BBL preview - Sydney Thunder

  • Brendan Doggett - Injured, with an unknown return date but ‘will miss the start of the tournament’. Arjun Nair has been signed as a replacement player.
  • Ollie Davies - Suffered an injury playing Grade cricket, likely to miss the first few games, should be back around Christmas time.
  • Saqib Mahmood - In the England lions squad, so will be miss the first three games.
  • Usman Khawaja - Named in the Ashes squad, missing until Christmas, likely to be longer.
  • Boundary hitting - They were the best boundary hitting side last season. Hales, Cutting and Sams were all well above the tournament average for boundary percentage and Billings & Khawaja both had decent seasons, hitting 16.5% & 18.5% respectively. With four of these five available for the entire season, I expect Thunder to be up there with the best when it comes to boundary hitting again.
  • Utilised power surge well - Sort of linked to the point above but Syndey Thunder were comfortably the best when it came to the power surge last season. Scoring at 12.74 rpo, which was 0.6 higher than the next best and they also managed to hit 36% of their deliveries in this phase for boundaries. Whether they use it with a set Hales/Billings at the crease or later on with Cutting/Sams, they look well set to exploit it.
  • Pace bowling - In the first few matches, their pace bowling does look weak, there’s no escaping that. Even when Mahmood is available, it still looks like a pace bowling attack that could concede quite a lot of boundaries.
  • Death overs bowling - This is the one area they look to have really lost out on, in comparison to last season. They were one of the best teams for bowling at the death last season but they’ve lost their most commonly used bowler - Adam Milne and while I believe Saqib Mahmood is a better bowler than his numbers in this phase suggest, he is a downgrade on Milne. Daniel Sams did a decent job last season in a limited sample size, however, his long-term numbers don’t suggest he is a good death overs bowler. Looks a problem area for Thunder that can’t be easily solved.

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