2016/17 Big Bash Preview: Sydney Thunder

Squad: Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Patrick Cummins, Jake Doran, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Chris Hartley, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alister McDermott, Clint McKay, Eoin Morgan, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu

They won their first Big Bash title last season and now the Sydney Thunder will want to go back-to-back this season.

It won’t be easy as other teams have bolstered their squads to make sure they don’t win a second consecutive title but the Thunder’s squad is still strong enough to make it two in a row.

Key Players – Australians

Shane Watson The captain will be looking to guide his team to a second consecutive title. He has been a brilliant Twenty20 player for the past 10 years with impact with the bat and ball. Watson has made 3 centuries in 200 innings with an average of 30.11 and a strike rate of 139.69. A strong hitter of the ball that can hit the ball a long way. He is also great with his medium pace bowling. His bowling is great for T20 as he is an economical bowler and can take wickets with 172 wickets so far in his career. He now has retired from international cricket but that has not stopped him from performing at his best for the Big Bash. A big season looms for Watson as he will want to make plenty of runs and take many wickets.

 Fawad Ahmed- Ahmed will lead the Thunder spinning contingent this season. He has not played many Twenty20 matches with only 21 matches to his belt but has taken 14 wickets including best figures of 3/25. May have not played much T20 but has bowled well in first-class cricket that has seen him been considered for test cricket for Australia in numerous occasions. The leg-spinner can turn the ball both ways and have a few variations that could trouble the batsmen this season. If he does play the majority of the games, Ahmed will create havoc with his spin which will help the Thunder claim vital wickets during the season.

Imports

Andre Russell (West Indies) – The West Indian power hitter is back for another season. He set the Big Bash on fire last season with his massive sixes and will be looking to do that once more. He is a dangerous batsman to bowl at as he can hit sixes in many areas of the ground. Even if you try other variations as a bowler, he will find a way to make runs from it. He has a Twenty20 century to his name and with a strike rate of 166, he is exciting to watch. His bowling is fast and has claimed 206 wickets so far which shows his ability with the ball. He is also a great fielder that has taken some great catches in his time and created run-outs. Russell is one of the players in this Big Bash that the neutral are looking forward to see him play and produce his best cricket.

Eoin Morgan (England) – The England ODI captain will be keen to make an impact early for the Thunder before he leaves for a ODI series against India in January. He is known to be a finisher with his quick run scoring valuable for any team he plays for. He averages 26.84 with a strike rate of 128.66 in 187 innings which is solid for a middle order batsman. The left-hander is a powerful hitter that likes hitting on the leg-side and when he gets his eye in, he is difficult to stop. Morgan is likely to only play a few games this season but he can still make an impact with the bat and help his side to victories.

Youngster

Jake Doran – The young Tasmania is beginning his career, playing regular first class cricket. The wicket-keeper has made a few first class fifties since his debut last year so he can make runs as a batsman. He has played a couple of Big Bash matches last season as well for the Sydney Sixers but has now moved to the Thunder. He will get his chance to play this season and should be able to cement a spot in the team if he performs well with gloves and the bat.

Prediction

With their squad this season, they should be fighting for another title. They may not have Khawaja for most for the season but they have Morgan, Watson, Russell and Rohrer that can get the majority of the runs. Meanwhile their bowling lineup is not different to last season which is good for their title defence. Expect them to be in title contentions again and if they can perform in finals then there is not reason why they can’t go back-to-back.

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