Phoebe Litchfield stuns in Women's Big Bash League debut for Sydney Thunder

CONFIDENCE IS HIGH: Phoebe Litchfield scoops her ninth deliver to the vacant fine leg boundary during a stunning debut. Photo: SYDNEY THUNDER
CONFIDENCE IS HIGH: Phoebe Litchfield scoops her ninth deliver to the vacant fine leg boundary during a stunning debut. Photo: SYDNEY THUNDER

The Sydney Sixers waltzed home in Friday night's Women's Big Bash League (WBBL05) opener but 16-year-old star-in-waiting Phoebe Litchfield completely stole the show, outshining all but the best-of-the-best in a remarkable debut for the Sydney Thunder.

She'd already put her rivals-to-be on notice after a video of her in the nets went viral in July before confidently confirming her status as one of Australia's brightest prospects in a stunning show at North Sydney Oval.

She did it under serious pressure, too.

After an athletic effort in the field Litchfield strolled to the crease with her side in strife at 3-25 chasing 193 for victory, joining unbeaten Australia veteran Alex Blackwell to try and resurrect the chase.

It's so weird to watch (the Thunder players) last year and now to be out there with them.

Sydney Thunder batter Phoebe Litchfield

She found her feet almost immediately, looking completely at home after a nervy first ball that she almost played back onto her stumps.

Poised and composed, she looked almost too casual as she knocked singles around before finding the boundary with just her ninth ball and then, outrageously, scooping the very next delivery to the vacant fine leg boundary.

She went over the top for a third in the next over on her way to 26 from 22 balls before she was trapped in front by a clever slower ball from the Sixers' teenage sensation Hayley Silver-Holmes, who's also 16.

She shared a club-record, 68-run, fourth-wicket stand with Blackwell (56 from 38), who made her international debut before Litchfield was even born.

Although Ellyse Perry plundered 81 from 48 and took 2-13 in a player-of-the-game effort as the Sixers ultimately won by 49 runs, it was Litchfield's debut performance on everyone's lips.

"I'm just glad to be out there, it was so much fun," Litchfield said, during a sideline interview on Channel 7's coverage.

"It's so weird to watch (the Thunder players) last year and now to be out there with them.

"(Blackwell) is so calm and composed and she's got so much experience, she made batting easy and it makes a difference having a calm head out there."

And of the scoop - almost-ramp - she simply said "there were no one there ... it's my go-to shot when I'm looking for somewhere to score."

She received a world of praise from Blackwell following the game and from Sixers and Australian wicketkeeper-bat Alyssa Healy too, the latter scored 42 from 32 and took a catch and a stumping to boot.

"To see such class from a 16-year-old is really impressive," Healy said."That's what's so great about this competition, these young girls are getting opportunities."


This story Phoebe Litchfield outshines stars in remarkable WBBL debut first appeared on Central Western Daily.