December 16, 2019 10:25am by MATT BALMER @mattbalmer7 Source: FOX SPORTS
Last year’s edition of the Big Bash League was full of twists and turns – including a chaotic final 10 overs where the Melbourne Stars’ grasp on the trophy slipped.
But all eight teams are looking forward, as they hunt the most coveted domestic cricket trophy in Australia.
Does AB de Villiers’ addition mean the Brisbane Heat will post mammoth targets no team can chase? Or will the Renegades go back-to-back after signing white ball specialist Shaun Marsh.
HOW TO WATCH
Every single match will be available to watch on Fox Cricket 501 and Kayo Sports.
ODDS (courtesy of Bet365)*
*As of December 15, 2019
$5 – Brisbane Heat
$5.50 – Melbourne Stars
$6 – Melbourne Renegades
$7 – Hobart Hurricanes
$7.50 – Adelaide Strikers
$8 – Perth Scorchers
$9 – Sydney Sixers
$9 – Sydney Thunder
2011/12: Sydney Sixers
2012/13: Brisbane Heat
2013/14: Perth Scorchers
2014/15: Perth Scorchers
2015/16: Sydney Thunder
2016/17: Perth Scorchers
2017/18: Adelaide Strikers
2018/19: Melbourne Renegades
Last season: Seventh
Squad: Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Travis Head, Rashid Khan (AFG), Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Philip Salt (ENG), Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Cameron White, Nick Winter.
Ins: Harry Conway, Harry Nielsen, Philip Salt, Cameron White
Outs: Michael Cormack, David Grant, Colin Ingram, Ben Laughlin
Players to watch: Rashid Khan returns to the Adelaide Oval following a season where he collected 19 wickets and left the batters in a spin. Ben Laughlin is a huge out for the squad, but Peter Siddle had a career-best season last summer and will be a key to their bowling attack. Phil Salt will give some fireworks at the top of the order.
Supercoach prospect: With Ben Laughlin leaving the Strikers and heading home to Brisbane, fast bowler Wes Agar ($84,200) should be one of the first picked. The young quick has claimed two five-wicket one-day hauls this season, as well as 23 wickets at an average of 21 in red ball cricket for South Australia.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Phil Salt, Jake Weatherald, Alex Carey (c, wk), Jon Wells, Cameron White, Matt Short, Michael Neser, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Wes Agar, Billy Stanlake
Last season: Fifth
Squad: Chris Lynn, Tom Banton (ENG), AB de Villiers (SA) Mujeeb Ur Rahman (AFG), Zahir Khan (AFG), Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Matthew Renshaw, Josh Lalor, Mitch Swepson, Jack Prestwidge, Mark Steketee, Jimmy Peirson, Marnus Labuschagne, Matt Kuhnemann, Cameron Gannon.
Ins: Tom Banton, AB de Villiers, Zahir Khan, Ben Laughlin, Cameron Gannon
Outs: Brendan Doggett, Alex Ross, Brendon McCullum
Players to watch: The Heat might have one of the most damaging batter orders – especially when AB de Villiers arrives – but the pressure will be on their bowling attack which has struggled in past seasons. Ben Laughlin is one of the best bowlers in BBL history, while left-arm leg spinner Zahir Khan should bamboozle opposition teams during December. James Pattinson appears unlikely to be available until 2020.
Supercoach prospect: Tom Banton ($125,000) warmed-up for the BBL with 121 from just 40 balls in club cricket, indicating just how damaging he can be in the 20/20 game. The England international is set for a major international role in the next five years and this could be the tournament to springboard him into the national team.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Tom Banton, Max Bryant, Chris Lynn ©, Matt Renshaw, Sam Heazlett, Ben Cutting, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Mitch Swepson, Josh Lalor, Ben Laughlin, Zahir Khan
Last season: Semi-Finals
Squad: Qais Ahmed (AFG), George Bailey, Scott Boland, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Jarrod Freeman, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, David Miller (SA), David Moody, Tom Rogers, Clive Rose, D’Arcy Short, Aaron Summers, Matthew Wade
Ins: Scott Boland, Nathan Ellis, David Miller
Outs: Johan Botha, Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer, Tim Paine, Alex Doolan
Players to watch: All eyes have been on D’Arcy Short, Ben McDermott and Matthew Wade in recent seasons, but the latter will miss the start of the season due to international commitments. The big addition is South African David Miller, who provides a big boost to their middle order. He is an impact player who doesn’t need a lot of balls to impact the game, striking at 129 in the IPL this season.
Supercoach prospect: D’Arcy Short ($262,800) might cost you an arm and a leg if you are to fit him in your Supercoach team, but there’s a reason. Short was the player of the tournament in BBL|08, dominating at the top of the order with countless big scores and is bound to pick up a number of wickets with his wrist-spin bowling.
Possible Rd 1 XI: D’Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott (wk), George Bailey ©, David Miller, Simon Milenko, James Faulkner, Clive Rose, Qais Ahmed, Riley Meredith, Nathan Ellis
Last season: Winners
Squad: Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Richard Gleeson (England), Harry Gurney (England), Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Shaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Mohammed Nabi (Afghanistan), Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster, Jack Wildermuth
Ins: Shaun Marsh, Richard Gleeson, Jake Fraser-McGurk
Outs: Chris Tremain, Cameron White, Tim Ludeman
Players to watch: How the Renegades shape their top order will be fascinating, with four genuine openers across their batting. Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh were the front runners, while Marcus Harris and Sam Harper both opened at times during BBL|08. However, after a huge score in a warm-up game against the Stars, Harper has cemented his spot at the top. Marsh has joined the Renegades and is one of the best white ball players in the world. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the Marvel Stadium deck.
Supercoach prospect: Young guns Will Sutherland and Jake Fraser-McGurk are both listed at $42,000, so should provide good value to sit on your bench. Sutherland can hit a long ball and might have the slight edge on Fraser-McGurk because of his pace bowling. The Renegades’ youth approach has worked exceptionally well in the past.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Sam Harper (wk), Aaron Finch (c), Shaun Marsh, Marcus Harris, Tom Cooper, Dan Christian, Will Sutherland, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Richard Gleeson, Harry Gurney
Last season: Runners-up
Squad: Pat Brown (ENG), Hilton Cartwright, Jackson Coleman, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Peter Handscomb, Clint Hinchliffe, Sandeep Lamichhane (NEP), Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jonathan Merlo, Lance Morris, Tom O’Connell, Dale Steyn (SA), Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa.
Ins: Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Dale Steyn, Pat Brown
Outs: Michael Beer (retired), Jackson Bird (Sydney Sixers), Scott Boland (Hobart Hurricanes), Liam Bowe, Dwayne Bravo, Travis Dean, Evan Gulbis, Liam Plunkett.
Players to watch: Marcus Stoinis lost his spot in the Australian squad, but it’s a tournament which could help the all-rounder push his case to be on the plane to India for an ODI series. Stoinis hits a long ball, while his change of pace bowling can make him an effective death bowler. Alongside Adam Zampa and Dale Steyn, the Stars have plenty of bowlers who can restrict and claim wickets during the 20 overs.
Supercoach prospect: Nic Maddinson ($130,800) was one of Victoria’s standouts at the start of the season and after taking time away from the game to focus on his health and wellbeing, the left hander is ready to explode at the top of the order. A strong start to the tournament would put him back into the thoughts of the Australian selectors.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell ©, Peter Handscomb (wk), Hilton Cartwright, Nick Larkin, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Daniel Worrall, Dale Steyn, Sandeep Lamichhane
Last season: Eighth
Squad: Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Nick Hobson, Josh Inglis, Chris Jordan (Eng), Matt Kelly, Liam Livingstone (Eng), Mitch Marsh, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, AJ Tye, Sam Whiteman
Ins: Fawad Ahmed, Chris Jordan, Luke Livingstone, Kurtis Patterson
Outs: Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Michael Klinger, Shaun Marsh, David Willey, Usman Qadir
Players to watch: On the quick and bouncy wickets, opposition teams will need to look out for Jhye Richardson who could well hit the 150kmp/h mark. The quick has battled injuries in the last 12 months, but a strong BBL|09 campaign should put him back in Australian colours very soon. Matt Kelly and Joel Paris will also be a handful for opposition teams.
Supercoach prospect: Fawad Ahmed ($113,000) might be one of the oldest players still going around on the T20 circuit, but the leg spinner is still one of the most dangerous tweakers in the short form game. Ahmed claimed 13 wickets in BBL|08, but has moved to the Perth Scorchers on a two-year deal. As a consistent wicket taker, Ahmed is bound to score well for your team.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Cameron Bancroft, Sam Whiteman, Liam Livingstone, Ashton Turner, Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Joel Paris, Matt Kelly, Fawad Ahmed
Last season: Semi-Finals
Squad: Sean Abbott, Justin Avendano, Jackson Bird, Tom Curran (ENG), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Micky Edwards, Daniel Fallins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Josh Phillippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith, James Vince (ENG)
Ins: Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird
Outs: Joe Denly, Peter Nevill, Henry Thornton, Greg West, Ben Manenti
Players to watch: Tom Curran will lead the Sydney Sixers bowling attack with the England seam bowler a player who will claim a lot of wickets this summer. While Curran can clear the rope late in the game, his best work is with the ball at the death where his plethora of slower balls help the Sixers claim crucial late wickets. Jackson Bird will look to swing the new ball early, while Sean Abbott and Ben Dwarshuis round out a strong attack which includes left arm tweaker Steve O’Keefe.
Supercoach prospect: It will be hard to look past Sydney Sixer Josh Philippe ($123,000) for a spot as your wicketkeeper. The hard-hitting top order batter smacked 304 runs in BBL|08 and the Perth Scorchers moved heaven and earth as they attempted to bring the right hander home to WA. Philippe is set for a big tournament alongside James Vince in the top three.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Daniel Hughes, Josh Philippe (wk), James Vince, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Steve O’Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird
Last season: Sixth
Squad: Jonathan Cook, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Callum Ferguson, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (ENG), Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Morris (SA), Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain
Ins: Brendan Doggett, Alex Ross, Chris Tremain, Oliver Davies, Alex Hales, Chris Morris
Outs: Fawad Ahmed, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Patrick Cummins, Ryan Gibson, Liam Hatcher, Kurtis Patterson, Sam Rainbird, Shane Watson, Anton Devcich, Chris Jordan
Players to watch: With no Fawad Ahmed, all eyes will be on Chris Green who will take more of the responsibility in the Sydney Thunder attack. Green is now a T20 specialist around the world, playing in a number of tournament overseas where he has performed exceptionally well. With a T20 World Cup around the corner, another strong tournament will put pressure on Adam Zampa. Arjun Nair will add some X-Factor to the line-up, while Chris Morris should dominate with bat and ball.
Supercoach prospect: Usman Khawaja ($198,500) might be the most expensive player in the Sydney Thunder squad, but there’s a good reason behind selecting the left hander. With Australia dumping the experienced top order batter, he is set to take the BBL by storm. In 2015-16, Khawaja dominated the tournament as he helped the Thunder lift the title. They will be hoping for another big tournament by Khawaja.
Possible Rd 1 XI: Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (captain), Matt Gilkes (wk), Jason Sangha, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Chris Morris, Chris Green, Chris Tremain