Cricket / buttler
Big Bash 2018/19: Full Preview, Predictions and Fantasy Team
If you missed my recent post on T20 cricket in general and why the Big Bash League represents a great opportunity to get into the sport then you can catch up here. There are 8 teams in the BBL representing the major cities of Australia with Sydney and Melbourne offering up 2 franchises a piece. Below is my analysis and opinion on the squads involved in this year's tournament. source Adelaide Strikers I spent 5 years of my childhood living just outside Adelaide so obviously, I still hold a soft spot for this team who last year finally managed to break their duck and take the BBL 07 title. So often Adelaide had been the form team in the league part of the season only to fall away in the knockout games. They have managed to keep much of the same team that they had last year together for this season although the likelihood is that Travis Head will not be available until after he finishes playing in the current Test series against India. Batting wise, I look forward to seeing Alex Carey play, he surely must be the long-term keeper batsman option for Australia at least within the limited overs formats. Australia need to settle on a definite plan for the coming World Cup but I'd imagine that this guy will be apart of it. Adelaide will also be hoping from more from their Oversea's signing Colin Ingram. His performances for Glamorgan over the last couple of seasons have highlighted him as one of the cleanest strikers of a cricket ball around, i'd be surprised if he didn't get going this season. Probably the strongest suit for Adelaide is there bowling attack that boasts international quality throughout including Billy Stanlake, Ben Laughlin, Michael Nesser, Peter Siddle and Rashid Khan. Sides will struggle to post big scores against that group and if the batsmen can put runs on the board you'd fancy Adelaide's bowlers to defend them. Brisbane Heat Balance is probably the key that Brisbane Heat will be looking to achieve this year. There is no doubting their ball striking ability at the top of the order with Chris Lynn, Brendan McCullum and Joe Burns all available again. They also have the hard-hitting Ben Cutting who can do some serious damage towards the back end of matches. However, as with previous years, the question will remain whether they can win enough matches to get into the knockout phase with their relatively weak bowling attack. Much will depend on the fitness and form of James Pattinson who on his day can bowl as quickly as anyone. Perhaps Brisbane Heat's trump cards will be in the form of Aussie leg-spinner Mitch Swepson and 17-year-old Afghan Mujeeb Ur Rahman. If those 2 can consistently strangle sides in the middle over phase then there is no reason to believe that The Heat can't sneak a top 4 spot. With both Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman plying their trade in the competition, could it be the year of Afghanistan spinners? Hobart Hurricanes Last season's beaten finalists will be hoping to go one better this time around. Much of their success last year was built off the back of Darcy Short's run-scoring at the top of the order. Those performances helped catapult him into the Aussie ODI side and gain a lucrative contract with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL but Short failed to really live up to the hype and he'll be seeking to prove that he is more than just a one season wonder. Much of Hobart's success with the ball will once again rest with 2 Englishmen in Jofra Archer and Tymal Mills. Archer is arguably the world's most exciting fast bowling prospect and with the ECB having recently changed its rules around residency he could yet end up in England's World Cup squad and playing in the Ashes later that summer. What a bonus it would be for England to finally have a bowler who can crank it up to 90mph! My concern is that we are putting his form and fitness in the hands of the Australians! Please send him back home in one piece .......... Melbourne Renegades The Renegades success last year was largely a result of the strength in their top order batting. However, 12 months on and with the terrain of Australian cricket looking very different, 2 of those top order players (Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris) are now opening the batting in Test Matches for the national team. With Dwayne Bravo having made the controversial move across the city to the Stars, the Renegades look likely to struggle to match their semi-final place of last year. Dan Christian has been brought into the side from Hobart Hurricanes to help fill the void left by Bravo and it looks as though the Renegades will be relying on him and other experienced campaigners in the form of Cameron White and Tim Ludeman to get them the necessary wins. Melbourne Stars Rock bottom in last year's contest, the Stars have gone all out in recruiting Dwayne Bravo and bringing in young Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane. From an all-rounders perspective, the Stars look very strong this year with Bravo lining up alongside Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell. The question remains where those players bat and who they can bring in to support them both at the top of the order in regards specialist bowlers. Big John Hastings will be sorely missed in this year's competition due to his enforced retirement as a result of poor health. Nic Maddison has also been recruiting to help bolster the batting ranks and I'd expect to see a much-improved Stars this time around. Perth Scorchers Perhaps the biggest single loss for the most successful franchise in the history of the competition is that coach Justin Langer has departed in order to take the top job with the Australian national team. Shaun Marsh looks likely to spend at least part of the tournament away on Test duty as well which means that the top order batting looks very light. Michael Klinger who for so long has been a very consistent performer for Perth (as well as other sides) will need to return to form and fitness if they are to have a chance of victory. Where Perth do look strong is in the all-rounder and bowling departments. Mitchell Marsh will surely have a point to prove to the Aussie selectors and with Ashton Agar, Ashton Turner and David Willey also in the side then there will be no shortage of big hitting options if the specialist batsmen can lay a suitable foundation. Beyond that, the real strength and key to their success in recent years have been the options provided by their fast bowlers with Andrew Tye, Jye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff all high-class performers with the records to back that claim up. Sydney Sixers English imports Joe Denly and Tom Curran will be key players for the Sixers. Denly was named the cricket writers player of the year for 2018 and having been at the ground to witness him score a century and take a hattrick against Surrey in the T20 Blast then it's not difficult to see why. Tom Curran had plenty of success for England over the winter and he will be hoping to continue that form and push for a place in England's World Cup squad. Beyond the 2 Poms, Moises Henriques is a decent player and Sean Abbott returned a good haul of wickets last year but the reality is that the Sixers will need to pull off something of a miracle this year to make it through to the knockout stages let alone win the thing. Sydney Thunder In fact, it looks as though Sydney will be overrun by English cricketers this winter with the Thunder securing the services of Jos Buttler (returning for another spell) and England's Test captain, Joe Root. With Shane Watson and Callum Ferguson providing plenty of experience, the batting line-up looks to be one of the strongest in the tournament. That being said both Root and Buttler will not be available for the entirety of the tournament and while Sydney will benefit from the return of Usman Khawaja for the later stages it is a selection decision that may yet cost them a shot at the title. In the bowling stakes, the performances of leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed will be crucial as too will the role of Gurinder Sandhu who will lead a generally inexperienced attack. Predictions Top 4 - Adelaide Strikers, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers I'd say Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder have a chance of crashing the party so to speak and knicking a spot in the playoffs but I genuinely believe that Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Renegades will be battling it out for the wooden spoon Winner - The Strikers probably have the most balanced team in the contest and having won it last year they will feel confident as a unit that they can claim a 2nd consecutive title. My Fantasy 11 I've gone with some big hitters in the batting department in Chris Lynn and Colin Ingram. Despite his average showing in the Bash last year, Ingram is still very undervalued at $105k as to is Ashton Turner who returned a strike rate in excess of 160 last tournament and who can also chip in with the ball. Elsewhere in the batting, I've gone for experience and substance with Henriques, Klinger and Ferguson all old hands in this competition. Jos Buttler is arguably the most destructive batsman in world cricket right now so he was a simple choice and I'm backing him up with another experienced pro in the form of Tim Ludeman who might well open the batting for the Renegades. I've splashed the cash on the bowlers with big buys in the form of Bravo and Rashid Khan who were last years joint top wicket-takers. Wrist spin often takes wickets in this format so Mitch Swepson seemed like a good buy for that price and the 5 is rounded off with a couple of English quicks in Willey and Archer. It also wouldn't surprise me if Willey was given the opportunity to open the batting for Scorchers in certain conditions. On the bench, I've bucked the trend of picking experience by selecting a couple of young talents in Sams and Samichane. In a shameless piece of marketing for the platform, I have called my side The Scorum.com Sixers Let's hope they don't let us all down :-) If you would like to join the fantasy league then you can do so via https://supercoach.foxsports.com.au/bbl/classic/#/ The public league I am in has a join code of 251184 or you can contact me on telegram @magister9 and I can send you the links
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