Cricket

Perth Scorchers BBL|07 Preview

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The Perth Scorchers are the most successful franchise in the history of the Big Bash League, having won the competition three times from its six seasons. They’ve never missed the finals and only on one occasion have they missed the Grand Final, an astonishing record given the number of Australian representatives they tend to have missing from their team. Perth will be stretched like never before this season, although it mightn’t make much of a difference.

       Projected XI

  1.  Michael Klinger
  2.  David Willey
  3.  Hilton Cartwright
  4.  Mitch Marsh (c)
  5.  Ashton Turner
  6.  Josh Inglis (wk)
  7.  Ashton Agar
  8.  Jhye Richardson
  9.  Andrew Tye
  10.  Mitch Johnson
  11.  Jason Behrendorff**/Joel Paris

 Rest of Squad: Cameron Bancroft*, Adam Voges, Sam Whiteman**, Cameron Green,  Nathan Coulter-Nile**, Shaun Marsh*

*on international duty

**injured at time of writing

The Imports

David Willey

The Scorchers are once again going with David Willey as their international player, after a great campaign last season. The 27-year-old won’t be available when England picks him for ODIs and T20Is later in the tournament, so the Scorchers will be keen to get as many positive results as possible with him in the team. With an apparent vacancy at the top of the order due to Cam Bancroft, Shaun Marsh and Sam Whiteman all being unavailable, Willey is the obvious choice to open the batting. He has opened 38 times in T20 cricket, averaging 27 with a strike rate of 150, which will complement his bowling nicely. Fantastic selection by the Scorchers.

Strengths

Bowling options

No team has as many bowling options as the Scorchers. Keep in mind that Nathan Coulter-Nile is injured and Joel Paris will fight with Ashton Agar and Jhye Richardson for a spot in the team despite being a great T20 bowler, the Scorchers have a potentially astonishing nine bowling options in their best XI. Given how nicely the WACA pitch suits their bowlers, Perth’s depth in this regard is an intelligently put together plan by Justin Langer.

Flexibility

There is plenty of flexibility in the Perth squad, with most players able to bat in a variety of positions and bowl in different situations. Given T20 is such a fast-paced game, this is such an advantage to have as it allows for greater adaptability depending on how Perth is going. It’s a clear strength and point of difference for the Scorchers.

Weaknesses

Batting line-up

Without Shaun Marsh in the team, the batting line-up looks a little weaker. While the likes of Willey, Turner, Mitch Marsh and Agar have proven themselves to be more than capable, all can be inconsistent. Adam Voges only faced 32 deliveries last season in his seven matches, which could be a sign that he’ll only play when necessary, meaning Michael Klinger is the only veteran in the top order. Given players will be missing due to international duty, it’s important Perth’s top five all play consistent cricket.

Team’s chances

Even with a heap of best XI players unavailable, this looks like a great team that will be there at the pointy end. Mitch Marsh is an extremely good T20 batsman when in form, so expect him to be up there in the total runs count for the competition. Expect Ashton Turner and Hilton Cartwright to impress batting in prominent positions for the Scorchers. Joel Paris’ omission from the best XI is due to the team already having three left-arm quicks, although he’s good enough to justify his selection. With such depth, Perth will still make the Grand Final.

Prediction: 2nd

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