Round 8, the last round before the semi-finals of the BBL 6th edition is here and it features all eight teams. The top of the table is still congested and undecided, the Brisbane Heat with their win over the Stars in the end of Round 7 are the first team to qualify to the semi-finals of BBL-6, while in the other of the table the Strikers are the first team to be shown the door. It’s going to be a close tournament till the end of this Round 8 with close to six teams would be vying for three spots in the final round.
Daniel Hughes| Sydney Sixers
The only player from the Sydney Sixers to score over 200 runs in BBL06 finds a spot in Cricket-21’s Fantasy XI for the final round. The Sixers would need a good start at the top if they would hope to beat the Stars and secure a place in the top four. Hughes, with two fifties in this BBL already and two 30+ scores in his last three games, is in a perfect position to give the start his team requires.
Ben Dunk | Adelaide Strikers (WKT)
The Strikers are the bottom of the table despite Ben Dunk’s great form this season. Apart from one duck against the Scorchers, he has 30+ scores in all of the games he has played. Another run would take him to 300 runs this season, another couple of hits from there on and he would leapfrog Chris Lynn the current .
Ben McDermott | Hobart Hurricanes
The 22-year-old played only two games for Hurricanes this season, but one of them was arguably one of the best innings in Big Bash history, a 52-ball 114. The Hurricanes are at seventh at the end of round 7, they would need every bit of brilliance from their team to progress to the next stage, Cricket-21 expects it to come from McDermott.
Kevin Pieterson | Melbourne Stars (C)
The highest scorer for the Melbourne Stars lost out in his last game scoring a duck against table-toppers Brisbane Heat. But he could stage a comeback considering that he has scored three consecutive 30+ scores before the game against the Heats.
Carlos Brathwaite | Sydney Thunder
Brathwaite, Russell’s replacement in the Thunder’s camp, is skilled with both the bat and ball. He showed prowess with the ball picking 2/31 and 3/21 in the two matches that he played. Thunder are precariously placed with six points, tied with three other teams, they would need to beat last-place Strikers by a big margin to secure a better net run-rate. One could expect Brathwaite to be pushed up the order if needed.
Tom Cooper | Melbourne Renegades
Tom Cooper is an upgrade from Johan Botha, the former showing his extraordinary big-hitting ability in the high-scoring loss game against the Hurricanes. The last game was the first time this season he has bowled four overs, and he rewarded his captain’s confidence by picking two wickets. Maybe that trend would continue?
Sunil Narine | Melbourne Renegades
The Renegades’ mystery spinner went for runs in his last game against the Strikers, but ended up on the winning side. He has still picked six wickets in his last three and has gone wicket-less only once this BBL, making him an obvious choice in XI.
Sean Abbott | Sydney Sixers
With 15 wickets, Sean Abbott has created a big lead at the top of the wicket-takers list. Averaging 14.6 this BBL, the pacer has one five-wicket haul. The Sixers would be hoping that Abbott continues his good form till the end of the season.
Ben Laughlin | Adelaide Strikers
The Strikers might be languishing at the bottom of the table, but they would look to end their poor season with a win, taking the Hurricanes out too in the process. Ben Laughlin for the Strikers has been in good form picking ,picking seven in his last three games and filling in well for Chris Jordan. A couple more wickets and he could make huge leaps up the wicket-takers chart where he is currently placed sixth.
Mitchell Swepson | Brisbane Heat
The leg-spinner who was recently selected to the tour to India has four consecutive two-wicket hauls leaving him just four wickets short of Abbott at the top of the wicket-takers list. His two wickets against the Sixers in the last game helped the Heats ease into the finals. Batsman are certainly struggling to score off him, he has yet to concede a boundary in two games.
Andrew Tye | Perth Scorchers
The Stars got a surprise when Tye went on to score a quick 42, it was first innings with the bat this BBL and he made full use of it. Tye though went wicket-less in that game, but the game before that against Heats his 4/22, which included the second hat-trick of the BBL, was enough to seal a win. Maybe the next game would be the game he could contribute with both bat and ball.