Semi Finals Recap
Here we are at the pointy end of what’s been an exhilarating Big Bash season and only two remain for the big dance. The Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers, which is now becoming a frequent finals fixture with the two sides meeting for the third time in six seasons with the ledger square at one all.
Back in BBL|01, the tournament’s inaugural season; the Sixers defeated the Scorchers at the WACA while in BBL|04 the Scorchers sought revenge defeating the Sixers at Manuka Oval in a memorable encounter which saw Brett Lee retire from professional cricket.
Coming into the final, the Sixers will have to do it the hard way after overcoming a spirited Brisbane Heat in a super over thriller on Wednesday night. Due to the Scorchers finishing as minor premiers, they will have the luxury of hosting the final after a comfortable victory over the depleted Melbourne Stars on Tuesday.
If we learnt anything from the two semi-finals: expect the unexpected.
Who would’ve predicted Mitchell Johnson’s breathtaking opening spell taking two wickets in the very first over and finishing with figures of 3/3, or the seasons first super over which was to eventuate the following night at the GABBA.
Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers
Saturday 28 January 7:15 (AEDT) @ The Furnace (WACA), Perth
If you are still alive in your fantasy leagues, that can only mean one thing – you have made it to the league final. Congratulations for getting this far, but this final round is extremely tricky in the fact that there are very limited options to chose from.
More than ever, our fantasy teams will look remarkably similar this round and just like the semi-finals, it’ll be a case of finding the “diamond in the rough”. Last week it was Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon…who will it be in the all important final?
Like I suggested last week, if you’re keen on jumping the overall rankings, you will have to make a gutsy Hail Mary selection and hope it pays off. The likes of Michael Klinger, Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott will be owned by almost every man, woman and dog but for good reason.
Such players are proven fantasy scorers and are vital for success, but this round is a different kettle of fish. My advice would be this, in order to differentiate your team: leave out one of the “big players”, by that I mean someone who will be very popular but who you think might have an off-day. Then pick 2-4 PODs in your lineup to set yourself apart from the rest.
Looking back to last round, such popular players who in hindsight would’ve been best left out are the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Robert Quiney and Michael Klinger who all delivered disappointing scores.
Two important factors to consider this week are conditions and the stakes. What I mean by this is the conditions of the pitch, how it’ll play and who it’ll favour etc. AND the stakes of this match. It’s a Big Bash final and there are some players who thrive in pressure situations as opposed to others. It’ll be a stab in the dark to predict who will stand up when it counts but this opens up the opportunity to select a middle-order, all-rounder player in your starting XI – someone in the calibre of Ashton Agar, Ashton Turner or Johan Botha.
As we saw on Tuesday, the Melbourne Stars top order collapsed under pressure and it was up to middle order PODs such as Seb Gotch and David Hussey to steady the ship. A similar scenario could be on the cards for either side in tomorrow’s decider with both batting lineups having collapsed already this season (Scorchers vs Stars @ WACA and Sixers vs Thunder @ SCG).
There has been major team news coming out of both camps in the lead up to tomorrow’s final. New Zealand batsmen Colin Munro (Sydney Sixers) and veteran BBL bully Shaun Marsh (Perth Scorchers) have both been ruled unavaible due to international commitments to their respective national sides in the upcoming Chappel-Hadlee trophy.
However, much loved fantasy bowler Jason Behrendorff has been named in the Scorchers squad despite not playing all season. But from what we know about the quality of this man, he would be an excellent inclusion for the big dance. His form coming into the match is a major concern but according to Scorchers coach Justin Langer he has been bowling very well in the nets and may well be named in the starting XI tomorrow.
Perth Scorchers: Michael Klinger, Sam Whiteman (WK), Ian Bell, Adam Voges (C), Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Tim Bresnan, Mitchell Johnson, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff
Sydney Sixers: Daniel Hughes, Michael Lumb, Nic Maddinson, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Brad Haddin (WK), Johan Botha, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshius, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger, Henry Thornton
Clayto’s Captains (By me)
Declan has done a great job bringing you a separate captains article and analysis each round this season but unfortunately won’t be able to write one this week. You’ll have to bear with me for the final round.
Captaincy will be CRUCIAL in the BBL final as it’s one of very limited factors which will diversify your team. It will be a 50/50 desicion between a proven fantasy performer or an unexpected “diamond in the rough”. Here are my top 5 options for this round:
(Remember there is NO loophole so you only have ONE chance)
The Sixers captain is ever reliable and a proven fantasy scorer like he showed against the Heat. Many (including myself) were expecting him to bowl in the semi final but he didn’t even give himself an over, this might change at the pace-friendly conditions expected at The Furnace. Even if the Sixers top order collapses around him – back him to steady the ship and play the captains role.
After an inconsistent BBL|06 with the bat Michael Klinger has dropped off in the last few matches, devoid of a big score since his knock of 81 vs Brisbane Heat in Round 6. But the 36 year old has a wealth of experience under his belt and won’t be overawed by the occasion. Batting at the top of the order at his adopted home ground, tomorrow would be the perfect time for Klinger to rekindle his early-season form.
Amazingly Sean Abbott is the highest point scorer in BBL|06 accumulating a massive 665 points at an average of 73.9 points per game! It’s quite hard to believe that in a tournament dominated by big hitting top order batsmen but, New South Welshman Sean Abbott – with a lowest score of 28 – is the No. 1 man for BBL fantasy. Despite all this, I just cannot back Abbott with the coveted ‘C’ with the same assurance I would get with the likes of Chris Lynn, Aaron Finch or Brendon McCullum. Perhaps it’s a personal preference to select batsmen but be warned, captaining bowlers always comes with extra risk.
“Comets the hour, cometh the man” the BBL world is still reeling from Mitch’s astonishing spell to start the semi final which yielded a massive 125 points. Against a Stars outfit including arch nemesis Kevin Pietersen, big Mitch was back to his very best with a vocal Perth crowd behind him. In fantasy terms Johnson was had a very good tournament averaging over 50 points per game and passing 60 on five seperate occasions. The only worry being that he has an off day similarly to what happened against the Heat (4 pts) and the Melbourne Stars (23 pts) which we both played at the WACA. If you are after a player in form – this is your man.
Hail Mary’s: Daniel Hughes/Andrew Tye
Daniel Hughes has been another surprise packet for the Sixers with consistent scores at the top of the order, usually mature and reliable at the crease; look for Hughes to anchor the innings for he rarely gives his wicket away. Will certainly be a bold and risky selection.
Andrew Tye has hit a form slump with the ball in the past few games since taking a hat trick at the GABBA in Round 6. However AJ showed that he has lower order hitting capabilities during the Scorchers first innings collapse against the Stars and took 3 wickets the last time these two sides met. Tomorrow’s final will be the perfect opportunity for Tye to regain his form and deliver a match winning performance that he is very much capable of.
We have come to the end of another hugely successful BBL season, I hope our articles have been a source of guidance for you throughout the season and as always; leave any questions you might have regarding your team or any fantasy matter down below.
My prediction for tomorrow:
Winner: Perth Scorchers
Man of the Match: Andrew Tye