Rest a key to Sixers’ roll into WBBL finals
NEARLY three seasons down in the WBBL and the Sydney Sixers are figuring out the right balance to get through a gruelling 50-plus-day schedule.
By the end of the Sixers' semi-final against Adelaide Strikers this Friday, they will have played 14 times at grounds in Sydney, Hobart, Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide and have four times played on consecutive days in 55 days.
But they go in to the semi looking strong with five straight wins and a top of the table finish for the second time in two years.
Experienced bowler Sarah Aley says the previous two seasons have shown the balance needed to still be at your best come crunch time.
"I think we've learnt a lot from the last two years, in that there's a lot of games and training packed in to a short space of time," Aley said as the team prepared to depart for Adelaide.
"Last year one of the stats that was brought up was that we only had nine days' rest throughout the whole season.
"We learnt from that and made sure that coming in to big weeks like this and big games, weekends, we make sure we have enough time to rest and freshen up and make sure we're all mentally and physically ready to play."
The Sixers' bowling unit has an extra challenge coming in to the sudden-death part of the season with having to adapt to life without South African internationals Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp, who have returned home for international duty.
Van Niekerk is second in the league for wickets on 20, with Aley the next best after her with 18.
Aley said for them it isn't about individual achievement, instead each bowler is happy to play their part in getting the result.
"My job is whenever I get the ball to make sure I am bowling to my plans. If it means I'm not taking wickets, it doesn't matter, I know it's building the pressure so that other people can take wickets at the other end and that's sort of shown with Dane," she said.
"Now with her gone we're relying on a few others but I think Kimmy Garth has been a bit of a revelation with the ball.
"Then bringing Sarah Coyte in, she's kind of taken over Marizanne Kapp's role. She might not have the same pace, but has the same control and economically is pretty much the same and picking up wickets, as we saw on the weekend (five in two games).
"There's plenty of wicket takers in this team and we know individually when we get the ball we know what our job is and we back ourselves to do that."