2016-17 Big Bash League Team Preview: Heat, Hurricanes & Thunder

December 13, 2016 by Posted in Cricket Tips

Sydney-Thunder-BBL06As part of our previous preview series, we looked at five teams in two articles. In this final piece on previews, we will look forward to what’s in store from Brisbane Heat, Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder ahead of BBL06 kicking off on December 20th.

After the disappointment of last season, Hobart will hope to improve and find themselves in the top four at the end of this season. The likes of George Bailey, Dan Christian, Kumar Sangakkara and Tim Paine is good enough to push them up the table.

What works out for Hobart is the absence of Australian internationals which means they can hope for continuity. How much help that willbe is up for discussion but the Hurricanes surely have an edge there.

What may work against them is the loss of Ben Dunk who had been their second-most prolific batsman behind Paine. Will someone stand up and be counted with Paine? Their win is being offered at odds of $9 at Sportsbet.

Player to Watch: Tim Paine
X-Factor: Dan Christian
Prediction: Bottom four

Squad: Cameron Boyce, George Bailey, Dan Christian, Clive Rose, Jake Reed, Sam Rainbird, Hamish Kingston, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Shaun Tait, Beau Webster, Jonathan Wells, Dominic Michael, Kumar Sangakkara

Brisbane-Heat-BBL06With the exception of BBL02 season where they were winners, Brisbane Heat have been lagging behind in every Big Bash League. Even last year, they finished sixth but that too was largely on the exploits of Chris Lynn.

One huge change for them is the availability of Brendon McCullum. The Kiwi swashbuckler was on the Heat books last season as well but didn’t play owing to international commitments. Now that he’s retired, expect McCullum to lead the charge for Heat along with Lynn.

The bowling too will be potent this season with a lot expected from Samuel Badree and Ben Cutting. The surprise package could be the 23-year-old leg-spinner Mitch Swepson who impressed one and all last year in the limited game time he had. Odds on their win are being offered at $10 at Sportsbet.

Player to Watch: Swepson
X-Factor: McCullum
Prediction: Top four

Squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Samuel Badree, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, Alex Doolan, Andrew Fekete, Luke Feldman, Jason Floros, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Chris Lynn, James Peirson, Nathan Reardon, Alex Ross, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Jack Wildermuth

What do we say – the Thunder have made a mockery of every prediction last season to emerge champions. Perennial cellar dwellers they were in previous seasons but riding high on individual performances, they stormed to a maiden title triumph.

Their success was largely driven by T20 specialists – Usman Khawaja, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Andre Russell and Jacques Kallis. Eoin Morgan joins the team this season replacing Kallis while Hussey has retired. Khawaja has become a key member of the Australian Test team which means his participation will be diluted.

Even Morgan would leave in early January to participate in England’s limited over leg of Indian tour which adds to the cloud of uncertainty over Thunder’s chances. Can they rise above these challenges and surprise everyone? Odds being offered on them ending up as Champions are $7 at Sportsbet.

Player to Watch: Arjun Nair
X-Factor: Andre Russell
Prediction: Top four

Squad: Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Patrick Cummins, Jake Doran, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Chris Hartley, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alister McDermott, Clint McKay, Eoin Morgan, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu


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