The seemingly never-ending circus that is the Big Bash regular season is finally drawing to a close, with the last round featuring four games and a big week for the Melbourne Stars, who need just the one win from a couple of tricky matches to ensure they make it through to the final four. The door is ajar for the Heat and Thunder to sneak their way in here. A win for the Heat on Friday night will throw the door wide open and make for some cracking games to round out the season. The expected returns of Test players Khawaja, Cummins and Patterson to the Thunder lineup will also provide a massive boost in their final game against the top-of-the-table Hurricanes in Canberra.
Friday: Heat v Stars @ Gabba
Saturday: Strikers v Scorchers @ Adelaide Oval
Saturday: Thunder v Hurricanes @ Manuka Oval
Sunday: Stars v Sixers @ MCG
It’s all the Melbourne Stars this week, closing out the year with a couple of juicy games against the Heat and Sixers. They have plenty of SuperCoach-relevant players in their lineup and a handful of high-priced guns, meaning teams will be looking in the glovebox and under the couch cushions for every last cent they can find to bring them in.
Even with the returns of Khawaja, Cummins and Patterson for the Thunder, it simply has to be all the Stars, with all trades reverting to unlimited from next week when finals start. It means that SuperCoaches can clear out the dead wood from their sides (and if you’re like me, there’s plenty of it) next round and sell them for bargain-priced nuffs who aren’t playing finals to fill their unused reserve spots, so cash suddenly becomes less of an issue. As such, take this opportunity in the final round to throw the kitchen sink at your H2H opponent or to make some ground overall.
- Marcus Stoinis (BAT/BWL – $346,500) – Even with a poor showing with the ball last week, Stoinis remains top of the ‘must-have’ list this week, with his all-round capabilities meaning he essentially has 4 chances at racking up a huge score this round. He’s already owned by 20,000 SuperCoaches, and any serious player still in the game will simply have to find room for this big-scoring behemoth.
- Dwayne Bravo (BAT/BWL – $179,100) – DJ has had limited chances with the bat this season. His bowling, on the other hand, has been terrific, leading the wicket-taking records at the Stars with 14 (tied with Stoinis). He’s had a few blistering games on his way to a steady average of 60 during the year, and has gone under 45 points just three times. At the high end of the price scale but points on offer from his death bowling lifts him above the likes of Maxwell for mine.
- Sandeep Lamichhane (BWL – $150,200) – Lamichhane was the surprise packet of the early rounds of the BBL, with the Nepalese spinner proving a big hit in Melbourne on his way to taking 8 wickets from his 4 games so far at a 72PPG average. He returns to the Stars this week after a month-long stint in the Bangladesh Premier League and some time with the Nepal international lineup. In his time away, he registered a quiet 2 wickets from 4 BPL games and 12 wickets in 6 games for Nepal. With everyone’s focus on the usual suspects Stoinis, Bravo and Maxwell, he has the potential to sneak under the radar of a few SuperCoaches, especially with a tricky price of $150k. He has some huge upside, though – they simply couldn’t pick him at the start of the year and being out of sight for the last month, expect much of the same from the Heat and Sixers batsmen this week.
- Ben Dunk (WKP/BAT – $116,100) – Dunky has had another quiet year but he’s been a massive improvement on his 17/18 season, where he averaged just the 12 runs. His 127-point game against the Strikers in Round 10 showed exactly what he’s capable of. He looks a handy option for your wicketkeeper spot this round, with the valuable spot opening the batting meaning he’s less likely to be affected by any rain delays. Any time you can nab an opening bat for around the $100k mark for a DGW, you should probably take it.
- Jackson Bird (BWL – $109,100) – I’ve been spruiking Bird for the last month and, outside of being economical, hasn’t gotten the breakthroughs needed to rack up many big scores (he has a 75 and a 92 since his first game in Round 7 but has mixed in some 40s and 15s at the same time). Part of this is because he tends to bowl the majority of his overs in the Power Play, and doesn’t get the same opportunities as, say, Bravo or Stoinis to knock over some sloggers at the death. That said, he’s reliable, and again with the threat of rain about over the weekend’s games, the earlier a batsman/bowler can get into the game, the better. Handily priced so you can afford to go large elsewhere.
Lastly, they’ll be popular buys this week because of their names and pedigree in this game, but I’m probably not likely to bring them into my own side:
- Glenn Maxwell (BAT/BWL – $154,900) – Maxi returned to form last week with a big innings against the Scorchers, notching 112 points, but his lack of bowling time this year has definitely hurt his average at just 56 for the year. Batting at #4 means he can be somewhat of a risky option, behind Dunk, Stoinis and Handscomb who can chew up plenty of time at the crease. There’ll be plenty eyeing him off this week, but there may be more value in the Stars bowlers this round.
- Peter Handscomb (BAT – $105,700) – Handscomb has been solid, but unspectacular since he returned to the BBL mid-way through the year. He plays high up in the batting order at #3 so has been getting his chances, but has failed to convert these to any meaningful scores in his time at the crease. One big tick for him is that this lack of form has pegged him back to a price of just over $105k, meaning that without some high-priced guns in your side to trade out this week, you’re likely to need to bring him in.
It seems a given here, but any Renegades still floating in your lineup would have to make way here with the bye round this week and unlimited trades the next, meaning the likes of popular ‘Gades Kane Richardson (BWL – $231,900), Cameron Boyce (BWL – $186,100) and Dan Christian (BAT/BWL – $197,500) providing a welcome bankroll for SuperCoaches.
Outside of the Renegades, the following players are also unlikely to suit up for their respective lineups due to injury, and are tradeout targets this round:
- Shaun Marsh – injured
- Mujeeb Uhr Rahman – headed back home for family reasons
- Sam Heazlett – dropped for Brendan Doggett
- Colin Ingram – heading back home
- Liam Plunkett – replaced by Lamichhane in the Stars’ lineup
Team lists for the Saturday games (Strikers, Scorchers, Thunder and Hurricanes) should go up Friday afternoon so keep an eye out for any late-outs before pulling the trigger on trades this week.
It’s almost Captain Obvious here, but Marcus Stoinis will be highlighted orange in 99% of all SuperCoach teams this week. And for good reason, with 5 scores above 100 (from 9 matches) this year meaning he’s a huge chance to do the same here. Who could forget his 752 points for those that captained him in Round 10’s? Last week’s return of 67 was almost entirely from the bat, and ended a 5-game run of 100+ scores where he was the Stars’ highest scorer in each match. Just about as safe a bet as you can make.
For anyone scrambling to make the H2H finals here and needing some sort of Hail Mary POD play, or if for some reason you don’t have Stoinis, there are a few handy options around that could also score big. Fellow all-rounder Dwayne Bravo might be up there if he gets more than a few overs with bat in hand, and is probably the next best bet. Sandeep Lamichhane is another who could grab a brace in both games and will likely have the lowest ownership out of the Stars guns’ listed above in the ‘Buys’.
For an ultra-POD move, Ben Dunk will open the batting and so gets a strong chance to make some early runs and pick up a few catches in the field. With the threat of rain around this time of year, especially in Brisbane, it could be risky relying on batsmen lower down the order for runs given the BBL eat into overs at will after any delay for rain. Then again, it’s also risky to put a guy who has scored more than 100 SC points just the once in two seasons above Marcus Stoinis, but you’re obviously desperate enough if you’ve kept reading, so why not?