Thursday, December 6, 2012

Preview, 2012/13 Australian KFC T20 Big Bash League

Just as the Summer starts to really heat up  the Big Bash League kicks off with all its irreverence to the games traditions. In a style of the game that fluctuates between sincere madness and pristine genius with very little in between. The fact that the game is as much about fortune as it is about skill makes picking a winner a nigh on impossibility with only the truly daft even attempting to do so.

I fit the definition of 'daft' to a Tee so here goes with my thoughts

Adelaide Strikers Squad

Johan Botha, Theo Doropoulos, Callum Ferguson, Jon Holland, Phillip Hughes, Michael Klinger, Nathan Lyon, Andrew McDonald, Michael Neser, Kieron Pollard, Gary Putland, Nathan Reardon, Kane Richardson, James Smith, Shaun Tait

The Teams Chances 

I really like the Squad the Strikers have put together with it being very bowling strong highlighted by the genius of Pakistani import Saeed Ajmal and Johan Botha. Ajmal, I think will be devastating in this series with his swag full of deliveries coupled with his laser like accuracy over matching most batsmen. 
Away from their strength in spin, in young Gary Putland they have one of the most promising quicks in the game. Who has been devastating this year in First Class Cricket, and it would not surprise if he is a decisive factor in this series

If their bowling is potential stellar then their smorgasbord of all rounders give the Team so many options with such a cutting edge. All of Johan Botha, Kieron Pollard and Andrew McDonald are game changing entities in this form of the game with Pollard on a level with the likes of Chris Gayle and Shane Watson as one of T20 most fearsome batsmen

I can see the team making the 4 on the back of these strengths, but whether they can win it will depend on a few of their batsmen becoming factors. The likes of Callum Ferguson and Michael Klinger need to give the Team the brisk starts that allows the brutal hitters to be set up for a rampage

Key Man- Saeed Ajmal


Let the Picture tell a thousand words and then think of how devastating he will be...
Prediction

Definite top 4 Team with a big chance to win the Title
Brisbane Heat Squad

Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Daniel Christian, Peter Forrest, Cameron Gannon, Ryan Harris, Chris Hartley, Nathan Hauritz, James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Chris Lynn, Alister McDermott, Luke Pomersbach, Kemar Roach, Thisara Perera, Shane Watson, Daniel Vettori
The Teams Chances 

The Heat have a breathtakingly brilliant Squad on paper and because of that fact go into the Tournament as one of the favourites. The loss of Dan Vettori to an Achilles injury robs the Team of a real high class X Factor with both bat and ball but they still have quality a plenty in reserve. Then a touted replacement for Vettori is also in the pipeline

Ultimately their chances might be dictated by how often Shane Watson gets to play in these games for with him in their line up they have the most game changing entity in T20 Cricket.

He will be the jewel in the Teams Crown, but he has some very talented Team Mates who could be equally as decisive. If the West Indian import Kemar Roach is fit, the team will be blessed with one of the games best fast bowlers and a top shelf strike weapon. Throw in the youthful talents of young quick Alister McDermott with proven strike weapons in Ben Cutting, Ryan Harris (depending on fitness) and Mitchell Johnson and you see the Teams is rich in fast bowling gems.

The team also has great strength in proven all rounders such as Dan Christian and James Hopes and is blessed with two of Australia's brightest young batting talents in Joe Burns and Chris Lynn

Dangerous side!

Key Man- Shane Watson


You saw how completely devastating Watson was with both bat and ball in the recent T20 World Cup and you can bet he will put the fear of God into oppositions in this Tournament
Prediction

Will make the top 4 and my favourite to win the Tournament
Hobart Hurricanes Squad

George Bailey, Travis Birt, Aiden Blizzard, Doug Bollinger, Xavier Doherty, Ben Dunk, Michael Hogan, Jason Krejza, Ben Laughlin, Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting, Owais Shah, Timm van der Gugten, Jonathan Wells
The Teams Chances
On paper the Tasmanian Franchise looks to have a snowballs chance in Hell in this Tournament, but we wrote the same thing about them last year only for them to leave us with egg on our faces.
It is unlikely that they can do the same this year for their batting looks potentially dangerous, but their bowling has a real fragile appearance about it.

To turn this around you would need a proven commodity in the T20 arena in Doug Bollinger to have a stellar series as a strike bowler with the backing of Laughlin and Hogan as his supporting quicks. Then the spin duo of Xavier Doherty and Jason Krejza have to play the dual role of strangling the scoring rates while also being consistent wicket takers.

Assuming this happens, then the batting could give a few oppositions cold sweats. Highlighted by Ricky Ponting, Tim Paine and George Bailey as the class individuals with International credentials and backed by the pure hitting of Birt, Blizzard and Shah. The English import Shah was a great pick up for the Hurricanes last year and needs to be the same stellar force this year

Too many ifs, buts and maybes for me.........

Key Man- Travis Birt 


The player of the Inaugural KFC Big Bash from last year who had us in awe with his brutal hitting....

Can he let us enjoy a sequel?
Prediction

Long-shots, that will struggle
Melbourne Renegades Squad

Meyrick Buchanan, Tom Cooper, Brendan Drew, Aaron Finch, Daniel Harris, Jayde Herrick, Michael Hill, James Muirhead, Muttiah Muralitharan, Peter Nevill, Aaron O’Brien, Darren Pattinson, Nathan Rimmington, Ben Rohrer, Will Sheridan, Marlon Samuels
The Teams Chances
Very little has been written about the the Renegades with most of the spotlight falling on Shane Warne and his Melbourne Stars mainly because on paper this squad lacks the names that really jump out at you.

The lovely irony in this is that the Squad is full of the lesser knowns that are rarely recognised, but are consistently effective. Very much highlighted by their Captain Aaron Finch, who was a true Phenom in junior ranks in Australia with greatness written into his future. Which he has yet to achieve, but boy can the lad bat and seems to have found his calling in T20.

I expect him to be one of the Stars of the Tournament and be wearing Australian colours in the shorter forms of the game.

He will lead the batting from the top with support coming from other excellent locals such as Daniel Harris, Tom Cooper and Phil Nevill which leads us to the true silken class of a man named Marlon.......

The West Indian is class with a capital C, and I think he will be a wrecking ball in this series for he has it all. The surgeons precision in his traditional play with a sublime sense of timing coupled with his big hitting ability that is never slogging, but merely  a nice easy power smacked with divine elegance...

Yes I am in LOVE with him- lol!
Ultimately the Teams chance to surprise a few will depend on their bowling...

Meaning Nathan Rimmington, who is an excellent T20 bowler will need to lead the pace batter with support of the likes of Darren Pattinson and Jayde Herrick. Then the wily Sri Lankan Master Murali will have to take us for a walk down memory lane by being the strike bowler the Team so needs....

A big ask on both points with the teams prospects resting on it being a reality

Key Man- Marlon Samuels


One of the best batsmen in the World and a more than useful part time spinner
Prediction

A chance to make the top 4, but I think their bowling will be the reason why they miss out
Melbourne Stars Squad

Shane Warne, Jackson Bird, James Faulkner, Pete Handscomb, John Hastings, Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Rob Quiney, Matthew Wade, Cameron White, Luke Wright, Lasith Malinga
The Teams Chances

A squad full of Stars in all department and led by Warney

It is hard to pick a weakness in their line up with their batting being led by proven T20 forces such as Dave Hussey, Brad Hodge, Luke Wright and Cam White. That will be a nightmare for opposition attacks with all having the skill to bat traditionally or to go on the rampage and send many rockets into the crowd
Their bowling is highlighted by the most lethal strike force in the pyjama styles of the game in Lasith Malinga with his mixture of devastating yorkers and collection of cloaked slower balls confounding the best of batsmen. His backing will come from one of the countries finest quicks in Jackson Bird with support from a host of capable all rounders
Complimenting the pace men are the eclectic range of spinners with Shane Warne's high class attacking legs spin living in perfect harmony with the defensive darts from Hussey and Maxwell
All in all a very well balanced and dangerous Team

Star Man- Lasith Malinga


The Slinga Malinga with be a mega star in this Tournament
Prediction

Will make the top 4, and a huge chance to win it
Perth Scorchers Squad

Ashton Agar, Tim Armstrong, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Ben Edmondson, Herschelle Gibbs, Brad Hogg, Michael Hussey, Simon Katich, Mitchell MarshShaun Marsh, Joe Mennie, Albie Morkel, Marcus North, Tom Triffitt, Adam Voges
The Teams Chances
The runner up from last year has been in the head lines for all the wrong reasons this season with drama a plenty attached to WA Cricket
It might unify them or make them splinter and implode

Sadly before the Tournament has started they lost two game changing entities in the tearaway quick Pat Cummins and the all rounder Mitch Marsh. The loses of those two stars will make it tough for the team to make the Finals with both being sincere game changing X Factors

Defying this feeling of mine is if the Stars from last years series in Herschelle Gibbs, Nathan Coulter Nile and 'The Sheepdog' Brad Hogg can retain that level of play. Every time you watch Gibbs and his immense talent you just scratch your head and wonder why he never achieved greatness in the International game. Obviously he struggled with the disciplines, but in this style of the game where there are no constraints he is allowed to be the free spirited batsmen he craved to be.

Meaning devastation........

Coulter-Nile and Hogg are the bowling King Pins with the former representing the perfect strike force with his intimidating raw pace and the latter finding a niche with  his wily left arm spin. Hogg is ably supported in the spin duties by Michael Beer, who is a very effective T20 bowler
These names could carry the Team, but ideally they need support from others to repeat last years heroics

Star Man- Herschelle Gibbs


WOW!

Such talent that was never fully lived out to the detriment of us fans
Prediction

The loss of Pat Cummins and Mitch Marsh takes away their Finals chances
Sydney Sixers Squad

Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Josh Lalor, Brett Lee, Nic Maddinson, Ian Moran, Sunil Narine, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Daniel Smith, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Dominic Thornely, David Warner
The Teams Chances
The Defending champion and one of the key chances in this years Tournament

They have every department covered with their bowling led by the strike weaponry of Mitchell Starc and the evergreen veteran Brett Lee. Complimented by the recruitment of Sunil Narine, who is one of the best T20 spinners in International Cricket to be supported by the under rated talents of Stephen O'Keefe.

If the bowling is symbolised by its balance and threat then it is matched by the batting. At the top the pairing of Nic Maddinson and Dave Warner have a beautiful balance between a more traditional type and a T20 wrecking ball that can hit 6's at will. At three comes Brad Haddin, who has been in blistering form of late and my word can he hit a ball many a mile.........

Throw in the all round talents of Moises Henrique and Dom Thornley and you can see why this Team is so deadly dangerous

Key Man- Sunil Narine 


Spinners for some unknown reason dominate this style of the game, and Narine is one of the very best in the T20 game.
Prediction

Will make the top 4 and be there with a huge chance to win it
Sydney Thunder Squad

Sean Abbott, Cameron Borgas, Ryan Carters, Michael Clarke, Mark Cosgrove, Adam Coyte, Scott Coyte, Luke Doran, Jason Floros, Chris Gayle, Rhett Lockyear, Dirk Nannes, Gurinder Sandhu, Chris Tremain, Usman Khawaja, Chris Rogers, Martin Guptill, Matt Prior
The Teams Chances
You can see this Team being involved in some of the most exciting matches in the Tournament with everything around their planning revolving around batting strength and little attention paid to bowling

Expect them to score 200-220 runs most matches and then get beaten because of the lack of bowling quality

Unless the left arm military innocuous medium pace of Dirk Nanness morphs into Wasim Akram quality over night

What are the chances of that happening?

Star Man- Chris Gayle 


You can see Gayle going Gang Man style in most matches- expect some HUGE 6's!
Prediction

No bowling quality means no chance

Fixture

Weather The Weather Channel
Fri Dec 7          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Mostly Cloudy 17 - 27° C 
Sat Dec 8          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
Sydney Cricket Ground
Partly Cloudy 18 - 26° C 
Sun Dec 9          
07:00 GMT | 17:00 local
15:00 WST 17:30 CST 18:00 EST
Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
Partly Cloudy 20 - 28° C 
Sun Dec 9          
10:00 GMT | 18:00 local
18:00 WST 20:30 CST 21:00 EST
Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers
Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
Sunny 16 - 32° C 
Wed Dec 12          
09:00 GMT | 17:00 local
17:00 WST 19:30 CST 20:00 EST
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars
Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
N/A
Thu Dec 13          
08:30 GMT | 19:00 local
16:30 WST 19:00 CST 19:30 EST
Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat
Adelaide Oval
N/A
Fri Dec 14          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades
Stadium Australia, Sydney
N/A
Sat Dec 15          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes
Melbourne Cricket Ground
N/A
Sun Dec 16          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers
Sydney Cricket Ground
N/A
Tue Dec 18          
08:30 GMT | 18:30 local
16:30 WST 19:00 CST 19:30 EST
Brisbane Heat v Perth Scorchers
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
N/A
Wed Dec 19          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Renegades v Hobart Hurricanes
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
N/A
Thu Dec 20          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers
Stadium Australia, Sydney
N/A
Fri Dec 21          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers
Melbourne Cricket Ground
N/A
Sat Dec 22          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
N/A
Sun Dec 23          
05:30 GMT | 16:30 local
13:30 WST 16:00 CST 16:30 EST
Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Thunder
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
N/A
Sun Dec 23          
08:30 GMT | 19:00 local
16:30 WST 19:00 CST 19:30 EST
Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Sixers
Adelaide Oval
N/A
Wed Dec 26          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes
Sydney Cricket Ground
N/A
Thu Dec 27          
08:00 GMT | 18:30 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars
Adelaide Oval
N/A
Fri Dec 28          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Thunder v Brisbane Heat
Stadium Australia, Sydney
N/A
Sat Dec 29          
10:00 GMT | 18:00 local
18:00 WST 20:30 CST 21:00 EST
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades
Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
N/A
Sun Dec 30          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers
Stadium Australia, Sydney
N/A
Tue Jan 1          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Hobart Hurricanes v Perth Scorchers
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
N/A
Wed Jan 2          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
N/A
Thu Jan 3          
08:00 GMT | 18:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
N/A
Fri Jan 4          
10:00 GMT | 18:00 local
18:00 WST 20:30 CST 21:00 EST
Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder
Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth
N/A
Sat Jan 5          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Hobart Hurricanes v Adelaide Strikers
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
N/A
Sun Jan 6          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades
Melbourne Cricket Ground
N/A
Mon Jan 7          
08:00 GMT | 18:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Brisbane Heat v Sydney Sixers
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
N/A
Tue Jan 8          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder (1 v 4)
Melbourne Cricket Ground
N/A
Wed Jan 9          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades (2 v 3)
Sydney Cricket Ground
N/A
Thu Jan 10          
08:30 GMT | 19:00 local
16:30 WST 19:00 CST 19:30 EST
Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers
Adelaide Oval
N/A
Sat Jan 12          
08:00 GMT | 19:00 local
16:00 WST 18:30 CST 19:00 EST
Hobart Hurricanes v Brisbane Heat
Bellerive Oval, Hobart
N/A
Tue Jan 15          1st semi-final - TBC v TBC
Venue TBC
N/A
Wed Jan 16          2nd semi-final - TBC v TBC
Venue TBC
N/A
Sat Jan 19          Final - TBC v TBC
Venue TBC
N/A







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