Preview: BBL|12 Finals
FINALS are upon us in BBL|12, with five teams left in contention to take out the 2022/23 title. While the top two sides have been a cut above, a competitive mid-table field will be in it to win it. Ahead of tonight’s eliminator between the Thunder and Heat, we run through all you need to know about the BBL postseason.
The Eliminator: Sydney Thunder vs. Brisbane Heat
Friday January 27, 7:15pm AEDT @ Sydney Showground Stadium
The Qualifier: Perth Scorchers vs. Sydney Sixers
Saturday January 28, 4:15pm AWST @ Perth Stadium
The Knockout: Melbourne Renegades vs. Winner of The Eliminator
Sunday January 29, 7:15pm AEDT @ Marvel Stadium
The Challenger: Loser of The Qualifier vs. Winner of The Knockout
Thursday February 2, TBC
The Final: Winner of The Qualifier v Winner of The Challenger
Saturday February 4, 7:30pm AEDT
WATCH: Channel 7, Fox, Kayo
FOLLOW: CA Live app
1. Perth Scorchers (11-3) – 22 points, 1.205 NRR
2. Sydney Sixers (10-3, 1 NR) – 21 points, 0.846 NRR
3. Melbourne Renegades (7-7) – 14 points, -0.027 NRR
4. Sydney Thunder (7-7) – 14 points, -0.716 NRR
5. Brisbane Heat (6-7, 1 NR) – 13 points, -0.483 NRR
6. Hobart Hurricanes (6-8) – 12 points, -0.34 NRR
7. Adelaide Strikers (5-9) – 10 points, -0.151 NRR
8. Melbourne Stars (3-11) – 6 points, -0.287 NRR
NR = No Result
FORM (LAST 5)
Perth Scorchers (4-1) – WWWLW
Sydney Sixers (5-0) – WWWWW
Melbourne Renegades (2-3) – WLLWL
Sydney Thunder (2-3) – WLWLL
Brisbane Heat (4-1) – LWWWW
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Perth Scorchers: Jhye Richardson
The Scorchers speedster made an electric start to the season before being hampered by a hamstring injury, taking 15 wickets in seven games. Richardson’s pace, energy and intensity make for traits suited to the finals format, and he could prove a real difference maker upon his timely return.
Sydney Sixers: Sean Abbott
It is no secret just how good a short form player Abbott is. Not only is he this season’s leading wicket taker, but he tops the all-time charts and offers invaluable experience. Though Steve Smith will be the main watch in the qualifier, Abbott’s all-round impact will be arguably more important throughout the finals series.
Melbourne Renegades: Aaron Finch
Where would the Renegades be without Finch? Reprising the captaincy with Nic Maddinson struck down by injury, the all-time white ball great has pivoted many a successful run chase this season, moving through the gears with composed knocks to compliment his powerful hitting.
Sydney Thunder: Daniel Sams
Though Thunder fans will be hoping David Warner can produce something special when available, Sams is a player whose all-round acumen has proven crucial at different points in the season. A dangerous hitter who also leads the Thunder for wickets, Sams can take the game away from any team, quickly.
Brisbane Heat: Spencer Johnson
One of the finds of the 2022/23 BBL season, the Heat quick has perhaps evoked a sense of nostalgia in fans of left-arm pacemen named Johnson. His clutch feats in tricky overs essentially won his side consecutive games, and though he may not have the wickets to show for it, Johnson has had a terrific season.
AUSSIES IN ACTION
A bunch of Australia’s Test stars are set to grace the early stages of BBL|12 finals, though not all will be available throughout. Check out the full list of touring squad members below.
Usman Khawaja – available for eliminator & knockout
Marnus Labuschagne – available for eliminator & knockout
Matthew Renshaw – available for eliminator & knockout
Mitchell Swepson – available for eliminator
Peter Handscomb – not available
Ashton Agar: not available
Lance Morris – available for qualifier
Nathan Lyon – available for qualifier
Todd Murphy – not available
Steve Smith – available for qualifier
David Warner – available for eliminator & knockout
It is extremely hard to envision a final without the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers. They’ll play off in Saturday’s qualifier and one side will earn their spot in the decider, while the other only needs to win one knockout game to qualify.
In the Thunder-Heat eliminator, the home side is always dangerous and while the cattle is certainly there, inconsistency also lingers. The Heat have been one of the form teams of the competition and before their choke against Hobart, won four consecutive games. They’ll be hard to beat.
The Renegades take on the winner of that match and have exceeded expectations this season, even with key outs along the way. Given they will host at Marvel Stadium and have essentially been the best of the rest, don’t count them out for a finals win – especially if they bowl first.
Either way, the task of defeating the Scorchers or Sixers to qualify for the final is a daunting task for one of the Renegades, Thunder or Heat. The two standout sides of BBL|12 should prevail, and we predict the Scorchers to take out an unprecedented fifth title.