The reigning champions of BBL07 will fly interstate to the Gabba where they’ll come up against a fired up Brisbane Heat outfit in what is expected to be a perfect summers evening. Fireworks are expected in the tournament opener with some of the biggest names in twenty20 cricket featuring in tomorrow night’s game.
Taking over the captaincy in BBL08 for the Heat, let’s hope Chris Lynn’s tactical mindset in the field isn’t the only thing on show. A batting dynamo in this particular format of the game, Chris Lynn is a perfect example of the modern day batsman, power-hitting and precise hand-eye coordination making him one of the most damaging individuals in the BBL. Unfortunately, both he and the Brisbane Heat didn’t reach any great heights last season finishing seventh in the competition. A handful of the Heat’s big name players performed well below their lofty-standards, one of them being former Black Caps captain & wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum. ‘Baz’ averaged just 24.80 in his 10 matches for the Heat in 2017-18, but it looks as if Brisbane strongly believe McCullum still has plenty to offer in this side. It’s always a fascinating battle when arguably the best leg-spinner in T20 cricket fights fire with fire against the likes of McCullum and Lynn, but the Heat must be wary of what Rashid Khan is capable of.
Both those batsmen aren’t the best players of spin bowling, and that’s where the Adelaide Strikers will target them when the time cones. Lynn and McCullum are both destructive against pace bowling, they’ll use the speed to the best of their advantage on this hard-Gabba surface. Max Bryant could be a potential bolster at the top of the order for the Heat in BBL08, while Joe Burns is expected to go about his business in Brisbane’s middle order again. There’s been a lot of excitement around the signing of Afghani off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, he’ll face off against Afghanistan teammate Rashid Khan in an eagerly-anticipated spin-off. The Heat’s bowling has probably been their downfall in the past, and it’ll be tested once again with a fast bowling unit that tends to struggle with consistency. The addition of James Pattinson could be just what Brisbane needed to address those issues, and just maybe take them to a finals birth this season.
The Adelaide Strikers had a dream-campaign in BBL07, their top order fired on all cylinders and they had arguably the best bowling attack of the tournament. The deceptively-clever Rashid Khan headlined the Strikers attack as he went on to claim 18 wickets, the equal-most in BBL07 alongside Renegades all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Mr. Variations-Ben Laughlin was once again outstanding, he was a game changer on numerous occasions bagging 16 wickets for the Strikers last season. If that wasn’t already enough to elevate Adelaide above the rest, the remainder of their fast bowling cartel featuring Michael Neser, Billy Stanlake and Peter Siddle well & truly elevated the Strikers status to ‘untouchable’ in BBL 07. A combined 56-wickets between the five bowlers was nothing short of brilliant, now they face the task of backing it up in 2018-19.
The loss of skipper Travis Head is a significant one, but they’ve still got some pretty handy contingents with the bat. Both Jake Weatherald and Alex Carey scored centuries in BBL07, proving they’re two very capable ball strikers at the top of the order for Adelaide. Yet to have a breakout season with the Strikers, Jake Lehmann must show some improvement if this team is a chance to achieve back-to-back BBL titles. All-rounder Cameron Valente is a big chance to feature in this first match up at the Gabba, he has plenty to offer with both bat & ball and is also very handy in the field. Newly-appointed skipper Colin Ingram will be looking to lead from the front, the big-hitting South African averaged 30.77 in BBL07 and will undoubtedly be looking to improve on those efforts in 2018-19. This result could honestly go either way it’s that close, the “Bash Brothers” against the Strikers skillful bowling unit could be a decisive period in the game.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Brisbane Heat | BBL | 1st match | Brisbane
- Chris Lynn
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman
- Joe Burns
- Brendon McCullum
- Ben Cutting
Wildcard pick – Mitchell Swepson
Top 5 fantasy picks | Adelaide Strikers | BBL | 1st match | Brisbane
- Rashid Khan
- Alex Carey
- Colin Ingram
- Billy Stanlake
- Ben Laughlin
Wildcard pick – Michael Neser
Brisbane Heat (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn © 2. Max Bryant 3. Brendon McCullum 4. Joe Burns 5. Sam Heazlett 6. Ben Cutting 7. Jimmy Peirson (wk) 8. James Pattinson 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Mark Steketee/Josh Lalor 11. Mitchell Swepson.
Adelaide Strikers (possible) – 1. Alex Carey (wk) 2. Jake Weatherald 3. Colin Ingram © 4. Jono Wells 5. Jake Lehmann 6. Matthew Short/Cameron Valente 7. Michael Neser 8. Rashid Khan 9. Peter Siddle 10. Ben Laughlin 11. Billy Stanlake.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.