low arm and skid it through, and she has a high arm action which makes the cross bat shots less consistent. But Athapaththu and Deepti also do a decent job in the crunch overs, so it would be interesting to see their approach with the ball in this phase if they decide to use only spinners.

After doing a phase-wise analysis for the batters and bowlers, it would be fair to say that Matthews and Athapaththu not only have huge counting stats but they’re also impactful in multiple phases of the game on both sides of the ball. I often talk about the Botham-Pringle continuum, and these two players really have turned their teams from 11 players to 12. 

Pretty incredible when you consider that Athapaththu hasn’t been bought at an auction - she’s in as a replacement player, while Mathews was almost passed on too.