After a short one day break for the BBL because of the ODI Series it returns with a big day of BBL Cricket featuring a derby between the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder followed by a blockbuster match between rivals the Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Stars.
But to backtrack a bit what a round we had. Starting on Monday Ben Hilfenhaus inspired the Stars to an unlikely victory over the Strikers despite an impressive debut from New Zealand international Ish Sodhi.
Then the following day an innings of 81 from Michael Klinger helped the Scorchers reclaim first on the table against a Heat team without Chris Lynn and the victory was capped off by an Andrew Tye hat-trick.
And to finish the round we had a record-breaking game under the roof at Etihad where the Renegades set a whopping target of 223 to win thanks to Aaron Finch’s knock of 63 and Tom Cooper’s quick-fire 53 off 24. But those who doubted the Hurricanes chances were proven wrong as young Ben McDermott produced a match-winning innings and one of the best T20 centuries you’ll ever see as his man of the match performance of 114 runs of 52 balls coupled with George Bailey’s 59 led the Hurricanes to the most unlikeliest of victories to keep their finals hopes alive.
As pictured the round is a bit disjointed since the second ODI game on January 15 at the MCG is squashed in-between the double-header and the January 16 game. If anything that will give people who choose to ‘VC’ a Stars player time to mull over their decision. Since it’s a Stars double header look to grab some of their players but don’t get too many maybe 4, maximum 5 because in Round 8 diversity will be key before finals start.
Now here’s my Top 5 Captains for this round.
1. Kevin Pietersen – KP will be facing some ferocity down at The Furnace to start the round as he faces off against Ashes rival Mitchell Johnson and the Scorchers. The fast bowling barrage will also continue against the Heat’s new import Tymal Mills and in-from Mark Steketee. This shouldn’t bother Pietersen though since he’s been in terrific touch this tournament amassing 180 runs from 4 innings at an average of 45. In Fantasy, he also is averaging 61 which going by that gives him a very good chance of making over 100 for the double game week.
2. Peter Handscomb – After a very successful start to Test Cricket for Australia, Handscomb returned to the Stars and although he only made 2 runs he took the gloves for the Stars from youngster Sam Harper which spells Fantasy points for him. He showed he is more than capable with the gloves in the Sydney Test despite not being a full-time keeper anymore so he should capitalise on the opportunities he gets behind the stumps. We also know he’s in great form with the bat after he racked up 399 runs in his 4 Test matches this summer which included 2 fifties and 2 hundreds. He could be a POD captain for those of you trying to climb the rankings since most people will go for KP.
3. Rob Quiney – Now I don’t think anyone saw a season like this coming for Quiney. In BBL|05 he only managed to make 23 runs from 5 games, which is an average of 7.67! And to top that off he only scored them at a strike rate of 121.05. But boy have those stats improved out of sight this season. From 3 games he’s already got 157 runs (average of 52.33) which is almost 7 times as much as last season in two less games and his strike rate as increased to 174.44! This season is his best BBL since BBL|01 incredibly and it shows he’s really put in work to make himself an asset to this undermanned Stars side and re-establish himself as a force to be reckoned with. He’s averaging a superb 76.33 points a game which is 7th on the list of top averages in Fantasy.
4. Ben Hilfenhaus – Hilfy has shown himself to be a valuable death bowlers for the Stars despite his economy rate of 9 an over and he has grabbed 8 scalps with the ball from 5 games for the Stars. He also showed himself more than handy with the bat in the last game as his knock of 31 not out lead the Stars to a victory which seemed out of their grasp. He’s currently averaging 56.8 in BBL Fantasy which includes an average of 71 in his last three showing his improving form. He could be a risky POD but could pay dividends for those who take it.
5. Shane Watson/Aaron Finch – Now the reason I have two players in the number 5 spot is because of the route you decide to take with you VC loophole. You could decide to VC a player in the Sydney Smash before the Stars first game of the round or VC a Stars player and if they fail back in a Renegades or Strikers player in what would be a bold move. And by evaluating two players here a can cater for both groups.
Firstly, let’s start with the Thunder captain. ‘Watto’ missed the Thunder’s first two games which was a blow to Fantasy coaches but he has made up for his absence proving very economical only going for 7.10 runs an over and snaring two wickets. His batting also looked out of touch to begin with but he returned to form in a big way against the Hurricanes in Round 5 making 55 runs. His last two matches have produced fantasy scores of 103 and 92 and in both those games he only had one of either his bowling or batting firing so imagine what he could score when he produces with bat and ball. Well worth putting the vice captaincy on.
Now let’s cap this article off with the Renegades captain Aaron Finch. ‘Finchy’ has proven well worth the price tag this season compiling 476 points from 6 games. He’s also raced to third on the BBL run scoring charts with 264 which has featured 3 fifties. This highlights his consistency which has lacked in previous seasons for the Renegades who rely heavily on their captain. He’s been our number 1 option the last two round and hasn’t let us down so if you want to go against a Stars loophole Finch is the go to guy.
As always, I hope you enjoyed the article and if you have any queries or questions about your teams feel free to leave a comment below and I will try get back to you as soon as I can or you can send me a tweet on Twitter.
Good luck coaches!