The upcoming summer of cricket in Australia is set to be one of the most exciting in many years. The inaugural BBL Draft, T20 World Cup, Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) & Men’s Big Bash League (BBL) will ensure Cricket has the attention of sporting fans throughout the country over the next six months. The last couple of years has seen a major shift in the landscape of the game globally. Players have been impacted by the increase in demands from the multiple formats as well franchise cricket, highlighted by Ben Stokes’ recent retirement from One Day International cricket. There are new short-form tournaments popping up all over the world with private investors in countries including South Africa, the UAE & America. The inaugural BBL Draft comes at the perfect time, with excitement amongst Australian Cricket fans and the media with the prospect of more International stars at the upcoming 2022/23 edition of the BBL. The Renegades will have the first pick in the inaugural BBL Draft and more than 70 English players have already expressed their interest to be part of the Draft. For more information on how the BBL Draft (scheduled for 28th August) will work, check out the detailed preview here.
How Do Various BBL Teams Build Their Innings?
We have looked at the last five seasons of the BBL to see how teams structure their innings’. Brisbane Heat have had ‘Baz’ McCullum, Chris Lynn & Darren Lehmann as integral members of their leadership group over this time so it’s no surprise to see them starting their innings with a bang! In fact, they are comfortably the fastest starting team in the first 3 overs of 1st innings’ going at 8.7 runs per over (RPO). Unfortunately, as most BBL fans would know, this has usually been negated by their performance after the powerplay. Whether it’s due to their top order attacking batsmen (Lynn, McCullum, Bryant) getting out early or their inability to handle the switch in tempo after the powerplay and against some of the better spin bowlers in the BBL, the Heat have struggled in the middle overs. Which we can clearly see in overs 7-9 where they go at 6.14 RPO, comfortably the worst of any team over the last 5 seasons.
In stark comparison to the Heat, we have the Sixers and Scorchers. They have been two of the best teams in the BBL over the last decade and this graph helps us see why. Even though both teams start slower than the other six teams, they gradually build throughout the innings. It’s easy to see why given players such as Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner, Jordan Silk & Moises Henriques likely bat for them through this phase. The Sixers are in the bottom two teams even in the death overs. Whereas the Scorchers are amongst the top two teams in the last 5 overs. But even then, they only explode at the death after a gradual increase throughout the innings.
Tim David has been a dominant force in T20 Franchise tournaments across the world even showing his potential in the 2022 edition of the IPL hitting 16 sixes in 86 balls with a strike rate of over 200 during the tournament.
How Do BBL Teams Compare To IPL & T20 Blast Teams Through Different Phases In The First Innings?
As a point of reference, we also had a look at how teams in the IPL & T20 Blast generally approach their batting innings. Teams in the Blast have a clear strategy. They are willing to lose more wickets in the Powerplay. However, in the last two overs, they lose less wickets than BBL & IPL teams – likely because they are forced into more of a conservative approach. IPL & BBL teams, surprisingly, follow very similar approaches. BBL teams lose slightly more wickets in the firs three and last two overs. Presumably, this is due to the higher quality of batsmen in the IPL or the pitches being more friendly towards batsmen.
The next graphic shows us the result of the T20 Blast teams’ willingness to risk their wickets early. You can see that they score noticeably more runs in the powerplay than IPL and BBL teams. The middle overs are relatively similar, but the prominence of more ‘Finishers’ in the IPL really shows here as you can see they score almost 1 run per over more than BBL teams in overs 19-20 in first innings over the last 5 years. Whereas the T20 Blast teams go hard early, stabilise through the middle overs but don’t have the wickets remaining to go hard at the end. It’s interesting to note they can match it with IPL & BBL teams in overs 16-18 but score about 1.5 runs less than IPL teams in overs 19-20.
Who Are The Best Options For The Finisher Role In The T20 World Cup?
Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade, two of the best top order batsmen in the BBL did an excellent job for Australia in the T20 World Cup in the UAE in 2021. They were crucial for the Aussies in their charge towards winning their first ever T20 World Cup. However, in contrast to their roles in the BBL, they did this batting in the middle order. The Aussies were fortunate in winning the toss and being able to bat second in some crucial matches, however, having Stoinis & Wade bat against some of the best pace bowlers at the death ended up being a masterstroke.
Since then, Tim David has been a dominant force in T20 Franchise tournaments across the world even showing his potential in the 2022 edition of the IPL hitting 16 sixes in 86 balls with a strike rate of over 200 during the tournament. Most fans think he should be an automatic selection for the T20 World Cup squad. Stoinis and Wade obviously did an excellent job in last year’s World Cup and also deserve to be in the squad. However, looking at the death over strike rate and strike rate in the first five balls faced in the BBL over the last five season, it’s very difficult to identify many other contenders for this position. Ashton Turner, Ben Cutting & Daniel Sams are three of the potential options. Turner has had varying success for Australia and in the IPL but has been excellent for the Scorchers over a long period of time. Cutting’s bowling has gone downhill in recent seasons but his power-hitting is undeniable. Daniel Sams’ batting has been hot and cold but he does offer the variety of being a left handed bowler who can bowl in the powerplay and the death. Which of these options Australia goes with for the World Cup could be crucial for their fortunes, especially in the latter stages of the tournament.