Sydney Thunder BBL 12 Preview
In their first five games of BBL 12, Sydney Thunder face the Strikers twice, the Heat, a depleted Stars, and an improved-looking Renegades. Having finished behind rivals Sixers last year, the Thunder will be looking to go one better. Alex Hales will be key for a strong start – and perhaps more.
There are winnable games in there and the Thunder play twice at home in the opening stretch. They will also contest the BBL 12 raiser against the Stars on 13 December.
How will the Thunder line up?
Sydney Thunder’s new captain Jason Sangha is likely to drop down a spot to accommodate South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw. The middle order after the skipper is relatively fluid.
Its exact composition, however, will be determined by the use of Daniel Sams. The all-rounder might even find himself in the top four should the situation demand. Alex Ross and Oliver Davies will likely compete for one spot.
Sams backed up a club-high 19 wickets with 191 runs striking at 161 last year – in many ways, the engine room of this Thunder side.
Tanveer Sangha’s injury is a blow – he was the Thunder’s third highest wicket taker last season with 16 poles. As he recovers, there are a couple of ways the Thunder could go in his absence.
Overseas players for the Thunder
Either Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi (seam) or Pakistan’s Usman Qadir (spin) will be the Thunder’s third overseas player. The winner of this fight will likely take Tanveer Sangha’s place. However, the Thunder might well switch between them depending on conditions.
Rossouw will slot in at 3 and will frequently bat in tandem with Hales. Rossouw’s feast-or-famine, though, so it’s anyone’s guess how big a role Jason Sangha will play with the bat this season.
How did the Thunder go last season?
Sydney Thunder finished third in the league phase last season with nine wins. They were level on points and wins with second place Sixers. Thunder were eliminated by the Strikers in the Knockout.
Despite a slight wobble towards the end, the Thunder showed they were capable of going on a run. In the middle phase of BBL 11, they won six games in a row.
Top performers for the Thunder in BBL 11
Skipper Sangha was clear at the top of the run scoring charts last year. Hales (383 runs) and Matthew Gilkes (295) were second and third. Encouragingly, Thunder have held on to all three for BBL 12.
Sams backed up a club-high 19 wickets with 191 runs striking at 161 last year – in many ways, the engine room of this Thunder side. Gurinder Sandhu was not far behind with 18 scalps and Nathan McAndrew hit double figures as well.
Sydney Sixers BBL 12 Preview
With three straight home games among their first five, the Sydney Sixers are well placed to make a strong start to BBL 12. The first couple of games are a challenge, however. The Sixers face a strong Strikers side in their season opener on 14 December before taking on defending champions the Scorchers.
How will the Sixers line up?
The Sydney Sixers’ main addition to the squad is Kurtis Patterson. For the Scorchers last season, ‘KP’ piled on 391 runs striking at 142. He will likely reprise his opening role for the Perth side at the Sixers.
Hayden Kerr will likely slot in somewhere below Jordan Silk in the order, with Daniel Hughes a possible competitor for the latter’s place. Dan Christian is also in the frame for number 6.
Christian amassed 264 runs and took seven wickets last season and will be critical to the Sixers’ team balance.
The Sixers have retained their top five wicket takers from last season, suggesting stability in bowling as well as batting. The squad also contains Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird. The latter bowled just 15 overs last season but took four wickets at an economy of 6.73.
Overseas players for the Sixers
England’s Chris Jordan and James Vince are set to continue with the magenta side. With Patterson filling the opening slot, Vince is likely to bat at 3.
How did the Sixers go last season?
The Sydney Sixers finished second on run rate in the league phase last season. From there, they advanced to the final before capitulating at the last hurdle. They lost to the Scorchers by 79 runs.
The Sixers’ best run last season was a four-match winning streak in the first half of the campaign. They were beaten four times by the Scorchers last season and will undoubtedly have to overcome them at a critical stage this time to claim that BBL crown.
Top performers for the Sixers in BBL 11
Hayden Kerr was the BBL’s joint second top wicket taker in 2021-22 with 25, level with Andrew Tye. Two players clocked in excess of 400 runs last season, with Moises Henriques (440) just ahead of Josh Philippe (429). A total of nine players broke three digits for runs for the Sixers last season.
Christian amassed 264 runs and took seven wickets last season and will be critical to the Sixers’ team balance. Sean Abbott also made over a hundred runs last season, suggesting that the Sixers have batting and bowling the length and breadth of the side.