The 10th edition of the Australia T20 League starts with the first clash between the defending champions Sydney-S and Hobart. Both sides will miss its key players due to the new COVID rule in Australia and national assignments.
Match Timings: Dec 10, 1:45 PM IST
The defending champions, Sydney-S, will begin its title defense in the season-opener on Thursday. The Magenta outfit started the 2019-20 season with six wins in the first eight matches. They defeated Melbourne-S in the rain-affected final last season. The bubble impact will surely trouble some sides to choose its best team-combination. Steve Smith will not be available due to his hectic international assignment. Mitchell Starc will also play in the second half of the tournament. Sean Abbott and Nathan Lyon are also part of Australia’s Test squad, so both will be available from mid-January. The skipper Moises Henriques is part of the Australia A squad and will miss the first couple of games. They also suffered a big blow ahead of the opening clash as English pacer Tom Curran opted him out of the tournament. Jason Holder will also miss the first couple of games due to national availability.
Despite missing some key players, they are a compact side. Josh Philippe and James Vince will open for Sydney-S. Daniel Hughes and Jordan Silk might be promoted up in the order in the absence of Henriques and Smith. Ben Dwarshuis would be a key figure for Sydney after claiming 16 wickets with an economy rate of 8.03 last season. The current bubble issues will affect the bowling department more. The last year’s success relied on middle-overs. In the previous edition, Sydney-S conceded the runs with the economy of just 6.75 runs between overs 6 and 16. Carlos Brathwaite can also join the playing XI as the second overseas player. He appeared in Caribbean T20 League and was impactful with the bowl as well. Sydney also signed Dan Christian from Melbourne-R, and he will have the responsibility in the absence of the skipper. Lloyd Pope will take charge in the spin until Nathan Lyon joins the squad.
Meanwhile, Hobart made into the eliminator in the last edition and lost to Sydney-T by 57 runs. For the new season, coach Adam Griffith recruited some good players in the squad. Johan Botha came from retirement to join the squad. From last season’s runner-up, they signed Sandeep Lamichhane and Peter Handscomb. Johan Botha will take charge in the spin as Lamichhane will join the team after Christmas. The last season’s centurion, Wade, will not be available due to his presence in the Test series against India. They have signed the world’s current number one T20I player, Dawid Malan, and the English player will join the squad after four games. Keemo Paul will also join the squad at the end of this month. Australian Test skipper Tim Paine will be available in January after the India series.
Bellerive Oval, Hobart is a batting-friendly wicket, and it gets slow in the middle. Spin can get some help in the second half. In last season, chasing sides have won just one game out of five as we saw some turnaround in the pitch. 170-180 is a par score, and chasing wouldn’t be easier.
Josh Philippe (wk), James Vince, Dan Christian, Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Steve OKeefe, Carlos Brathwaite, Lloyd Pope, Nick Bertus
D'Arcy Short, Scott Boland, Johan Botha, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Colin Ingram, Will Jacks, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott (wk), Riley Meredith
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 16, Wickets: 16, Avg: 26.19
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 16, Runs: 487, Avg: 37.46
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 15, Wickets: 12, Eco: 7.94
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 16, Runs: 357, Avg: 44.62