Sydney Sixers upset favourites Melbourne Stars by 19 runs in the final of the Big Bash League at Sydney on Saturday to lift their second BBL title. Batting first in a rain-marred game, the Sixers managed to post 116 for 5 in 12 overs, and then managed to restrict the Stars to 97 for 6.
Opener Josh Philippe was the star performer for the Sixers, blazing his way to 52 from 29 balls. Steven Smith contributed a quick 21 from 12 while Jordan Silk gave the finishing touches to the innings with an unbeaten 27 from 15.
In response, the Stars were dealt with a major blow as in-form all-rounder Marcus Stoinis was sent back by Nathan Lyon for 10 while Steve OKeefe trapped opposition skipper Glenn Maxwell lbw for 5. Lyon finished with 2 for 19 and OKeefe claimed 2 for 27 to keep the Stars on the backfoot despite Nick Larkin’s unbeaten 38 from 26.
A lot of players who featured in the BBL have also been picked up for IPL 2020. Here’s a look at five players who did well in the BBL, and will also be seen in the upcoming IPL.
Also see – IPL 2020 Teams
#5 Rashid Khan
Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the IPL 2020 season ahead of the auction. He was one of the standout performers for Adelaide Strikers this BBL season. In 15 matches, he claimed 19 wickets at an average of 20.84 and a strike rate of 17.4.
Khan’s best of 4 for 22 came against Syndey Sixers at Adelaide on January 8. Khan dismissed opposition skipper Daniel Hughes, James Vince, Jordan Silk and Jack Edwards to restrict the Sixers to 6 for 83. The effort was in the vain though as the lower order took the batting side home in a chase of 136.
With the bat in hand, Khan contributed 124 runs at a strike rate of 153.08 and a best of 40. Khan’s guile with the ball was on display again in the BBL, and he would be keen to continue his good work in the IPL as well.
#4 Glenn Maxwell
Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell made a stunning return to competitive cricket after a short break taken to deal with mental health issues. Maxwell smashed 83 from 39 balls as the Stars got their BBL campaign off to a winning start with a 22-run victory over Brisbane Heat.
The innings came immediately after he was chosen to represent his former IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab for a massive ₹10.75 crore. Under Maxwell, the Stars were the favourites to clinch the BBL this year, but faltered at the final hurdle.
Maxwell's form deserted him as the BBL progressed. His last seven scores in the tournament made for poor reading -- 25, 12, 19, 1, 16, 4 not out and 5 in the final. Still, he finished the BBL with impressive numbers -- 398 runs in 17 games at an average of 39.80 and a strike rate of 148.50 with three fifties.
His best of 83 not out came against Melbourne Renegades at Melbourne (Docklands) on January 10, 2020. Maxwell smashed an amazing seven sixes in the innings, and only one four as as the Stars chased down 169 with ease.
#3 Chris Morris
Veteran South African all-rounder Chris Morris was picked up by under-performing IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹10 crore at the auction. While many mocked RCB believing Morris was past his prime, the Proteas cricketer proved his worth turning out for Sydney Thunders in the BBL.
Morris, in fact, finished the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets in 15 matches. He claimed his scalps at an average of 19.36 and a strike rate of 14.5 although his economy remained on the higher side, at 8.01.
32-year-old Morris’ best of 3 for 27 came against Hobart Hurricanes at Hobart on January 30. The Hurricanes were set to chase 198 to win the game, and Morris set them back by getting the big wickets of Ben McDermott, George Bailey and James Faulkner.
Morris did not have much to do with the bat. Still, he scored a total of 112 runs in 76 balls at 147.36. RCB and skipper Virat Kohli will be elated to see Morris perform so brilliantly, and will want him to repeat the same in the IPL as well.
#2 Tom Curran
While his more famed brother Sam Curran is a lot in the spotlight these days, being a regular member of the England squad, Tom Curran demonstrated in the BBL why he is also rated highly. Along with Morris, Curran finished as the joint second-highest.
Turning out for Sydney Sixers, Curran picked up 22 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 19.40 and a strike rate of 12.8. Like Morris, his economy rate was on the higher side -- 9.05. He somewhat made up for it by being constantly among the wickets.
Curran’s best of 4 for 22 came in the game against Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide on January 8. Curran ran through the Strikers’ lower order to restrict them to 135 all out. He then contributed a crucial 21 in a tense chase after Rashid Khan ripped through the batting. Josh Hazlewood’s hat-trick of fours on his birthday ensured Curran’s efforts weren’t in vain.
Curran also did his bit with the bat, contributing 133 runs at a strike rate of 149.43 with a best of 43 not out. At the IPL auction this year, Curran was purchased by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 1 crore.
#1 Marcus Stoinis
Marcus Stoinis’ record-breaking run with the bat may not have been enough to earn him a Australia recall, however, IPL franchise Delhi Capitals will be elated with his form, having purchased him for Rs 4 crore at the auction.
In 17 matches this season, Stoinis amassed 705 runs at an average of 54.23 and a strike rate of 136.62 with one hundred and six fifties. The all-rounder’s tally is now the most by any batsman in a BBL season. During his blazing innings of 83 from 54 in the Challenger against Sydney Thunder, Stoinis went past Hobart Hurricanes’ opener D’Arcy Short, who held the previous record of 637 runs amassed in 2018-19.
Earlier in the season, Stoinis also smashed the record for the highest individual score in an innings when he blasted an unbeaten 147 off 79 balls against Sydney Sixers at Melbourne as the Stars registered a 44-run triumph. Here again, he went past Short’s previous record of 122 registered a couple of seasons ago.
Despite Stoinis’ grand effort, Melbourne Stars could not lift the BBL crown as he was dismissed for 10 in the all-important final. Stoinis though had done more than enough to be named player of the tournament.