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BBL – Week 4 In Review

The 2022/23 BBL regular season is getting down to the business end – and it’s some familiar teams at the pointy end of the table right now. But players from rival teams are putting their names up in lights, while the exit of several gun players and the return of Test stars muddies the Big Bash finals picture further.

Sixers, Scorchers set the pace

The BBL|12 futures market is leaning heavily towards a third straight Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers final. The Big Bash heavyweights occupy the top two spots on the ladder and are coming off another fruitful week out in the middle.

The 6-3-1 Sixers are out in front on 13 points after winning six of their last seven. Last Wednesday’s clash against the Heat was washed out before they could have a bat, but the Sixers produced impressive run chases in wins over the Stars (six wickets) at the MCG on Friday and the in-form Thunder (seven wickets) in a Sydney Showground derby on Sunday.

Soon-to-depart Englishman James Vince (91* off 59) almost singlehandedly got the Sixers home with one ball to spare against the struggling Stars. It was more comfortable against the Thunder as Sean Abbott (3/9) helped restrict them to just 8/133, before Jordan Silk (59* off 42) and Moises Henriques (53* off 38) settled the Sixers’ early jitters with an unbeaten century stand.

The Scorchers had a four-game winning streak halted by Thunder last Wednesday. Captain Ashton Turner (61 off 37) played a lone hand in the six-wicket loss.

The defending champs bounced back with a seven-wicket home win over the Thunder, spearheaded by century partnership between Cameron Bancroft (76* off 48) and Aaron Hardie (57 off 33).

Big Bash fans are waiting with baited breath for Sunday night’s SCG showdown between the Sixers ($3.60 to win the title) and Scorchers ($3.00).

It’s far from a two-horse race form-wise, however, with the 5-4 Thunder winning four of their last five and the 5-4, Tom Rogers- and Sam Harper-inspired Renegades jumping to third spot with two big wins over the Stars (33 runs) and Hurricanes (six wickets) in recent days.

Rogers picked up a five-for against the Stars, while Harper (89 off 48) decimated the Hurricanes attack.

Hurricanes caught Short in historic chase

Hobart Hurricanes had every right to become confident of victory on Thursday after Ben McDermott (57 off 30), Caleb Jewell (54 off 25), English import Zak Crawley (54* off 28) and Tim David (39* off 20) guided them to the equal-third-highest team tally in BBL history, 4/229, against Adelaide Strikers.

But Matthew Short – captaining the Strikers in Peter Siddle’s absence – and Chris Lynn had other ideas. Short brought up the BBL’s 34th century (and second this season) with an unbeaten 100 off 59 balls, while Lynn blasted 64 off 29 as Adelaide produced the Big Bash’s biggest-ever run chase.

Fittingly, Short brought up his ton with a boundary to seal victory with three balls to spare. The crucial result lifted the Stirkers to fifth with a 4-4 record ahead of their next assignment, Tuesday night’s crunch home game against the Renegades.

The 4-5 Hurricanes have already played twice since. Their pain was compounded by a six-wicket defeat to the Renegades on Saturday, but Nathan Ellis (2/12) and the in-form Jewell (70 off 44) steered Hobart to a much-needed two-wicket win over the struggling Stars on Monday in a low-scorer.

Departures and returns shake up finals picture

Teammates Lynn (324 runs at 40.50) and Short (321 at 45.85) lead the BBL’s runscoring charts, followed by Brisbane Heat’s Colin Munro (278 at 34.75) and the Sixers’ Vince (263 at 37.57). But three of those players are headed for other leagues in coming days.

The Strikers will lose Lynn and spin wizard Rashid Khan, but that’s tempered by the return of Test stars Travis Head and Alex Carey. Hot-and-cold imports Munro and Sam Billings leave Brisbane for the UAE, though the Heat arguably will be better off with Test run machines Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne filling the breach.

The Sixers farewell Vince, Chris Jordan and Naveen-ul-Haq, with Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon returning to the magenta strip. Crosstown rivals the Thunder may struggle to get as much compensation from David Warner’s return as Alex Hales and Rilee Roussouw head off.

Lance Morris (a handy addition following Jhye Richardson’s hamstring injury) and Ashton Agar pass Faf du Plessis and Adam Lyth at the entrance of Scorchers HQ. Marcus Harris helps alleviate Renegades skipper Nic Maddinson’s season-ending injury, but spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Akeal Hosein leave a hole in their line-up.

The Hurricanes and Stars lose Shadab Khan and Trent Boult, respectively, though neither made a significant impact this season. Neither franchise will make any further additions, although Zak Crawley and Faheem Ashraf recently joined the ’Canes’ cause after facing one another in the England v Pakistan Test rubber.

BBL Title Odds

The Scorchers and Sixers have put some distance between themselves and the other BBL title hopefuls. The Thunder, Strikers and Renegades have come in slightly, while the previously well-fancied Hurricanes have slid from the second line of betting to fourth. The Heat have drifted further, while the Stars have spiralled to absolute longshot territory.

BBL 2022/23 Odds

Perth Scorchers$3.00$3.00
Sydney Sixers$4.60$3.60
Sydney Thunder$7.00$6.00
Hobart Hurricanes $4.50$6.50
Adelaide Strikers$8.00$7.00
Melbourne Renegades$12$10
Brisbane Heat $23$41
Melbourne Stars$13$151

The Week Ahead

Tue 10th JanStrikers v Renegades
Wed 11th JanHeat v Scorchers
Thu 12th JanStars v Strikers
Fri 13th Jan Thunder v Scorchers
Sat 14th JanStrikers v Heat & Renegades v Stars
Sun 15th JanHurricanes v Thunder & Sixers v Scorchers
Mon 16th JanStars v Heat



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