Season in numbers: BBL|13 – Finalists

WHILE the final standings are yet to be determined, the top and bottom four splits are set in stone for another Big Bash League (BBL) season. A top two spot is up for grabs tonight as the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers lock horns. We recap the home-and-away seasons of each finalist.

>> Season in numbers: BBL|13 – Bottom four


CURRENTLY: 1st | 7-1, 2 N/R | 0.972 NRR | 16 points
MOST RUNS: Colin Munro – 224 runs @ 37.33 | 140.88 SR | 99* HS | 50 x2
MOST WICKETS: Xavier Bartlett – 16 wickets @ 13.31 | 7.34 economy | 3-29 BBI

Michael Neser

The competition’s top team has had a host of contributors this season, but few have been more impactful all-round than Neser. He may not be the leading wicket taker or run scorer (see above), but has won matches off his own back (see below) in all three facets of the game. His crowning moment was earning Player of the Match honours with 64* and 2-31 in a win over Perth, with such exploits seeing him get the nod ahead of Paul Walter, Munro, and Bartlett.


There have been plenty of highlights in Brisbane’s run to top spot, which included a seven-game winning streak. Said streak culminated in a huge home win against reigning champions, the Scorchers, in the long awaited grand final rematch. With Test stars Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne in the squad, the Heat posted 191 – but it was largely thanks to Neser’s bullocking back-end knock of 64* (30). Brisbane’s four seamers all picked up two wickets to defend the total by 23 runs, locking in top spot.


Arguably the toughest category to pick from for the Heat is a season-low, simply because there haven’t really been any. Their one loss came against the Scorchers away, which is widely considered to be the toughest road trip in the competition. In that game, coincidentally their most recent, the Heat lost 6-28 at the back-end of their chase, falling 35 runs short of a fired up Perth outfit. Depending on tonight’s result, they may well meet again in Friday’s Qualifier final.


CURRENTLY: 2nd | 6-2, 1 N/R | 0.837 NRR | 13 points
STILL TO PLAY: Sixers @ Perth Stadium, tonight
MOST RUNS: Aaron Hardie – 296 runs @ 42.28 | 129.25 SR | 85* HS | 50 x2
MOST WICKETS: Lance Morris – 13 wickets @ 12.76 | 7.21 economy | 5-24 BBI

Aaron Hardie

Who else but the captain? Perth boasts the competition’s third highest run scorer (Hardie) and wicket taker (Lance Morris) this season, with the former also chiming in for economic overs with ball in hand. The 25-year-old Hardie is among Australian cricket’s most exciting prospects and he has taken over from injured skipper Ashton Turner with aplomb in BBL|13. His best knock was a commanding 85* (45) at first drop which helped the Scorchers chase down 173 in a nine-wicket thumping of Hobart.


Lauded as the league’s benchmark side for many years, Perth has had some competition this season and flexed its muscle in response. The Scorchers handed ladder leader, Brisbane, its first loss most recently in front of a packed out home crowd, serving a timely reminder of the team’s credentials. Nick Hobson saved the Scorcher’s first innings score, compiling 48* (30) to help post 163. A polished bowling defence was spearheaded by Andrew Tye (4-14) and firebrand quick Lance Morris (3-26).


Like most other finals contenders, there aren’t too many lows to speak of for Perth. Though, two losses in three games would have made for unfamiliar territory starting the season 4-0. Both losses – against fellow finalists Brisbane and Adelaide – came away from home, with the Perth Stadium cauldron obviously a massive advantage too. A crunch match against the Sixers remains, and a loss would make it three losses in five games – not to mention missing out on top two honours.


CURRENTLY: 3rd | 5-2, 2 N/R | 0.356 NRR | 12 points
STILL TO PLAY: Sixers @ Perth Stadium, tonight
MOST RUNS: James Vince – 222 runs @ 31.71 | 122.65 SR | 83 HS | 50 x2
MOST WICKETS: Jack Edwards – 9 wickets @ 19.88 | 7.78 economy | 3-24 BBI

James Vince

With such an even squad of contributors and no players featuring in the competition’s top 10 runs or wickets charts, it was difficult to pick a standout for the Sixers. Vince is among the more obvious choices having led the side for runs with 222 – making him the sole Sixer to hit the 200-mark. The Englishman’s top knock yielded 83 (55) in a loss to the Stars. Ben Dwarshuis and Jack Edwards were also considered, the latter for his all-round impact.


Scraping home by a single run against Adelaide back in December was a terrific way to go 3-0, but after a stop-start middle patch of the season, Sydney’s derby win over the Thunder would have felt great. The Sixers locked in their finals spot with consecutive victories, capped off by beating their rival in front of a packed SCG. Steve Smith and David Warner turned out for either side, and Steve O’Keefe (3-13) put on a vintage performance with the ball in a staunch defence of 151.


The peaks and troughs haven’t been particularly pronounced for the Sixers, but perhaps the three-run loss to Brisbane would have been most frustrating. In a rain impacted match at Coffs Harbour, the Sixers posted 141 and had the Heat stuck behind the DLS par score at key moments. Having returned to the field after an initial rain delay, Brisbane’s Paul Walter bashed two crucial boundaries to change that. Then the rain came again – it’s a cruel game.


CURRENTLY: 4th | 5-4, 1 N/R | 0.331 NRR | 11 points
MOST RUNS: Matt Short – 509 runs @ 72.71 | 153.77 SR | 82 HS | 50 x6
MOST WICKETS: Jamie Overton – 16 wickets @ 17.31 | 8.06 economy | 3-23 BBI

Matt Short

The best player in the competition for a couple of seasons now, Short has had his way with opposition attacks in BBL|13. He boasts over 200 more runs than any other batter (509) and has even chimed in with handy spin overs, all while captaining a side which rocketed into the finals race. The Victorian has chalked up an outrageous six half-centuries, arguably failing just once with the bat in a score of eight against former side, the Renegades. His next lowest score was 39.


Having started the season 1-4, you could pick any of the Strikers’ next four games – all wins – as high points. Beating the Scorchers holds up incredibly well, but perhaps knocking off Hobart in back-to-back fixtures was the true test of Adelaide’s mettle. Needing to win to stay in the finals hunt, the Strikers did so convincingly both home and away before booking their finals ticket with a nine-wicket thumping of the Sydney Thunder. They well and truly deserve to be there.


In a season of two halves, the Strikers’ start was quite the low point. Nailed to bottom spot on the ladder at 1-4, Adelaide dropped games to both Melbourne sides – who failed to make the top four – and were trounced by the Scorchers in Perth. It raises the question of just how far the Strikers could have gone during the regular season, had they snapped up those early winnable opportunities. Still, the low didn’t last for long, and they’re now on an incredible run to the finals.

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