It was a season to remember for the Adelaide Strikers as they swept all before them on the way to a maiden BBL Title win in front of a full house at the Adelaide Oval. Having retained the bulk of their title winning team they will be hard to beat once again in BBL08.
Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Michael Cormack, David Grant, Travis Head, Colin Ingram, Rasid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Matthew Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Nick Winter.
Ins & Outs:
In: Matthew Short, Cameron Valente. Out: Jono Dean, Daniel Drew.
1. Rashid Khan will set a new season wicket taking record.
One of the stars of the 2017-18 Big Bash, expect the Afghani leg-spinner to have an even bigger impact this year with the extended tournament format. He bamboozled the competition last year ending with the remarkable economy rate of 5. 65.
2. Jake Lehman to be BBL08’s leading run-scorer.
With two of BBL07’s highest run-scorers ahead of him last season, Lehman was at times starved of opportunity but, with Travis Head and Alex Carey to be absent at times on international duty, this will not be the case this time around. Expect the big hitting middle order batsman to thrive in these conditions and lead all scorers or go close this season.
3. Peter Siddle will force his way into the Australian T20 team.
Australian selectors have favoured extreme pace in recent times when selecting their T20 sides but if Peter Siddle has another BBL like last season he may well find himself causing a change to this thinking for the two T20I series in India in March. After transferring to the Strikers from the Renegades for BBL08 Siddle turned back the clock in an exceptional campaign. Top 10 for wickets and top five for economy rates, Australian Cricket’s favourite vegan was a major reason for the Strikers title winning charge.
4. The House Full Sign will come out a few times.
The Strikers have one of the most devoted supported bases in the Big Bash which means they have become accustomed to playing in front of some big crowds in recent times. With their team the defending champs, expect to see the Strikers fans come out in large numbers in BBL08. While not hosting their regular New Years Eve match, their Final Rematch with the Hurricanes on January 21st looms as one of many games that may prompt house full signs to be erected outside Adelaide Oval.
5. The Strikers will concede less runs per over than any team.
We’ve already touched on the remarkable economy rates of Rashid Khan and Peter Siddle but there is far more to the Strikers bowling attack than these two. In Billy Stanlake and Ben Loughlin they have a further two bowlers who can cause havoc for Travis Head or Colin Ingram, depending on who has the little c next to their name. With this level of depth and variety it is hard to imagine a team posting a big score against the Strikers.
Strikers 2018-19 Fixture.
Dec 19 v Heat at The Gabba | Jan 13 v Thunder at Spotless Stadium
Dec 23 v Renegades at Adelaide Oval | Jan 21 v Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval
Dec 26 v Scorchers at Optus Stadium | Jan 23 v Stars at TBC
Dec 31 v Thunder at Adelaide Oval | Jan 29 v Sixers at SCG
Jan 3 v Renegades at TBC | Jan 31 v Hurricances at UTAS Stadium
Jan 6 v Sixers at Adelaide Oval | Feb 3 v Heat at Adelaide Oval
Jan 11 v Stars at Adelaide Oval | Feb 9 v Scorchers at Traeger Oval
They have to wait nine games before they square off against their Final opponent the Hobart Hurricanes but it is anything but a soft start to their title defence with a trip to Brisbane to face Chris Lynn and the Heat before they last season’s Semi Finalists the Renegades and Scorchers. Their return clash with the Hurricanes is just 10 days after the first before they round out the regular season at home against the Heat and their annual visit to the red centre to face the Scorchers.
While their success will see their depth stretched at times this season by international commitments it is hard to see the Strikers falling too far off the pace. With an enviable bowling attack they will be in most games and should be there or thereabouts at the business end of the season.
Expect to see the Strikers come Semi Final time, with them likely to finish 1st – 4th.