2021-22 BBL FINAL: EXPERT TIPS

Welcome to the Betfair Hub’s home for BBL11!

The cricket analyst provides insights and betting tips across every game of the 2021-22 Big Bash League. Who do you trust to hit big and play hard this Summer? Read his game and season preview below.


PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS

The equation at Marvel Stadium this season has been pretty simple – six out of ten sides who have batted first have made in excess of 175 and all won. Of the four other scores that failed to surpass 155, just one has been successfully defended and that was way back in the third game of the season – with a margin of just two runs.

SUMMARY

The Perth Scorchers will go into the final with plenty of confidence after they blew away the Sixers by 48 runs here in the Qualifier last Saturday night.

As they have done for all bar one game this season, the Scorchers elected to bat first after winning the toss. They quickly put the defending champions to the sword as openers Josh Inglis (79 off 49 balls) and Kurtis Patterson (64 off 41 balls) put on a stand of 120 off 74 balls, which underpinned their eventual total of 3/189.

Not to be outdone, Perth’s bowlers then put the result beyond doubt by reducing Sydney to 7/55 after 12 overs. Whilst the tail wagged in spectacular fashion, the Thunder were still bowled out for 141, with orthodox spinner Ashton Agar claiming 2/16 off four overs.

The Sydney Sixers were able to rebound from that result and overcome a raft of injuries to sneak past the Adelaide Strikers in Wednesday’s Challenger, keeping their hopes of a third-straight title alive in the most dramatic fashion.

After winning the toss and sending the Strikers into bat, an inspired spell from paceman Sean Abbott (3/27 off four overs) had Adelaide struggling at 3/21 in the fourth over, but recovered well to post a challenging 4/167.

Although they lost wickets at regular intervals, the Magenta Men never let the required rate get out of control, mainly thanks to an incredible 98 not out off 58 balls from makeshift opener Hayden Kerr. With help from Abbott – who belted 41 off 20 balls – they got within touching distance before Kerr took 12 from the final three balls to deliver a sensational victory.

Player in Spotlight: Mitch Marsh

After a breakout performance in the T20 World Cup, the much-maligned all-rounder has backed it up in the BBL. Marsh has walloped 342 runs at an average of 68.40 and strike-rate of 147.41, whilst also contributing valuable overs with the ball.

Marsh was named player of the match in the World Cup final, so he looms as the most dangerous factor within an imposing Scorchers’ line-up.

Player in Spotlight: Daniel Christian

The only fully-fit member of the Sixers’ first-choice top six is likely to have to bat a bit higher than usual, given all their injuries. His experience will also be called upon, having won countless titles around the globe in various T20 competitions.

Christian has had a mixed campaign with the bat, but on his day he can still take apart any attack and will need to make a significant contribution if he’s to claim yet another trophy.

KEY STATS

  • The Scorchers have lost only three out of 15 matches this season.
  • The Sixers have won four of their past five matches at Marvel Stadium.
  • The Scorchers have hit more sixes than their opponents in seven of their past ten matches.

VERDICT

It’s not often you see such a disparity in odds in any BBL match, let alone a final, however the prices are justified when you consider the form of the Scorchers and depleted nature of the Sixers’ squad.

But the reigning champions have proved that they can overcome almost any obstacle, so we think there’s more value around the favourites to clear the ropes more frequently.

BETTING STRATEGY

 BACK: Most Sixes – Perth Scorchers at $1.65+ for 2 units

This season marks the 11th edition of the Big Bash League and it shapes as a particularly influential tournament given that there is a T20 World Cup to be played in Australia in 10 months’ time.

This means that both domestic and international players will be looking to press their claims for higher honours. The Sydney Sixers will be hoping to become the first team in BBL history to win three straight titles, but they will face stiff competition from all angles, whilst contrasting fortunes await the two sides who have yet to lift the trophy.


SYDNEY SIXERS

The defending champions have retained a remarkably settled squad with the only material changes coming in their overseas allocation. English all-rounders Tom Curran and Chris Jordan are a clear upgrade on Carlos Brathwaite and Jake Ball, whom they have replaced.

The Magenta Men should also see much more of prolific wicket-taker Sean Abbott and captain Moises Henriques, who between them managed only nine matches last season. Josh Philippe and James Vince are key pillars at the top of the order, while the bowling attack contains plenty of depth and variety.

Although not the strongest looking team on paper, the Sixers have always been a side that is greater than the sum of all its parts, but their recent domination is well priced in so I’ll be leaving them alone for now.

Player to Watch: Tom Curran

  • Has an outstanding BBL record, averaging 19.61 with the ball and 24.46 with the bat.
  • However, since he last played for the Sixers his form with the ball has fallen away – in all T20 cricket has averaged 32.82 at an economy rate of 9.40.

PERTH SCORCHERS

Last season’s runners-up don’t look quite as imposing this time around, with English pair Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone not returning, while BBL10’s top wicket-taker Jhye Richardson is set to play little part due to his inclusion in the test squad.

They will also need a plan B with one of their overseas slots after English quick Brydon Carse was struck down with a knee injury, however that is somewhat offset by the restoration of all-rounder Ashton Agar.

The Scorchers still boast an immensely talented line-up with the likes of Colin Munro, Mitch Marsh, Josh Inglis and Ashton Turner furnishing a power-packed batting unit, while the attack features BBL heavyweights Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye – as well as awkward spinner Peter Hatzoglou, who made quite an impression last season at the Renegades.

Although they should certainly feature in the finals, their outright price is prohibitively short.

Player to Watch: Josh Inglis

  • After just 36 runs at a strike-rate of 94.74 in his first four matches as opener, the Scorchers moved Inglis to the middle-order last season, whereafter he averaged 37.70 at a strike-rate of 146.69.
  • However, he was shifted back to the top of the order by English side Leicestershire for the T20 Blast and finished as the tournament’s top runscorer, averaging 48.27 at a strike-rate of 175.82.

MELBOURNE STARS

The Stars possess three of most proven domestic T20 talents in Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa, however the real concern is what lies outside of that as they look to improve on last season’s disappointing seventh-placed finish.

There is little change to the bowling attack outside of the acquisition of energetic Afghan leggie Qais Ahmad, while there has been some shuffling of the decks in the middle-order, with Joe Burns and Beau Webster brought in – and Nic Maddinson departing.

Melbourne’s squad features a number of players who have shown glimpses of promise, but have been unable to deliver consistently in this format such as Burns, Hilton Cartwright and Billy Stanlake. While their premium trio should ensure that they are competitive throughout the tournament, I’m not convinced they’re in for any improvement on BBL10 and thus am happy to take them on.

Player to Watch: Joe Clarke

  • English recruit Joe Clarke arrives in impressive form, having smashed 408 runs at an average of 37.09 and strike-rate of 180.53 in the T20 Blast tournament.
  • However in T20 matches outside of England his record is more modest, averaging 19.50 at a strike-rate of 157.26.

HOBART HURRICANES

There is plenty to like about the Hurricanes as they strive for a maiden title – the biggest fillip being the increased availability of explosive ‘keeper-batsman Matthew Wade, who will form a deadly top three with Darcy Short and Ben McDermott. The career of middle-order journeyman Tim David has sky-rocketed, with English starlets Harry Brook and Jordan Thompson rounding out a commanding batting unit.

There aren’t as many big names in the bowling attack, however fringe Australian representatives Nathan Ellis, Riley Meredith and Scott Boland all bring something different to the table, while left-arm quick Joel Paris and Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane are both smart acquisitions.

Hobart have compiled a squad that have all the ingredients to take them to their first trophy and I’ll be backing them to claim the silverware.

Player to Watch: Matthew Wade

  • Since moving to the Hurricanes Wade has scored 1,299 runs at an average of 39.36 and strike-rate of 153.36.
  • Wade is much more effective opening the batting – across all T20 matches he averages 32.09 at a strike-rate of 149.48 opening whereas elsewhere in the order he averages 21.02 at a strike-rate of 119.42.

SYDNEY THUNDER

The Thunder will be looking to build on successive finals appearances, however they face a few hurdles in their conquest to push on further and claim a second crown.

The potential absence of captain Usman Khawaja due to international duty leaves a big hole that is compounded by the retirement of regular first drop Callum Ferguson. There are also question marks as to whether precocious leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha can replicate his stunning debut season.

Injuries to promising pair Oliver Davies and Brendan Doggett do not help either, leaving a lot of pressure on English triumvirate Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood – as well as key all-rounder Daniel Sams.

After finishing as the tournament’s top runscorer last year, Hales has certainly shown that he is capable of regular match-winning contributions, but I’m keen to wait and see the make-up of the Thunder side before taking a position on them.

Player to Watch: Daniel Sams

  • Had a breakout season for the Thunder last year averaging 23.72 with the ball at an economy rate of 8.51 and averaging 40.00 with the bat at a strike-rate of 188.67.
  • However, he is a volatile customer with an economy rate of 10 or higher in nine of the past 17 T20 matches he has bowled in, while he has been dismissed for single figures in 50% of his T20 innings across his entire career.

BRISBANE HEAT

After a slow start the Heat were within one win of featuring in the BBL10 showpiece, but a charmed run at the back end of the season shouldn’t overshadow their fallibilities.

As always Brisbane will lean heavily on talisman Chris Lynn for runs, though they will be hoping that English recruits Ben Duckett and Tom Abell can lend a hand (with Marnus Labuschagne tied up with test duty), while youngsters Max Bryant and Sam Heazlett have so far proved unreliable at this level.

Their bowling attack has been hampered by representative commitments with Mitch Swepson, Michael Neser and Mark Steketee all set to miss varying time-lengths, which shifts the focus to miserly Afghan tweaker Mujeeb Ur Rahman as well as a host of inexperienced quicks.

While their best XI is reasonably strong, I don’t believe the Queenslanders have the requisite quality outside of that to be firmly in the frame for the title.

Player to Watch: Mujeeb Ur Rahman

  • Has a wonderful record for the Heat with 29 wickets at an average of 21.24 and superb economy rate of 6.13.
  • The Heat have won only three of their past 12 matches when batting first at the Gabba, but over his career in the second innings Mujeeb averages 21.08 at an economy rate of 6.39.

ADELAIDE STRIKERS

The Strikers bowling attack stacks up well against the rest of the competition, but a worrying lack of batting could make it a very arduous campaign.

Afghan superstar Rashid Khan returns for Adelaide and is complemented by fellow leggie Fawad Ahmad, while the fast-bowling contingent of Peter Siddle, Wes Agar and Daniel Worrall is boosted by the addition of English all-rounder George Garton.

However the Strikers could be without celebrated left-handers Travis Head and Alex Carey for the entire season, leaving the capricious Jake Weatherald to hold together a batting order which already features a very modest middle-order. Unless their bowlers can regularly produce superhuman performances, things could get really ugly for Adelaide in BBL11.

Player to Watch: Jake Weatherald

  • Weatherald is the highest run-scorer in Strikers history with 1,668 runs at an average of 28.27 and strike-rate of 132.48.
  • Last season was the highest he has ever averaged in a season (36.08), however he has never averaged over 30 in successive BBL campaigns.

MELBOURNE RENEGADES

The Renegades will be desperate to avoid a third consecutive wooden spoon after recording just seven wins over the past two seasons.

On a positive note, their bowling attack has plenty of quality with Australian representatives Kane Richardson and James Pattinson joined by English left-arm quick Reece Topley and Afghan spinners Mohammad Nabi and Zahir Khan.

They will also have Aaron Finch for the entire campaign, however the procurement of Indian batsman Unmukt Chand is a curious one – and with Shaun Marsh missing up to six games through injury, the onus will fall on new skipper Nic Maddinson as well as a collection of unproven youngsters to support Finch with the bat.

I do really like the look of the Renegades in the field, however a lack of established run-scorers is enough to put me off the big odds available on the BBL08 champions.

Player to Watch: Cameron Boyce

  • After playing every game for the Renegades in his first two seasons there, Boyce missed the entire BBL10 due to illness.
  • His absence was keenly felt – over his time at the Renegades he has taken 30 wickets at an average of 26.10 and tidy economy rate of 6.91.

TOP TOURNAMENT RUNSCORER

Opening batsmen have had a mortgage on his market, with Chris Lynn the only non-opener to finish top of the charts in the past eight seasons, so we’ll look no further than those who face the new ball.

Former winners such as Alex Hales, Marcus Stoinis and Darcy Short haven’t been missed by the market, but Short’s opening partner Matthew Wade is one with an attractive price, given that he averages a whopping 43.22 opening for the Hurricanes and is likely to be available for the entire season, so the abrasive ‘keeper-batsman is the one we’ll be backing.

BACK: Matthew Wade at $10.0+ for 0.5 units


TOP TOURNAMENT WICKET TAKER

When looking for the top tournament wicket taker look no further than pace bowlers. (Rashid Khan is the only spinner in BBL history to finish with the most scalps.)

The likes of Sean Abbott, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Daniel Sams all have their claims, but I’m again headed to the Apple Isle for some value, where I think specialist death bowler Nathan Ellis, off the back of 20 poles in his first season, can get the job done at juicy odds.

BACK: Nathan Ellis at $17.0+ for 0.5 units


SEASON VERDICT

The Sixers and Scorchers may have established themselves as the teams to beat, but with a well-balanced squad littered with match-winners I believe it’s the Hurricanes’ time to claim their maiden title – with Matthew Wade and Nathan Ellis at the forefront of their success. Elsewhere, look for the Stars to struggle to meet expectations, while I also anticipate a difficult season for the Strikers.

BACK: Hobart Hurricanes – Winner 2021/22 at $6.4+ for 1 unit

LAY: Melbourne Stars – Winner 2021/22 at < $7.0 for 2 units

BACK: Adelaide Strikers – To Finish Last at $5.5+ for 1 unit


What's On the Betfair Hub

THE ASHES: FIFTH TEST PREVIEW

Welcome to the Ashes Hub! Get expert tips and analysis for the 2021-22 Ashes series between Australia and England.

TODAY’S BEST BETS: RACING & SPORTS

We've picked out the best bets across today's racing and sport from our expert team of Analysts. Read them ...

Betfair Live: A New Market Watching Tool

This analytical tool, exclusive to Australian and New Zealand customers, visualises the dynamic nature of Betfair markets. It will ...