A brilliant BBL tournament has seen some amazing individual performances. Travis Head’s brilliant New Year’s Eve knock was arguably the highlight, however Chris Lynn’s efforts with the bat have set the competition alight, while big wicket hauls from the likes of Badree, McKay and Russell have kept the batsman in check.
Below are the top 11 players (plus a 12th man) who I believe make up the team of the tournament.
Number of games played does play a part, so Usman Khawaja misses out despite making two big scores in his only two appearances. That being said it was not necessarily a deal breaker for players who didn’t feature in all eight fixtures.
1. Tim Paine (Hobart Hurricanes)
Tim Paine posted 239 runs in his eight games at an average of 34.14 and a strike rate of almost 120. He managed two half centuries and was the Hurricane’s main man at the top of the order throughout the tournament. He was involved in nine dismissals and saved plenty of runs with his quality behind the stumps. Was arguably the premier wicket keeper of the tournament and his runs probably should have helped see the Hurricanes into the finals. Just edged Shaun Marsh to the opening spot.
2. Aaron Finch (Melbourne Renegades)
Despite only playing the five games due to international commitments, Finch plundered 246 runs at an average of almost 50. He scored very quickly in the power play with a strike rate of 143. Three half centuries from his five knocks showed his value to the Renegades, who really could have used his runs and calm head in their final game against the Strikers. He has two opening partnerships in the top five including the record for the tournament of 98. To finish in the top ten run scorers despite missing almost half the tournament is amazing.
3. Chris Lynn (Brisbane Heat)
Chris Lynn was THE batsman of the tournament, scoring an amazing 378 runs, 100 more than the second highest run scorer. His average of 54 is awesome, but his strike rate of 173 is downright ridiculous. His 27 sixes was six more than his nearest rival. Three 50’s and a score of 101 showed his importance to a struggling Heat side. His tournament should see him amongst the first players picked for the T20 World Cup later this year. Surely a one day cap is not too far off if he continues to send bowlers into the stands with the ease he showed this tournament.
4. Travis Head (Adelaide Strikers)
Travis Head’s amazing 101 not out on New Year’s Eve was THE inning of the tournament. Head helped the Strikers chase down a massive target from a seemingly impossible position and made very capable bowlers look like armatures in the process. 276 runs at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 157 included 20 sixes and 13 fours. Two half centuries accompanied his match winning knock against the 6ers. Head’s runs were a vital ingredient in the Strikers topping the table and earning home advantage for each finals match they play. A well-deserved T20 cap for the upcoming India series was just reward for his efforts.
5. Michael Hussey (Sydney Thunder)
Mr Cricket has an incredible Big Bash tournament, which unfortunately looks like it will be the great man’s last. Hussey’s 277 runs saw him finish second in the run scoring stakes behind only Chris Lynn, and came despite missing a game through injury. He averaged over 55 at a strike rate of 135 and was again his side’s main man with the bat, despite the Thunder boasting the likes of Kallis, Watson and Russell. Luckily for fans of the 40 year-old, the Strikers victory over the Renegades guarantees us another chance to see one of the greatest batsman of the modern era ply his trade on Australian soil.
6. George Bailey (Hobart Hurricanes)
Bailey’s name was the shock omission from the recently named T20 squad after his starring role in the Big Bash. Scoring 240 runs in just six appearances with an average of 60 and a strike rate of 150, Bailey’s missing two games may have ultimately cost the Hurricanes a spot in the finals. His amazing 62 against the 6ers came in a game where his side fell apart around him, proving Bailey is more than a flat track bully. His form has carried over to the one dayers for Australia, and I can’t help but feel the selectors should have found a spot for him for the upcoming series against India.
7. Andre Russell (Sydney Thunder)
Lynn lead the run scoring charts and Rashid topped the wicket taking list however Andre Russell may end up being the player of the tournament. With the bat he bludgeoned 175 runs at a strike rate of over 192, including 14 sixes and 10 fours. He also took 14 wickets at an average of 17 and an economy rate of under 8. He also took three catches, including arguably the catch of the tournament. The large majority of his runs came in the late overs and helped the Thunder set some incredible targets, including their score over 200. Throw in an equal second highest wicket tally and Russell has a brilliant argument for player of the tournament honours.
8. Andrew Tye (Perth Scorchers)
Andrew Tye was the Scorchers’ best bowler of the tournament, quite an achievement in a squad also boasting Jason Behrendorff, Joel Paris and Brag Hogg. Tye took 13 wickets across the tournament at an average of under 16. His economy rate of 6.8 puts him in rare territory as under ten bowlers were able to limit the damage to under seven runs per over. The Scorchers were only able to post 1134 runs across the BBL series, the least across each of the eight teams. Tye played a huge part in their finishing in the finals despite their lack of success with the bat.
9. Clint McKay (Sydney Thunder)
Clint McKay was one of the signings of the season after taking 14 wickets for his new side. His bowling average of 13.57 and economy rate of 7.35 were made even more impressive seeing as he was used to bowl mainly during the power play and closing overs, typically the highest scoring periods for batsmen. He also chimed in with 25 runs, ten of which came via boundaries. One of the very few bowlers to record a maiden for the tournament. He also took five catches, most in the outfield under towering strikes. He wasn’t amongst the big names entering the series but was one of the best performers across all eight games.
10. Adil Rashid (Adelaide Strikers)
Adil Rashid was one of the lesser name imports across the competition when it started, however following his eight brilliant bowling performances, his star has well and truly shined. He topped the wicket taking tally with 15 at a ridiculous average of 13.20 and an equally impressive economy rate of 6.39. Almost no one across the competition was able to take him to task, with his wrong’un stumping some of the best batsmen in the business. Spinners are often targeted in the shorter versions of the game, however Rashid was able to tie batsman up and force them into silly shots.
11. Jason Behrendorff (Perth Scorchers)
Just edging our Strikers bowler Ben Laughlin is Perth’s Jason Behrendorff. The talented quick missed two games through injury however still managed to bag ten wickets at an average of 16.80. His economy rate of seven was made even more impressive by the fact he, much like McKay, bowled the majority of his overs in the power play and in the dying overs. Some have labelled his campaign as disappointing, however to take as many wickets as he did, and quality wickets at that, despite playing two less games than those around him, is pretty impressive. His return to the side makes Perth a far more dangerous side in the finals.