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World Cup Stars hunting first BBL title ahead of Sixers opener

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4th December, 2021
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First they conquered the globe, now the Stars of Australia’s Twenty20 World Cup winning side must climb their other Everest.

Winning a Big Bash title.

Three weeks after their heroics in Dubai, the first batch of Australia’s World Champions will return in the Melbourne Stars’ BBL season-opener against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG.

Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis also enter in familiar circumstances.

Highly rated, but still yet to lift the major trophy after years of disappointments and cases of so-near-yet-so-far.

“It would be nice to tick that all off in one summer,” Maxwell said this week.

“Be part of the first team to win the T20 World Cup for Australia, and hopefully part of the first team to win a BBL title for the Stars.”

Glenn Maxwell of the Stars bats during the Big Bash League

(Photo by Daniel Pockett – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

On paper, the Stars again shape as one of the genuine contenders.

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Maxwell was one of the form players of the IPL, Stoinis evolved into a genuine match-winner in Australia’s T20 success and Zampa is close to the best leg spinner in the world.

“We see Zampa’s value as being the best in Australia, and probably the best in the world,” Maxwell said.

“The way he performed in the T20 World Cup, along with Davey (Warner) was the player of the tournament.

“He’s been outstanding for a really long time.

“He has changed his pace, his variations and tactically he always gets better, he is always learning.”

Adam Zampa of the Stars celebrates a wicket during the Big Bash League

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

It’s delivering that has historically been the bigger issue for the Stars.

Maxwell insists they’re better placed than last year, pointing to greater depth with Qais Ahmed and Joe Clarke among the new faces.

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Their first-up opponents in the Sixers remain the legitimate favourites.

The men in magenta haven’t lost any players to Australia or Australia A commitments, while Sean Abbott is a surprise inclusion after returning to Sydney on Friday from Australia A duties ahead of the birth of his first child.

The two-time defending champions are also largely unaffected by international selectors, but have the best of the big English BBL contingent in James Vince, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan.

“If anything I almost think we’re even more balanced this year,” Henriques said.

“We’ve got guys who are good enough to be in the team for their bowling or batting alone.

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“Sometimes you’ve got bits and pieces players who aren’t quite good enough at one or the other bit, but thrown in for balance.

“But Tom Curran is good enough to just be a death bowler, but bats and fields well

“Chris Jordan’s the same. Dan Christian is good enough to be in as a batter or a bowler.

“And I’m good enough to be in the team as a batter and I can still bowl and field.”

The Sixers pose with the trophy after winning the Big Bash League Final

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide have the opposite issues, stretched by Australia, Australia A and England selections.

Aaron Finch (knee) will also miss the start of the Renegades’ campaign, while Hobart shape as a dark horse with World Cup star Matt Wade joining D’Arcy Short at the top of the order.

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“I think it’s our time, genuinely,” Hurricanes quick Nathan Ellis said.

“We’ve got a good nucleus of six or seven players who have played together for a long time.

“We’ll hopefully have Wadey for a lot of the games this year.

“It’s our window. If we play sound, consistent cricket, we should be right up there.”

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© AAP

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