Australia’s premier T20 tournament, the Big Bash League, turns ten this year with the eight franchises again fighting it out to become the wizards of Oz.
Six of the eight franchises have lifted the trophy at least once in the nine editions to date with just Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes yet to taste Big Bash glory.
Nearly seven weeks of thrash-and-crash action begins with reigning champions Sydney Sixers crossing the Bass Strait to take on the Hurricanes in Tasmania on Thursday.
Stars May Finally Shine Brightest of All
Having won the inaugural Big Bash League in 2010-11, the Sixers claimed their second title in February as they beat Melbourne Stars in a rain-interrupted showpiece which was shortened to just 12 overs.
It was the second season in a row that the Stars had fallen at the final hurdle having lost to city rivals the Renegades the previous campaign.
Near-misses have become the soundtrack to nearly all of the Stars’ previous title bids. No side has made the season-ending play-offs on more occasions than the MCG-based franchise – they have reached the top four in all but one of the nine seasons – but the champions tag remains agonisingly out of their grasp.
That could change in 2020-21, however, with the perennial Big Bash bridesmaids finally getting the chance of their own big day at odds of
The Stars had hoped to add England’s Jonny Bairstow to an already power-packed batting unit but his likely involvement in the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka has scuppered those plans.
That doesn’t mean the Stars will be short on firepower, though. Captain Glenn Maxwell – a
16/1 chance for top tournament batsman – can destroy any attack when in the mood and fellow Australian international Marcus Stoinis was a revelation as an opener last season, leading the runscoring charts with 705 runs, which included a staggering 142 not out from 79 balls against the Sixers, as he was named Player of the Tournament.
Their devastating attacking power is complemented by a canny bowling unit and as a new decade begins, the Stars may finally shine brightest of all.
Champions Could Be Hit for Six
Perth Scorchers are the only franchise to have successfully defended the Big Bash title and current champions Sydney Sixers’ title defence has already taken a hit with the withdrawals of England one-day ace Tom Curran and Australian internationals Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood.
Mitchell Starc has committed to playing for the Sydney franchise and West Indians Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder will be on board but the playoffs could be the champions limit this time around.
No side has won more titles than Perth, who have been champions three times, but the Scorchers have not set the world alight in the past two campaigns, finishing eight and sixth in the regular-season standings.
There hasn’t been any substantial changes made in WA but they are certainly looking to fight fire with fire at the top of the order with New Zealand international Colin Munro linking up with England’s World Cup winner Jason Roy to form a blistering opening partnership.
Adelaide Poised to Strike
Champions three seasons ago, Adelaide Strikers were beaten by Sydney Thunder in the playoffs last term but should make another bold bid for glory this time around and are
2/1 to reach the final.
Jason Gillespie’s men are a well-balanced unit led from behind the stumps by the excellent Australia one-day international Alex Carey.
While Carey leads the way with the bat, Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan has shown across the globe that in T20 cricket he can turn a match on it’s head with the ball.
12/1 to scoop the top bowler prize at this year’s Big Bash.
*All odds correct at the time of writing.