BBL07 Adelaide Strikers preview

Kristy Williams Roar Rookie

By Kristy Williams, Kristy Williams is a Roar Rookie

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    The Adelaide Strikers were mediocre, at best, in BBL|06, and they will be up against it to improve on their sixth place performance this season.

    The Melbourne Renegades pilfered their playing ranks, taking captain Brad Hodge and four other players. Ben Dunk, the leading run scorers for the Strikers last season and BBL|03 Player of the Tournament, departs for the Melbourne Stars and is replaced by South African, Colin Ingram.

    The bowling unit, led by new recruit Peter Siddle, is a well balanced and experienced group who will be boosted by the inclusion of star Afghani legspinner, Rashid Khan.

    The exciting youngster is expected to light the BBL up from ball one, and the Strikers will be desperately hoping their bowlers can restrict their opponents to small enough totals that the inexperienced batting group can chase down.

    Squad
    Batters: Travis Head (Captain), Jono Dean, Colin Ingram, Jake Lehmann, Jonathan Wells
    Wicketkeepers: Alex Carey
    All-rounders: Daniel Drew, Michael Neser
    Bowlers: Wes Agar, Michael Cormack, David Grant, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Liam O’Connor, Peter Siddle, Nick Winter, Billy Stanlake
    In: Ingram, Khan, Siddle (Renegades), Wells (Hurricanes)
    Out: Chris Jordan (unsigned), Ben Dunk (Stars), Holland, Ludeman, Pollard, Richardson, Hodge (all Renegades)

    BBL|06 Snapshot- Finished sixth
    Batting
    Average runs scored per game: 162 (League average: 160.57)
    Average run-rate per game: 8.2 (League average: 8.42)
    Average sixes per game: 6.6 (League average: 5.5)

    Top Three Runscorers
    Ben Dunk (now gone): 8 matches, 364 runs @ 52. HS- 85.
    Brad Hodge (now gone): 8 matches, 286 runs @ 40.85. HS- 56.
    Kieron Pollard (now gone): 8 matches, 145 runs @ 18.12. HS- 47.

    Top Three strike rates (minimum 100 runs)
    Ben Dunk (now gone): 8 innings, 364 runs/222 balls, SR- 163.96.
    Kieron Pollard (now gone): 8 innings, 145 runs/99 balls, SR- 146.46.
    Brad Hodge (now gone): 8 innings, 286 runs/218 balls, SR- 131.19.

    Bowling
    Average runs conceded per game: 154 (League average: 159.91)
    Average economy-rate per game: 8.2 (League average: 8.42)

    Top Three Wicket-takers
    Ish Sodhi: 3 matches, 9 wickets @ 7.77. BB- 6/11.
    Ben Laughlin: 7 matches, 9 wickets @ 14.88. BB- 3/19.
    Chris Jordan: 5 matches, 9 wickets @ 17.55. BB- 3/24.

    Top Three Economy-rates (minimum 15 overs)
    Ben Laughlin: 22 overs, 134 runs, ER- 6.09.
    Billy Stanlake: 15.2 overs, 107 runs, ER- 6.97.
    Liam O’Connor: 24 overs, 184 runs, ER- 7.66.

    Batting overview
    For a side that struggled to find consistent contributors with the bat last season, it is certainly interesting that their three top run-scorers and strikers have all departed. The only notable batting inclusion is firebrand South African, Colin Ingram; who now plies his trade as a Kolpak player on the county circuit.

    The first-drop averages a health 29 in his T20 career, and strikes at 136.56; a lot will depend on Ingram and new skipper, Travis Head. Given Head will likely miss the back end of the tournament due to Australian ODI duties- rookies Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Jake Lehmann will all need to take a huge step up.

    Weatherald in particular looks promising, with the Darwin product averaging 42 in the recent JLT Cup and striking a beautiful 116. Jonathan Wells is a steady, if unspectacular option (he averaged 34.25 in BBL|06) while Carey and Lehmann are still unproven entities in the BBL.

    It is often the wily old veterans like Hodge, who know their games inside and out, that are the most effective in this form, and the Strikers batting line-up looks very short of experience.

    Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge tries to get his team over the line in the Big Bash

    (AAP Image/David Mariuz)

    Bowling overview
    Adelaide has assembled an outstanding bowling unit; with Peter Siddle, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin and Billy Stanlake all having international experience while Michael Neser is a seasoned state campaigner. Afghani leggie, Khan, is the most intriguing of the bowlers, with the import one of the hardest T20 bowlers to get away in world cricket, and his googly will no doubt snare a few victims.

    It would not be surprising to see a few sides just see his four overs out. Siddle will be expected to lead the attack, and the veteran was in fine form for Victoria in the JLT, going for a measly 3.95 across the seven games.

    Neser and Laughlin are very crafty with their changes of pace while Stanlake, if fit, will provide a point of difference with his ability to generate serious heat and steep bounce.

    Rising star
    23-year-old Jake Weatherald has now played 20 first class games, and the elegant left hander will get a much more prominent role in BBL|07. He slammed twin centuries in a Shield game for the Redbacks against Western Australia earlier this season, and was in great form at the top of the order in the one-day format.

    His BBL career (albeit only seven games) strike rate is 130 and the batsman friendly Adelaide Oval will do him no harm.

    X-factor
    It is going to be very exciting to see how Rashid Khan goes in BBL07. The spinner will be an unknown quantity for many Australian players and fans, and his vast array of subtle variations will bamboozle a few batsman. His high energy playing style will no doubt endear him to fans and he is a favourite to take the most wickets for the tournament.

    MVP
    Workhorse Michael Neser often doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves, but the likeable Queenslander looks primed for a big BBL. He has been in career best bowling form for the Bulls this year, including a haul of 6-57, and promisingly, struck his maiden century in the JLT Cup.

    While he occasionally cops some stick, the quality of the entire bowling unit should give him more wicket taking opportunities. You get the sense a fragile batting line-up like Adelaide’s may need some of his late-order hitting, too.

    Predicted finish
    6th-8th
    It is hard to see this side make much of an impact this season. Obviously, given the format, they will jag a few wins here and there, but there is a glaring lack of depth and experience in the batting line-up, and that will show in the big moments.

    They love the New Years Eve game, and it gets the whole city pumping, but outside out that, there will be more losses than wins.

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