Big Bash League 2017/8: Perth Scorchers Preview

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PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28: Michael Klinger and Ian Bell of the Scorchers celebrate after defeating the Sixers during the Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers at WACA on January 28, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

The Perth Scorchers have never failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Big Bash League and they are the most decorated side in the competition. This year is set to bring more of the same. Captain Adam Voges has a near full strength squad at his disposal and has recently said that he is confident of more success this year. Mitchell Johnson, despite having retired from international cricket and most domestic cricket, has declared he is available for selection for the upcoming season. His 3-3 against the Melbourne Stars in the semi-final last year showed how lucky the Scorchers are to have him in the squad. The only concern for the Perth Scorchers will be over the availability of certain players due to the Ashes.
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Batting

Opener Michael Klinger is one of the best batsmen in the whole tournament. Klinger has consistently delivered over several years and has scored the second most runs in the competition since its inception. He top-scored for the Scorchers last year, hitting 334 runs at a handy average of 37. This was the third highest in the competition. Since then, however, Klinger has experienced a poor run of form in the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League). In that competition Klinger averaged just 25 and failed to cross the fifty mark. This will be slightly concerning for the Perth Scorchers as they have lost some batting depth due to the Ashes.
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Both Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, are in the Perth Scorchers squad but are unlikely to feature at the start of the tournament. This will be a huge blow to them. Shaun Marsh looked in sublime touch in the Second Ashes Test, where he hit a superb unbeaten 126 in the first innings to take Australia into a winning position. His brother Mitchell has just smashed a remarkable 181 in the on-going Third Test. Cameron Bancroft is in a similar position to these two as well. Captain Adam Voges is going to have to improve on last season to accommodate for the absence of the Marsh pair and Bancroft. Voges had an atrocious Big Bash 06, scoring just 40 runs in seven matches. Lots of pressure will fall on their middle order too, likely to consist of keeper Sam Whiteman, Hilton Cartwright and David Willey.

Bowling

David Willey and Mitchell Johnson could be the Perth Scorchers favoured new-ball pair. They were both in sublime form last year, taking an amazing 20 wickets between them, and at an economy of well under 7. Andrew Tye will also be a key part of the Scorchers seam attack. Tye made a name for himself after taking a hat-trick on his IPL debut for the Gujarat Lions and also went on to take a five-for. He ended up with an impressive haul of 12 wickets in six matches, which earned him a call up to the Australian national side. Tye’s main strength is in his cutters and slower balls. This will complement the raw pace of Mitchell Johnson, who will get the ball to bounce and rise vast amounts.
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Adam Voges’ part-time spin is a handy resource to have and he will accompany front-line spinner Ashton Agar. If the Perth Scorchers are looking for batting depth, it could be the case that Agar is omitted from their team entirely, opting for Ashton Turner instead. Turner is a batting all-rounder, but his spin bowling is as economical as Agar’s.

How will they do?

Anything less than qualification will be a horrendous outcome for the Perth Scorchers. This squad has proven themselves to be a team of champions and they should definitely be considered to be one of the favourites to lift the trophy this year. When the Marsh brothers and Cameron Bancroft return to their team later on in the season, the Perth Scorchers could almost be unbeatable.

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