bbl preview

A welcome to Nick Hanlon, who has put together a BBL Season Preview for us including this predicted ladder. Nick has been involved in cricket for decades as a player, umpire and tour organiser. He looks for value selections in the summer game using a combination of match data, statistics and experience.

Part 1: The BBL team that already has a big advantage this season

Part 2: The Top 9 BBL players to watch for the 2021/22 season

BBL Season Preview: Predicted ladder

With only eight teams in the BBL competition, a dramatic change in fortune is possible. It’s hard to write off any team completely, but some are better placed than others. The old excuse that “we’re in development mode” doesn’t really cut it in the BBL.

Here’s my predicted finishing order, counting down from 8th to 1st.

8th Hurricanes

They’ll have plenty of home-town support but as the old Yazz song said… the only way is up. They have yet to build a culture of winning inside the team and that takes quality people and not just sheer cricket talent. Probably their most exciting prospect is Sandeep Lamichhhane who is from Nepal. He joined them last year and can take wickets while keeping a good economy rate. Other players to watch include Dawid Malan and James Faulkner but their list overall doesn’t really impress me. Another cellar dweller season could well be on the cards, I’m afraid.

7th Renegades

An interesting list of internationals tops them up nicely and they should lift from their wooden spoon last season. But the local players fail to impress and I can’t see how they can be consistent or work their way to victory out of tight situations. Zahir Khan is a star and Zak Evans is promising as a fast bowler, but he’s only 19. Aaron Finch, Nic Maddinson and Shaun Marsh have a huge responsibility if they’re available. Another quiet season coming up.

6th Strikers

Rashid Khan is back with his right arm legbreaks and is sure to perform up to his usual high standards, Alex Carey will provide stability and discipline from behind the stumps and Travis Head has had his confidence boosted with a recent Sheffield Shield ton. The main concern is the batting which looks thin and is known to cave under sustained dot-ball pressure. They can improve, but there are other teams that look better placed.

5th Stars

A disappointing seventh last season might not suggest great things ahead, but Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis should be able to dominate given their recent form. The problem is the squad has six players over 30 and just three under 25. They looked tired and slow in the field and leaked runs most of the time last season, but coach David Hussey is a smart man and they all know they’re much better than last season’s farce. Expect Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran to perform and lift them to the middle of the table.

4th Thunder

A 4th place finish last season was a poor return given the quality of the playing list. Alex Hale was outstanding last year and put his critics to shame. Names like Sam Billings and Ben Cutting stand out, and the underrated Saqib Mahmood could be one that makes a difference. Baxter Holt is another promising wicket keeper who should do well and they have two promising spinners with Jason Sangha and Oliver Davies who are not well known and thus they have the element of surprise. Another middle of the table return looks likely at this stage.

3rd Heat

They should make the semi-finals and have the talent to push onto bigger and better things than their third place finish last season. Sadly international cricket has passed by Chris Lynn, but that’s Brisbane Heat’s gain. The Gabba will once again be lit up by his blasts, but it’s their internationals who’ll they rely on. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Ben Duckett will get plenty of attention this season but under-rated players Jack Wildermuth, Connor Sully and Tom Cooper will ensure that they remain competitive against every other team.

2nd Sixers

They’re looking for the hat-trick this season and are led by a man with a very level head on his shoulders in Moises Henriques. Classy internationals such as Curran, Braithwaite and Vince top up the squad nicely. The spin department looks a little bit on the light side with Ben Manetti and Lloyd Pope yet to fully prove themselves and Lyon almost certain to be playing Ashes cricket. Perhaps they’ve been a touch lazy in seeking new recruits due to their past success? A top three finish looks certain but the added weight of expectations could wear them down.

1st Scorchers

As we’ve discussed, they’re in a unique situation with their home ground status. They were runners-up last season and they look highly promising with Mitchell Marsh in prime form… Scorchers fans will be banking on him being available for selection. Jhye Richardson is the go-to man as far as pace bowling (average of 23) is concerned (if he is available) and he also does it with the bat as well (averaging 20). Spinners are becoming more important in T20 and Peter Hatzoglou is a smart choice as a leg-break bowler . This might very well give them the edge. I’ll be surprised if they don’t make the final.

BBL Season Preview: Individual awards

Top Run Scorer
Glenn Maxwell (Melbourne Stars)

Top Wicket Taker
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Adelaide Strikers)

Best Debutant
Sam Elliott (Melbourne Stars)

Player of the Season
If available… Jhye Richardson (Perth Scorchers)
Otherwise… Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder)

Part 1: The BBL team that already has a big advantage this season

Part 2: The Top 9 BBL players to watch for the 2021/22 season

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