Cricket

Sydney Thunder BBL|07 Preview

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Things look dire for the Sydney Thunder. The team has finished dead last in four of the six BBL tournaments, with one seventh placed finish and the triumphant title win in BBL|05. The best parts of their team last year were Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins, Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell (historically). The three internationals have not returned and Cummins is now a regular for Australia. It’ll be a long season for the Thunder.

        Projected XI

  1.  Aiden Blizzard
  2.  Shane Watson (c)
  3.  Kurtis Patterson
  4.  Jos Buttler (wk)
  5.  Callum Ferguson
  6.  Ben Rohrer
  7.  Chris Green
  8.  Clint McKay
  9.  Gurinder Sandhu
  10.  Fawad Ahmed
  11.  Mitchell McClenaghan

Rest of Squad: Ryan Gibson, Jay Lenton, Arjun Nair, Liam Hatcher

The Imports

Jos Buttler

The signing of Buttler is definitely one of the highlights for the Thunder, as he’s one of the best wicket-keeper/batsmen in the world in this format. This is his second short stint in the BBL, having played for the Renegades a couple of seasons ago where he showcased his power. Buttler is only available for the first five-to-six games of the competition, as he is England’s ODI and T20I wicket-keeper.

Mitch McClenaghan

The left-arm quick from New Zealand has joined the Thunder as their number one bowling option for BBL|07. He is a veteran in this format of the game, with 159 wickets in 123 games, however he tends to leak some runs. McClenaghan’s recent run in the CPL saw him get hit for at least eight runs an over in all but one match, which may be concerning for the Thunder if he doesn’t get wickets.

Strengths

Experience

This Thunder team is full of experience, with seven players over 30 years of age. All have had good success in T20 cricket and will be able to stay calm in difficult situations. The question mark will be on how they perform, particularly the ageing bowling attack who have been known to receive some serious punishment from opposition teams.

Weaknesses

Batting

The Thunder will be relying heavily on their top six, given the significant drop in quality after Ben Rohrer. Green can bat but it’s unknown as to whether he’d be able to lock down the number seven position as Pat Cummins did last season, which will hurt if the top order fail. The explosiveness of the batting also stop after Jos Buttler, which means the Thunder could struggle to post big totals in BBL|07.

Bowling quality

Chris Green is the Thunder’s best bowler in a competition where he would be a handy third or fourth option. There’s a real need for McKay and Sandhu to both cement their spots in this team and played well, which is what would have been expect of them a couple of season ago. Watson will be relied upon heavily as he is the team’s most consistent bowler, while the wily Fawad Ahmed is just that. This attack can be hit for 200+ if last year’s performances are anything to go by.

Team’s Chances

In short, the Thunder will struggle significantly. Buttler can help make them competitive early in the season, however his absence will result in even worse showings by the team. There’s a great opportunity for Kurtis Patterson to show how good he is, given the huge opportunities he will get in BBL|07, which will be one of the few positives. The wooden spoon awaits once again.

Prediction: 8th

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