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Suzie Bates set to form powerful Sydney Sixers opening pairing with Alyssa Healy

Sydney Sixers will see new signings Suzie Bates and Alyssa Healy team up in one of the most imposing opening partnerships in the world for this summer’s WBBL.

It means that after three seasons out of the final and after collecting last year’s wooden spoon, the Sixers have the squad to be real contenders again.

Bates and Ecclestone join Healy, Ellyse Perry and Ash Gardner as the squad’s five roster players, while Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle and Erin Burns also play a part.

An Olympian in basketball in her early days, Bates remains the world’s leading run-scorer in international T20 cricket with 3,531 out of 29.92 for New Zealand. She also scored over 100 in 71 WBBL appearances for Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers, averaging nearly 30.

“I look forward to her forging a strong opening partnership with Alyssa Healy,” said new coach Charlotte Edwards. “She’s in the shape of her life and coming from winning the Hundred [in England] where she played a vital role as leader and baton.

“I’m looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the sight of two of the best openers in the world doing their thing.”

The signing of Bates puts all-rounder Perry back to fighting in the middle order, a role she began last summer before India’s Shafali Verma’s battle sparked a rethink.

“It will be fun to play alongside Healy and Perry because I’m a bit tired of playing against them,” Bates said. “Healy has scored a lot of runs – and a few hundreds – against the Strikers in the past, so it will be nice to be on the other side and watch those two do their job.”

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