The ninth season of Big Bash League cricket is almost here and the excitement is just about building up, and Bettingpro.com.au has you covered with our predictions for BBL09.
After winning the title for the first time last season, Melbourne Renegades will be looking to do the double. Then there are the Perth Scorchers, who had their hold over playoff spots broken last season.
The Hobart Hurricanes remain the only side yet to win a Big Bash title, but could this be the year for the men in purple?
There’s the additional charm of T20 specialists looking to make their mark and a number of changes the sides gone through to accommodate international commitments.
In the wake of all this, we look at the three best picks for BBL09.
Brisbane Heat – BBL09 Winners
On the face of it, the Heat are going through a transition. Brendon McCullum has retired, while Daniel Vettori has moved on from the coach role. They have a new coach in Darren Lehmann and a new captain in Chris Lynn. However, the biggest signing of this season’s edition comes from the Heat in the shape of AB de Villiers. The South African super star will only be available from January 2020, but is sure to excite the fans and players alike. Even in his absence, the Heat have an able replacement in Tom Banton. The young English opener is an unknown commodity in Australia, but his record in England’s domestic T20s is impressive. Then there are the Afghan imports Mujheeb Ur Rahman and Zahir Khan adding value to the side. The winner of the second edition back in 2012-13, the Brisbane Heat could be back at the top of BBL.
D’Arcy Short – Tournament Best Batsman
The left-handed opener is one of the most destructive batsmen of the BBL on his day. He has 1,407 BBL runs to his name in 34 matches at an average of 46.90. The superstar has ended as the ‘Player of the tournament’ and ‘Top batsman’ for the past two editions. What sets Short apart from the rest is his ability to adapt. The bouncy pitches help his game which is predominantly ‘square’. He also has a more than decent record with the ball – which usually helps him in the final analysis. Furthermore, he isn’t in the national ODI team plans which assures his availability for the most part.
Rashid Khan – Tournament Best Bowler
The Afghanistan leg-spinner is just 21 years old and is already his nation’s captain in all formats. One of the first from the talented Afghan stable to make a mark on the T20 franchise circuit, Rashid Khan has already played 193 T20s. He has bagged 272 wickets at a staggering economy rate of 6.24 and a SR of 16.3. This means he would pick up at least a wicket every match and will more likely give you a spell of 1/25 in his four overs. In the BBL, he has 37 wickets in 25 matches at an ER of 5.93. Given his penchant to be a winner every time he gets on the field, Rashid should be in and around the top wicket takers of this season.