Welcome to the penultimate fantasy round preview of the regular BBL season and bear with me, I’m still trying to get over seeing the Renegades score the highest total in Big Bash history; only to lose to a struggling Hurricanes batting lineup and subsequently get eliminated from finals contention.
After the roller coaster of last night, which saw just under 450 runs scored in 40 overs of exhilarating cricket, a change of pace through the ODI game will be greatly appreciated. Due to the One Day International in Brisbane today, BBL fantasy coaches are given some breathing space before the commencement of Round 7 with an epic double header tomorrow.
It would be daft to move onto previewing round 7 without acknowledging one of the greatest Twenty20 innings of all time from young Ben McDermott.
Relatively unknown before replacing a legend of the game in the Hurricanes top order, McDermott played with unparalleled freedom, class and timing blasting himself to 114 off 52 deliveries and accumulating only the fourth ever century in Big Bash history.
Unfortuntely for BBL fans, McDermott and his fellow Canes will be taking a much needed bye in Round 7 while the Stars play their double-game round.
Last week was a minefield in the trading arena, wits injuries and national call-ups plaguing our fantasy sides – it doesn’t get much easier this week either.
Yesterday the BBL was rocked with the news that the most popular player in BBL fantasy: Brendon McCullum has been handed a one-match suspension as a consequence for a slow over rate. Currently owned by over 54% of fantasy coaches, McCullum will miss the Heat’s crucial clash against the Melbourne Stars next week. What avenues we can take in regards to McCullum I will discuss later.
Round 7 Preview
Double: Melbourne Stars
Bye: Hobart Hurricanes
So, onto Round 7 where I believe we will see similar scoring output to what we saw in Round 6 with just the four matches to be played.
The Melbourne Stars will enjoy a DGW but approach their players with caution as their roster has been depleted due to national duty. Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Adam Zampa are unavailable and despite Zampa not making the XI for the first ODI, he is not available to play for the Melbourne Stars. The same principle applies for Sydney Thunder’s Usman Khawaja.
However, with the test series completed, batting sensation Peter Handscomb has returned to the BBL and will play for the Stars while it’s fair to say we aren’t short of options.
In the batting department, Kevin Pietersen is an absolute must-have, left handed opener Rob Quiney is in excellent form while English import Luke Wright showed glimpses earlier in the season and can go big if he gets it right.
Moving onto the other side of the coin, Ben Hilfenhaus and Scott Boland have been in excellent form with the ball while spinner Michael Beer provides a Point-Of-Difference. My suggestion would be to have around 4-5 Stars in your lineup although only time will tell how effective loading up on DGW players will be. Remember that all teams will play in Round 8 so start planning your lineup for the last round with an even distribution of teams in mind.
Back to the Brendon McCullum predicament, trading him depends entirely on your trading priorities and how keen you are to have him in your final side. If your team contains players who have been called up for ODI duty, prioritise trading them and leave McCullum on the pine.
Likewise, trade out any Hurricanes who have the bye and leave McCullum for the final round. A suspension to a popular player such as McCullum will open up many scenarios and these will vary heavily from team to team.
In other news regarding trading, Perth Scorchers wicket keeper Sam Whiteman has been ruled OUT of tomorrow night’s clash with the Melbourne Stars with academy keeper Josh Inglish called in as a replacement.
Kiwi batsmen Colin Munro has signed for the Sixers and has been named in the squad for the derby while teammate Steve O’Keefe has been withdrawn from the Big Bash on the request of Cricket Australia to focus on red ball cricket ahead of the India tour.
We’re approaching the business end of BBL|06 and I will continue to preview every round including finals. If you have any suggestions or anything else you would like to see in future articles please let me know.
As always, feel free to leave any questions below or find me on Twitter. Good luck!