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Big Bash League
Established in 2011 by Cricket Australia, the Big Bash League (BBL) is Australia’s primary T20 competition which features eight city-based franchises throughout the nation.
Played from December to February each year, the tournament is broken up into two phases, a round-robin format where each team plays each other home and away before the top five break away to compete in the BBL Finals Series:
The Eliminator (Fourth v Fifth)
The Qualifier (First v Second)
The Knock-Out (Third v Winner of The Eliminator)
The Challenger (Loser of The Qualifier v Winner of The Knock-Out)
The Final (Winner of The Qualifier v Winner of The Challenger)
Six of the eight teams have won the tournament during the BBL’s history with the Perth Scorchers winning the most tournaments with three. Sydney Sixers are the holders going into the 2020/21 season but our prediction is for the Melbourne Stars to go one better than their runners-up finish in 2019 and 2020.
The Strikers had a slow start to BBL life, failing to qualify for the play-offs for the first three tournaments. In 2015 and 2016 they reached the last four before finally getting their hands on the trophy for the one and only time in 2018 after beating the Hurricanes by 25 runs in the final.
Some of the world’s finest overseas players have graced the turf of the Adelaide Oval, including Mahela Jayawardene, Rashid Khan, Kieron Pollard and Shakid Al Hasan.
Captained by exciting Australian left-hander Travis Head who has had a stunning start to life as the Strikers captain, winning 12 of his 14 games in charge since being appointed in 2017, the Strikers’ squad possesses a solid mix of youth and experience.
The batting line-up features the likes of Jake Weatherald and English opener Phil Salt, along with veteran big-hitter Cameron White. Australian fast-bowler Billy Stanlake leads the bowling attack alongside experienced seamer Peter Siddle and Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan. When it comes to betting on Adelaide Strikers’ top run scorer in 2021, we feel Travis Head is the best option.
Since winning the tournament in 2013, life in the BBL has been tough for the Heat, with a semi-final appearance in 2017 the only time they’ve managed to qualify from the league phase.
Last season was an extremely disappointing one as they finished seventh in the points table with six wins from 14 matches. But the fans at The Gabba will be hopeful of repeating their success of 2013 this year, with a star-studded squad ready to bring the trophy home.
There’s no shortage of big names in the Brisbane Heat squad, with AB de Villiers, Marnus Labuschagne, Tom Banton and Joe Burns amongst a big-hitting batting line-up. Leading the troops is Chris Lynn, an experienced batsmen who has played all around the world including at the IPL for Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Amongst the bowlers you will find Australians James Pattinson and Mitchell Swepson, as well as exciting Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan.
The Hurricanes are one of two BBL sides yet to get their hands on the trophy, coming closest in 2018 when they were beaten by 25 runs in the final by Adelaide Strikers. They followed that up by topping the table in 2019 before losing in the semi-final while last year they were beaten in the Eliminator.
Can they finally win the tournament this year? You never know but we think they are definitely a good option to bet on to book a place in the final.
Australian wicket-keeper Matthew Wade leads the side in his fourth season with the Tasmanian side with his batting line-up bolstered by experienced internationals George Bailey and South African David Miller.
James Faulkner and D’Arcy Short are two valuable all-rounders to pad the middle-order with bowling led by Scott Boland and the exciting Aaron Summers.19 year-old spinner Qais Ahmad is a thrilling prospect and you we believe you should bet on him to be the Hurricanes’ top wicket taker.
After losing narrowly in the semi-finals in 2018, the Renegades went one better the following year by winning the tournament for the first time after a 13-run win over their city rivals in the final.
A frustrating season followed as they finished bottom of the table in 2020 so they will be outsiders to lift the trophy in 2021, but with the calibre of player they have they have every chance to go far, back them to win.
The standout player in the Renegades squad is Australian one-day captain Aaron Finch, a man with 18 white-ball international hundreds to his name and a man capable of winning any match single-handedly.
Backing him up is Test opener Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh and middle-order players Dan Christian, Samit Patel and Mohammad Nabi. As for the bowlers Englishman Harry Gurney has a great record in T20 cricket, as does Australian international Kane Richardson.
After agonising defeats in the 2019 and 2020 finals, the Stars will be amongst the favourites to finally get their hands on the BBL trophy in 2021. Last year they finished top of the points table with 10 wins from 14 before falling 19 runs short in their chase against the Sixers in the final.
The team from the MCG have only once failed to reach the knockout stages – in 2018 – so you can certainly expect them to go far in 2021. Bet on the Stars to win the tournament here.
Having played in the IPL, T20 Blast, 50-over and T20 World Cups, there are fewer better players to lead your side than Glenn Maxwell and he will once again lead the Stars in 2021. Alongside him is another Aussie big-hitter in Marcus Stoinis – last year’s player of the series – as well as top-order batsman Peter Handscomb.
Amongst the bowlers you will find young English T20 specialist Pat Brown, Australian spinner Adam Zampa and the experienced Nathan Coulter-Nile.
The Scorchers are the most decorated team in BBL history with three tournament wins to their name and two second place finishes. In the first seven years of the tournament, the team from the WACA finished no lower than third in the points table and reached at least the semi-final on each occasion.
The last two seasons have been different, after eighth and sixth place finishes which have failed to see them reach the play-offs.
Led by coach Adam Voges and captain Mitchell Marsh, the squad has no shortage of experience. Opener Cameron Bancroft sets the tone at the top of the order, followed by Kurtis Patterson and Englishman Liam Livingstone.
Amongst the bowlers you will find World Cup winner Chris Jordan, Australian internationals Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye as well as experienced spinner Fawad Ahmed.
Winners of the inaugural tournament, the Sixers were twice runners-up before they finally won the tournament once again with victory over the Stars last year. Very much a hit and miss side, the Sixers have failed to reach the knockout stages on three occasions including in 2016 when they finished bottom with just two victories.
Last year’s win came after they finished second in the points table with nine wins from 14 with 22 year-old wicket-keeper Josh Philippe starring in the final with 52 runs from just 29 balls.
All-rounder Moises Henrique leads the team and holds the batting line-up together with James Vince and Steve Smith the standout names at the top of the order. White-ball specialist Tom Curran is amongst the bowling attack along with paceman Sean Abbott, international Josh Hazlewood and the consistent Jackson Bird.
Experienced spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe make up arguably the best bowling attack in the competition. Will a Sixer finish as the tournament’s top wicket taker? They have every chance but we feel a safer option is to bet on Steve O’Keefe as top wicket-taker for the Sixers.
The Thunder were also-rans for the first four years of the BBFl, finishing bottom of the points table for the first three campaigns before going one better and finishing seventh in 2015. From nowhere they hit form in 2016 and won the tournament after crushing the Strikers in the semis before going on to edge out the Stars by three wickets in the final.
After that winning season they returned to their dire ways, failing to reach the play-offs from 2017 to 2019 before showing signs of improvement by reaching The Challenger in 2020 where they lost to the Stars.
Batsman Callum Ferguson is the man charged with leading the Thunder back to winning ways in 2021 with the likes of Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales making up an experienced top order more than capable of racking up big totals.
Chris Morris provides some big-hitting down the order but the bowling attack looks relatively inexperienced with Gurinder Sandhu and Chris Tremain the main seamers, backed by spinners Liam Bowe and Jono Cook.