Sydney Thunder players celebrate winning the T20 Big Bash League cricket final between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on January 24, 2016. THEO KARANIKOS/AFP/Getty Images

Last season:

The Sydney Thunder won their first Big Bash League crown in BBL05, beating the Melbourne Stars in the final by three wickets with just three balls to go.

Surprisingly the Thunder finished the regular season in fourth with a record of 4-4, but a win over Adelaide in the semi-final helped them on their way to the grand final victory.

Ins and outs:

Ins: Eoin Morgan, Jake Gibson, Nathan McAndrew, Alister McDermott

Outs: Ahillen Beadle, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis, Jonte Pattison

Squad: Shane Watson (c), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Patrick Cummins, Jake Doran, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Chris Hartley, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Alister McDermott, Clint McKay, Eoin Morgan, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: Ben Rohrer of the Thunder celebrates after a win during the Big Bash League final match between Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 24, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Last season's champions lost some quality players but did manage to do their best to plug the holes, meaning this side will be one of the deepest in the league once again.

Only batsman Usman Khawaja will miss an extended period of time due to Test duty, but the left-hander will likely return for the final rounds of the season as Australia's ODI series gets underway in mid January.

Pat Cummins could be selected for the ODI matches but apart from that pair the Thunder will have most of their guys ready for the start of the season.

Their depth across all positions will hold them in good stead throughout the season, as this Thunder side has the potential to go back-to-back.


This team is a very strong side, but for Sydney to go back to the grand final like they did last season, they have to start the season strong.

The lost their opening three games last season before winning their next four, but in a competition that's seen most teams strengthen their rosters, Sydney can't afford to fall behind the eight-ball after the opening few rounds.

What makes this hard for them is the fact that captain Shane Watson will miss their opening two matches through injury, with Khawaja won't play until the new year due to international duty.

A strong start is very important for the Thunder here, and with those two big outs, they'll really need players to step up and hit the ground running.

Key player: Andre Russell

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 28: Andre Russell of the Thunder celebrates after claiming the wicket of Brad Hodge of the Strikers during the Big Bash League match between the Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium on December 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Since making his debut in the Big Bash League, Andre Russell has been one of the most exciting overseas players we've seen.

Through just 10 Big Bash games Russell has taken 16 wickets at 18.87, but has also added 185 with the bat at 23.12, both numbers that most players would be proud of.

He played a major part in the Thunder securing their maiden title last season, so expect Russell to be at the centre of most good things in BBL06 too.

Prediction: 2nd

Sydney are one of the most talented teams in the competition, and that alone should see them back in the finals once again.

They should finish in the top two and give themselves a home semi-final, meaning back-to-back championships is certainly not out of the question.

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