Cricket

Sydney Sixers BBL|07 Preview

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The kings of Sydney have always had unavailabilities due to Australian selection, however with only two BBL campaigns without featuring in the finals, these absences rarely affect the team. It’s quite a strong team once again this season, with the ability to fly under the radar if teams underestimate some of the lesser-appreciated names in the Sixers’ line-up.

       Projected XI

  1.  Jason Roy
  2.  Daniel Hughes
  3.  Nic Maddinson
  4.  Sam Billings
  5.  Moises Henriques (c)
  6.  Peter Nevill (wk)
  7.  Johan Botha
  8.  Sean Abbott
  9.  Steve O’Keefe
  10.  Ben Dwarshuis
  11.  Jackson Bird

 Rest of Squad: Nick Larkin, Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Doug Bollinger, Mickey Edwards, Mitch Starc*, Henry Thornton, Nathan Lyon*

*on international duty

The Imports

Jason Roy

Much like last season, Jason Roy will only be available for the first half of this tournament as he’ll be representing England in the ODIs through January. Roy’s one of the most aggressive batsmen in world cricket, with an astonishing strike rate of 82 in first class cricket highlighting how he likes to play. He only got 92 runs in his four matches for the Sixers last year and he’ll want to build on that in BBL|07.

Sam Billings

Billings also returns to the Sixers after impressing in his five matches last season. His availability is a little more unclear than Roy’s, given Billings played the last two ODIs for England but failed to perform well. Coming in at four, Billings can quickly take the game away from opposition teams with his precision hitting game. He averaged 32 at a strike rate of 129.6 in BBL|06.

Strengths

Balanced Bowling Attack

The Sixers have a good balance of restrictive and wicket-taking bowling in their line-up. O’Keefe and Botha are known to be economical, with the former only going at 5.83 in his 12 overs last season. With these two tying down an end, it allows for the likes of Abbott, Dwarshuis and Bird to attack the stumps. Abbott and Dwarshuis were the best pace duo in BBL|06, picking up 33 wickets between them. Nathan Lyon’s availability in the back-end of the tournament will only boost the team as well, given how damaging he has previously been in the BBL. Expect Moises Henriques to also roll the arm over more this season.

International Experience

There’s plenty of international experience in the Sixers’ team, with only Hughes and Dwarshuis not having played international cricket in the above team. It may give the Sixers a slight advantage over some teams who feature veterans of the domestic circuit, but have never taken that next step to the upper level. It has proven to be helpful for the Sixers in the past and will once again play a large role in their matches this season.

Weaknesses

Late-order hitting

The mid-to-lower order of the Sixers features some solid all-rounders, but very few big hitters that can add quick runs at the end of an innings. Sean Abbott is meant to be an aggressive bowling all-rounder, however he averages just 9.72 at a strike rate of 101.4 in his 54 T20 matches. Botha needs to be more aggressive, as he was in patches last season, if the Sixers are to put together bigger totals. Big hitting in the final few overs is an underrated part of the game and the Sixers may struggle to push 10-12 an over when it counts.

Team’s Chances

On paper, the potential XI the Sixers can field for at least the first half of the tournament is an extremely exciting and damaging team. There’s a nice balance within the team, and as long as one batsman can stay “in” for most of the innings, they’ll post good totals. The issues will come when their imports depart, however Sydney is an appealing destination for late inclusions to the squad. Expect the team to be around the mark in BBL|07.

Prediction: 3rd

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