It took until the very last day of the Big Bash League 2020-21 season leagues stages to decide the five teams who will be playing in the playoffs, starting from Friday, January 28.
While Hobart Hurricanes missed out on the playoffs following a shocking 11-run defeat against Melbourne Renegades. Brisbane Heat found their way into the top half with a six-run win over Perth Scorchers, who had already qualified for the play-offs.
With Sydney Sixers finishing at the top of the BBL points table, the stage is set for another exciting round, and I’m pretty sure the upcoming matches will live upto the hype.
That said, here are my picks from the first two playoffs games:
Chris Lynn - Brisbane Heat
Credit where it’s due, Chris Lynn has performed exceptionally well, especially after failing to get a game in the Indian T20 League 2020. In just 10 games this season, the hard-hitter has accumulated 420 runs at an average of 42 and a strike rate of 157.30. The 30-year-old has scored four half-centuries in his last six BBL games and I expect more of the same from the explosive opener as his team squares off against Adelaide Strikers; a team against whom Lynn scored his lowest score (17) in the ongoing season. He certainly has some point to prove.
Wes Agar - Adelaide Strikers
The fourth highest wicket-taker of BBL 2020-21, 23-year-old Wes Agar has been a revelation this season. Though he has been expensive as well as wicketless in his last two BBL outings, Agar knows a thing or two about bothering Brisbane Heat - against whom he delivered his best spell of 4/27. Agar had scorched past Heat’s batting order by getting the better of Marnus Labuschagne, Lynn, Joe Denly and Max Bryant, as Strikers had limited their opponent to just 115. It was arguably one of the best bowling performances I’ve seen in the current edition, and Agar will be raring to have a go once again.
Josh Philippe - Sydney Sixers
Sydney Sixers’ opener Josh Philippe has been amongst runs this season, although inconsistency has been an issue for the player. The 23-year-old, once set, has shown the capabilities of wreaking havoc, but tends to lose his wicket quite early more often than not. Following his match-winning 64 against Sydney Thunder and 84 against Perth Scorchers, Philippe has failed to cross the 20-run mark in all of his last three outings. It’s a good thing that he has a prior history against Scorchers, and I think they will be on the receiving end of another explosive approach.
Jhye Richardson - Perth Scorchers
Jhye Richardson has been a phenomenal presence for Perth Scorchers, and one of the reasons why they finished second in the points table. In 14 games so far this season, the 24-year-old has picked 27 wickets - five wickets clear of his closest opponent - and that at an economy of just 7.08. Richardson has picked four wickets in two matches against Sixers and has conceded just 46 runs this season, meaning that he concedes less than six runs per over against them. A game as important as this requires a lustrous performance, and I firmly believe Richardson will do well once again.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @HeatBBL