Fantasy Preview BBL|08 – Sydney Thunder

The Sydney Thunder narrowly missed the finals in BBL|07 and have loaded up on batting talent in hope of closing the gap on the top four. As a result, they have a number of relevant SuperCoach options to choose from.

The prices below are indicative for SuperCoach BBL.

BATSMEN

PREMIUM
Joe Root – $200,000

The English skipper will join fellow compatriot Jos Buttler at the Thunder in what will be his first Big Bash campaign.

Root is often considered a red-ball cricketer, but that is far from the truth. In his T20 career, the Englishman averages 32 with the bat at a solid strike rate nearing 130.

His recent exploits at international level have restricted him from participating in many of the global T20 competitions but he does have some stats we can analyse. Over his Vitality Blast career (England’s T20 competition), Root averages 34 with the willow and has steadily increased his strike rate (100, 129, 108, 141, 155, 232). He also starred at the 2016 World T20 tournament in India, where he amassed 249 runs at an average of 49.80.

Although he costs a pretty penny, I believe Root is well worth the price of admission and should be a lock for the Thunder’s round four double.

MID-PRICE
Kurtis Patterson – $89,300

Patterson has always been somewhat frustrating to watch in the Big Bash. The talented batsman has all the shots and times the ball nicely, but always seems to pick out the fielder. This has resulted in a poor strike rate (109.41) and a lack of runs (173 and 185 runs in BBL|06 and BBL|07).

However, Patterson enters the tournament on the back of some solid Shield form with 383 runs at 47.87 for New South Wales.

It would take some guts to pick him given his T20 record and likely batting position at #5, but he could be the ultimate risk/reward type player.

ROOKIE
Jason Sangha – $42,000

The youngster dubbed ‘the next Ricky Ponting’ is set to make his Big Bash debut this season for the Thunder.

Despite being only 19 years old he’s already made plenty of headlines, including becoming the youngest batsman since Sachin Tendulkar to score a century against England.

Sangha also struck his maiden Shield ton against Tasmania with a classy 117 in November.

And if his batting exploits weren’t enough, the talented youngster also bowls handy leg-spin which could feature at times this season.

If named, he is a lock on your batting bench.

WICKET-KEEPER

Jos Buttler – $160,200 – BAT/WKP

The explosive keeper-batsman took some time to get going in BBL|07, but by the end of his stint with the Thunder he was firing on all cylinders and finished with 202 runs at an average of 33.67 (including knocks of 67 off 41 and 81 off 43).

Since then, Buttler has starred across the globe and become a vital member of England’s side in all three forms of the game. His 2018 highlights include a superb IPL with 548 runs at 54.80, a solid T20I series against India and both ODI series against Australia.

At about 160K, I believe Buttler is slightly underpriced and well worth a look-in as your starting keeper.

BOWLERS

PREMIUM
Shane Watson – $166,700 – BAT/BWL

Watto had a much smaller role with the ball in BBL|07, claiming only 3 wickets from a measly 17.4 overs. However, he still played a large role with the willow, amassing 331 runs at 36.78; which was an all-time BBL best for him.

The Aussie veteran has had a stellar T20 off-season with 319 runs and 11 wickets in the PSL and 555 runs (with 2 centuries) and 6 wickets in the IPL.

The addition of Root should see Watto return to his traditional opening role, which could further increase his output with the bat. His side also have a reasonably inexperienced seam attack, which may force Watson to bowl more.

Watto has been a reliable BBL Fantasy player for many years and is a solid option for coaches once again.

MID-PRICE
Gurinder Sandhu – $133,800

Sandhu’s switch to Tassie paid dividends in the JLT Cup, finishing with 18 wickets (equal leading wicket-taker with Andrew Tye) and an incredible 7/56 against Victoria.

This makes him a rather enticing pick in SuperCoach given his white-ball form. But there is a lot of risk attached given his BBL record. In BBL|05 and BBL|06 he only claimed one wicket combined and went at an economy rate over 10.5. Last season he showed improvement with 9 wickets, but the expensive economy rate still remained (8.78).

Like Patterson, he has that risk-reward factor, but given the vast amount of bowling options around 130K I’d be looking elsewhere.

ROOKIE
Sam Rainbird – $62,500

Rainbird has made the switch from the Hurricanes to the Thunder in search of greater opportunity. He last featured in BBL|06, where he played one game returning figures of 0/37 off three overs.

However, in BBL|05 he played in 6 games and claimed 6 wickets at a reasonable economy rate of 7.85.

Given the Thunder’s shortage of seamers, Rainbird could make an appearance at some point in BBL|08.

PREDICTED LINE-UP

Declan’s round one prediction (last updated on December 9):

1. Jos Buttler (wk)
2. Shane Watson (capt)
3. Joe Root
4. Callum Ferguson
5. Kurtis Patterson
6. Jason Sangha
7. Arjun Nair
8. Daniel Sams
9. Chris Green
10. Gurinder Sandhu
11. Fawad Ahmed

Unavailable: Usman Khawaja (Test team), Pat Cummins (Test team), Chris Jordan (International replacement), Anton Devcich (International replacement)

Reserves: Jay Lenton, Ryan Gibson, Nathan McAndrew, Sam Rainbird


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