When David Warner was banned for 12 months due to the ball-tampering scandal many people questioned if he would return the same cricketer. Well, he hasn’t. Warner’s even better now.
Sometimes the ladder lies … and in an action-packed BBL season, sometimes power rankings are the best way to see who is most threatening among the eight franchises.
With week two of the BBL|09 tournament under wraps, let’s take a look at what the ladder doesn’t tell us after fifteen games this season.
1. Adelaide Strikers (3-1-0, +0.655)
Last week’s ranking: 8 (N/A)
The Adelaide Strikers are the best team in the competition, that cannot be argued.
The Strikers played three games this week – more than any other side – and won all of them in impressive fashion, so it is no surprise they sit atop the week two power rankings.
Adelaide boast three of the top five run scorers for the tournament in Carey, Wells and
Weatherald as well as the ICC number one ranked T20 bowler in Rashid Khan. Scary.
They were involved in one of the fastest scoring matches in BBL history on Monday night, followed by a close win over the then-undefeated Melbourne Stars on Friday and a dominant display against the Renegades on Sunday night saw Adelaide jump to top spot on the ladder.
After only one match in the first week, which was a no-result, this week has shown that the Strikers have multiple batsmen capable of winning games by themselves, with English import Phil Salt finally finding his rhythm against the Renegades, and trusted bowlers in Siddle and Khan leading the charge for the Strikers’ intimidating bowling attack.
The Strikers, who play three times in five days, host the Thunder in their traditional New Year’s Eve clash on Tuesday, and will be looking to improve their New Year’s Eve record to an incredible 7-0.
Next match: Sydney Thunder at Adelaide Oval, 31st December
2. Sydney Sixers (3-2, 0.192)
Last week’s ranking: 7
The Sydney Sixers could not have asked for a better week.
After two consecutive losses to Hobart and Brisbane, the Sixers bounced back by doing what they seem to be best at: bowling Perth out for an appalling total.
A thumping win over Perth at Optus Stadium was followed up by one of the Sixers’ best wins in their history, with a super over victory over their cross-town rivals seeing them briefly sit on top of the ladder.
In one win it was Jackson Bird and Sean Abbott who wreaked havoc on the batsmen, while in the other it was 20-year-old cult figure Lloyd Pope who had one of his best performances in the Big Bash.
However, both matches featured the same player of the game, a player who may single-handedly carry the Sixers back to the BBL Final.
The game against the Thunder, who were undefeated at the time, was over until Tom Curran arrived at the crease.
The game against the Scorchers looked in Perth’s favour until Curran smashed 43* off 21 deliveries.
The English import was the Sixers’ MVP in BBL|08 and looks destined to be again as his side aims to build on their momentum from this thrilling super over win.
The Sixers play two games this week, however their January 2 match-up against the winless Renegades could be without star all-rounder Sean Abbott who is dealing with a side strain, but if the past two games are anything to go by, someone else will stand up for the men in magenta.
Next match: Melbourne Renegades at Marvel Stadium, 2nd January
3. Melbourne Stars (2-1, +1.150)
Last week’s ranking: 1
The Stars welcomed Dale Steyn and Nathan Coulter-Nile into their undefeated line-up yet suffered their first loss of the tournament on Friday night.
Luck wasn’t on the Stars’ side when they faced off against the Strikers, as Melbourne missed chances in the field, the Strikers made the most of theirs, preventing the Stars’ usual suspects from continuing on their hot starts.
Marcus Stoinis gifted his wicket to Valente and Glenn Maxwell played onto his stumps in unbelievable fashion, however the Stars still found themselves in a position to win on the last ball, albeit Adam Zampa needing to hit a six.
This team is still one of the most threatening in the Big Bash and though their bowlers struggled on Friday night, their balanced batting line-up, who at one stage required 12 an over, almost pulled off a miracle against the competition’s front-runners.
Despite the loss, Melbourne still boast the strongest net run rate in the league and with a game against the Hurricanes on Monday night, a side they just bowled out for 111, they’ll be hoping to continue to build that ever-important net run rate.
Next match: Hobart Hurricanes at UTAS, 30th December
4. Sydney Thunder (2-1-1, +0.562)
Last week’s ranking: 2
The Thunder’s only game this week was one of the best games in BBL history, though unfortunately for them, it was also their first loss in BBL|09, falling one-run short to the Sixers in a super over.
The first Sydney Smash for BBL|09 had it all, and with the Thunder still finding themselves in third place, this heartbreaking yet captivating loss won’t ruin any of the momentum this side has.
The only issue for the Thunder is their next two games this week come against the undefeated Strikers on New Year’s Eve, a timeslot they’re yet to lose in in six years, followed by the ever-threatening Melbourne Stars.
Though the Thunder’s bowling attack has lost some touch – Daniel Sams excluded – their batting line-up remains one of the strongest in the league, with new captain Callum Ferguson the fourth-leading run-scorer for BBL|09 as well as import Alex Hales finally finding his rhythm in the Big Bash.
The Thunder will likely need a win over one of the Strikers or Stars to remain near the top by the end of this week, and although it’s hard to lose momentum in an exhilarating super over loss, a three-game losing streak would certainly do the trick.
Next match: Adelaide Strikers at the Adelaide Oval, 31st December
5. Hobart Hurricanes (2-1, -0.342)
Last week’s ranking: 6
The Hurricanes have flown under the radar so far in BBL|09 yet still find themselves 2-1 and in fifth-place which, due to the newly revamped fixture, is good enough for finals this season.
There was just the one match for the ‘Canes this week, who cruised to an easy win over the r̶e̶i̶g̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶m̶p̶i̶o̶n̶s̶ eighth-placed Renegades on Christmas Eve.
It was the first game this tournament where both D’Arcy Short and Ben McDermott found form with the difference obvious as Hobart, who scored just 129 and 111 in their first two matches, managed 148 in 19.1 overs without ever leaving first gear.
However, not only were their two most important batsmen clicking, the Hurricanes’ fast bowlers in Faulkner, Meredith and Ellis also put the league on notice, with each bowler claiming three wickets.
By the end of this week, the Hurricanes could easily find themselves atop the power rankings and look just as threatening as the ‘Canes from BBL|08.
However, they’ll be hoping for a better performance against the Stars on Monday, who knocked them over for 111 in Moe, while their matches against Brisbane and Perth could help determine the favourites for finals after just three weeks.
Next match: Melbourne Stars at UTAS, 30th December
6. Brisbane Heat (1-2, -0.05)
Last week’s ranking: 4
The Brisbane Heat were the only side not to play this week, so it feels a little unfair having them drop two spots to sixth.
Chris Lynn’s sensational innings guided the Heat to their first win of BBL|09 against the Sixers in week one, and their two matches in week three could determine whether or not this Brisbane side deserves to be taken seriously.
The Heat will host the Scorchers at Metricon Stadium on New Year’s Day, then visit the Hurricanes in what could be a crucial midfield battle.
Brisbane’s bowling line-up will be without Mitchell Swepson, their leading wicket-taker, with the 26-year-old joining the Australian Test squad for the New Year’s Test against New Zealand at the SCG.
If Chris Lynn, who said he wasn’t 100per cent after smashing 94 off 35 against Sydney, is fit and healthy after a one-week rest, then the Heat could be starting the new year in some eye-catching form. Look out.
Next match: Perth Scorchers at Metricon Stadium, 1st January
7. Perth Scorchers (1-3, -1.353)
Last week’s ranking: 3
Even though they finished last in BBL|08, it’s still strange to see the sunset orange down the bottom of the table in BBL|09.
Perth’s only win so far this tournament came against the 0-4 Renegades, though while other teams have made easy work of the struggling ‘Gades line-up, they still conceded 185 runs.
On Monday night the Scorchers were 0/124 in eight overs, with their name seemingly all over a second win for the tournament, but an embarrassing collapse saw them fall 15 runs short of the Strikers whopping 199-run target.
However, it was back to Western Australia for their next match-up, their second meeting with the Sixers in BBL|09, and despite the poor form, Perth were presented with the opportunity to steady their season at 2-2 at home.
18.1 overs later, the Scorchers were bowled out for an abysmal 126 chasing 175, and it seems as though that last year’s eighth-placed Scorchers, weren’t a once-off.
While they haven’t remained as competitive as the Renegades in their losses, the Scorchers have shown they can still set a large total, and although six out of seven teams sit above them on the ladder, their “easier” draw for week three compared to the ‘Gades sees them sit seventh in the power rankings.
Next match: Brisbane Heat at Metricon Stadium, 1st January
8. Melbourne Renegades (0-4, -0.524)
Last week’s ranking: 5
The reigning champions are 0-4 with nowhere to hide after losses to the Hurricanes and Strikers this week.
The ‘Gades were competitive in their first two losses, with many – including head coach Michael Klinger – expecting the champs to turn it around, however they were quickly exposed by Hobart on Christmas Eve and Adelaide on Sunday.
Though it took the Hurricanes until the 20th over to chase down Melbourne’s 147, the Renegades barely looked threatening as D’Arcy Short cruised to a match-winning 60.
If that didn’t set off any alarm bells for the Renegades, then their match against the undefeated Strikers certainly did, as the Strikers, whose target of 156 initially seemed too low, had the game on their terms from the very first over.
The Renegades need a miracle if they’re going to defend their first-ever BBL title, and they’ll certainly need to find some help for stand-out performer Kane Richardson, who sits second in wickets taken this tournament.
Their 0-4 start has tied the worst start to a season by a defending champion, with the Sydney Thunder also going 0-4 in BBL|06, but if they want to avoid holding the record on their lonesome, they’ll need to knock over the second-placed Sixers on Thursday.
Next match: Sydney Sixers at Marvel Stadium, 2nd January