Sixers players commiserate after bowing out in a thriller to the Melbourne Renegades. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP
Sixers players commiserate after bowing out in a thriller to the Melbourne Renegades. Picture: Julian Smith/AAP

SuperCoach BBL|08 Review: Sydney Sixers

IT WAS only their capitulation to the Melbourne Stars in the final round of the regular season caused the Sydney Sixers to miss out on hosting a home final.

They needed to score 20 or so more runs than they were capable of achieving in that game and they would have been at home against the Melbourne Renegades, as opposed to having to face them at Marvel Stadium.

As it stands, the Sixers proved to be one of the surprise packets of the BBL|08 season - they didn't have the big-name English imports when compared to their city rivals, with the Thunder opting for a short-term taste of Jos Buttler and Joe Root.

Instead, the Sixers had that pair's English compatriot Tom Curran in their ranks, and he proved to be one of the players of the tournament.

Sadly, he was called up to the English short-form squad at the conclusion of the season, robbing the Sixers of their best player at the business end of the tournament.

Worse still, they were unable to draft in an overseas import at that late stage of the Big Bash year, leaving them looking short of a game-breaker with both ball and bat.

Tom Curran was outstanding for the Sixers in BBL|08. Picture: Steve Christo/AAP
Tom Curran was outstanding for the Sixers in BBL|08. Picture: Steve Christo/AAP

Top 5 players

  1. Tom Curran - BWL - 73.0 average points per game
  2. Sean Abbott - BWL - 67.9
  3. Steve O'Keefe - BWL - 62.5
  4. James Vince - BAT - 48.5
  5. Ben Dwarshuis - BAT / BWL - 47.3

Kane Richardson from the Melbourne Renegades summed it up perfectly in the wake of their inaugural championship - while batsman sell memberships, bowlers win premierships.

The Sixers were lead by their bowlers in BBL|08. But, interestingly, it was predominantly the quicks that dominated for them, while nearly every other team relied upon their tweakers.

Claiming 20 wickets at an average of 19.85 runs, Tom Curran finished the BBL in the top-five wicket-takers. His ability to strike at any time in the innings and particularly his slow ball bowling at the death made him the perfect Big Bash performer.

Sean Abbott claimed two more wickets than Curran, with 22 at 20.13 runs per wicket, an Economy Rate of 8.17 and, like Curran, was equally adept bowling at any stage of the innings. His Economy Rate may have left a bit to be desired, but his ability to take wickets every time he was at the crease made him a reliable workhorse.

On a side devoid of big hitters, English import James Vince was an excellent contributor with the bat alongside the young gun Josh Philippe, who looked to be one of the most promise wicketkeeping big hitters in the game, averaging 42.7 SuperCoach points per game to finish just outside the Sixers' top five ranked players for the season.

Jack Edwards of the Sixers has the best hair in the game, alongside his brother Mickey, but sadly he is not Samson.
Jack Edwards of the Sixers has the best hair in the game, alongside his brother Mickey, but sadly he is not Samson.

Top 5 disappointments

  1. Jack Edwards - BAT / BWL - 15.1 average points per game
  2. Lloyd Pope - BWL - 21.2
  3. Jordan Silk - BAT - 30.0
  4. Moises Henriques - BAT / BWL - 35.3
  5. Daniel Hughes - BAT - 40.1

Big things were expected of Jack Edwards and Lloyd Pope, two of the most exciting youngsters in the Australian cricketing environment. Edwards can bat anywhere in the top order, but with a top score of 17 runs from seven appearances at the crease, at times he looked more like his brother Mickey, who is a bowler first and foremost.

Pope, on the other hand, should have been one of the biggest bargain buys in the tournament. With spinners coming to the fore in BBL|08, the man dubbed "Pennywise" seemed certain to strike fear into the batsmen facing him.

Instead, many licked their lips when they saw him approaching, carting him for a 7.82 Economy Rate across his 132 balls bowled, with Pope able to take only four wickets from seven games played.

As the leader of the side, Moises Henriques got a lot right when it came to leading his troops.

Perhaps the extra responsibility affected his game, with Henriques not really able to have an impact with bat or ball.  He made two 50s from 13 appearances at the crease and claimed a solitary wicket from 30 balls bowled.

Sixers' Moises Henriques couldn’t quite get going with the bat in BBL|08. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Sixers' Moises Henriques couldn’t quite get going with the bat in BBL|08. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Top 5 individual performances

  1. Tom Curran - Round 2 - 203 points vs Sydney Thunder
  2. Josh Phillippe - Round 10 - 138 points vs Hobart Hurricanes
  3. Tom Curran - Round 9 - 131 points vs Brisbane Heat
  4. Ben Dwarshuis - Round 11 - 127 points vs Adelaide Strikers
  5. Sean Abbott - Round 9 - 120 points vs Brisbane Heat

Looking ahead to BBL|09 Tom Curran is every chance of being unavailable despite having signed to return to the Sixers again next season, with the English side set to tour South Africa for Test, ODI, and T20I matches. If he is available, it's likely to be only for the first part of the tournament.

Getting a taste of Big Bash action after Curran headed to the Windies to hook up with his English teammates, Mickey Edwards didn't look at all overawed despite debuting in a cut-throat semi-final.

If the Sixers are to go at least one game further in BBL|09, the Edwards brothers will be a huge part of that equation. And Lloyd Pope should emerge as a vital partner for experienced spinner Steve O'Keefe.

If there's something that the Sixers could clearly benefit from it would be some more big hitters at the top of the order. Josh Philippe looks super promising, but the Sixers need another player who can really strike it hard and hit it long to lead off their innings.

Is it time for Chris Gayle to return to the Big Bash scene, having announced his retirement from all ODI action?

News Corp Australia

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