Who can stop Melbourne Stars?

Melbourne Stars

To win 5.509/2
To reach final 2.546/4
To win league 4.407/2
Last season Runners-up
Won bat first 5/6
Won bat second 6/11
Run rate for 8.06
Run rate against 7.8
Previous 3 years R-8-SF

Squad: Glenn Maxwell (c), Jonny Bairstow (OS), Hilton Cartwright, Jackson Coleman, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Dilbar Hussain (OS), Zahir Khan (OS), Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Lance Morris, Tom O’Connell, Nicholas Pooran (OS), Will Pucovski, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.

Ins: Billy Stanlake (Adelaide Strikers), Liam Hatcher (Sydney Thunder) Jonny Bairstow, Zahir Khan (Brisbane Heat), Nicholas Pooran, Will Pucovski.

Outs: Peter Handscomb (Hobart Hurricanes), Daniel Worrall (Strikers), Haris Rauf, Sandeep Lamichhane (Hurricanes)
Best XI: Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher (OS), Nicholas Pooran (OS), Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Seb Gotch (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Zahir Khan (OS), Billy Stanlake

Verdict: Stars have lost five semi-finals and three finals. Last season looked like it was going to be there year after they won the group but they collapsed spectacularly. Losing gun players like Rauf and Lamichhane and still using Maddison suggests this is an inferior vintage. At the odds, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that their best chance has gone.

Perth Scorchers

To win6.05/1
To reach final 3.309/4
To win league 5.409/2
Last season Sixth
Won bat first 4/7
Won bat second 2/7
Run rate for 8.3
Run rate against 7.8
Previous 3 years 8-SF-W

Squad: Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Joe Clarke (ENG), Cameron Gannon, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Liam Livingstone (ENG), Mitchell Marsh (c), Colin Munro (NZ), Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Jason Roy (ENG), Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Sam Whiteman

In: Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Joe Clarke, Cameron Gannon (Heat)

Out: Chris Jordan, Nick Hobson. Morne Morkel (Heat), Liam Guthrie, Jaron Morgan, Tim David (Hurricanes)

Best XI: Josh Inglis (wk), Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Liam Livingstone, Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, AJ Tye, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Fawad Ahmed

Verdict: Scorchers are all the rage because of their varied and deep bowling attack. They also tick boxes for fast starters and finishers with the bat in the shape of Mitch Marsh and Ashton Turner. But do they have an issue at number eight with the bat? AJ Tye is a spot too high.

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Sydney Sixers

To win 7.807/1
To reach final 3.505/2
To win league 7.06/1
Last season Winners
Won bat first 4/4
Won bat second 6/10
Run rate for 7.9
Run rate against 7.7
Previous 3 years SF-5-R

Squad: Sean Abbott, Justin Avendano*, Nick Bertus*, Jackson Bird, Carlos Brathwaite (WI), Dan Christian, Tom Curran (ENG), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Moises Henriques (c), Jason Holder (WI), Daniel Hughes, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Lawrence Neil-Smith*, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Tom Rogers*, Gurinder Sandhu*, Jordan Silk, Mitchell Starc, James Vince (ENG)

Ins: Nick Bertus, Carlos Brathwaite, Dan Christian (Renegades), Jason Holder, Lawrence Neil-Smith, Tom Rogers (Hurricanes), Gurinder Sandhu (Thunder), Mitchell Starc

Out: Daniel Fallins, Josh Hazlewood, Steve Smith

Best XI: Josh Philippe, James Vince, Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Dan Christian, Carlos Brathwaite, Sean Abbott, Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Nathan Lyon

Verdict: The champs are aiming to be only the second franchise to win back-to-back titles (Perth the others). It’s a tough ask but qualification is guaranteed with their strong squad. And they will get stronger once Test players rejoin for the play-offs.

Adelaide Strikers

To win 7.206/1
To reach final 3.309/4
To win league 7.206/1
Last season 3rd
Won bat first 7/10
Won bat second 1/4
Run rate for 8.4
Run rate against 8.1
Previous 3 years 7-W-6

Squad: Wes Agar, Danny Briggs (England) Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Travis Head (c), Spencer Johnson, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Matthew Renshaw, Phil Salt (England), Liam Scott, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Cameron Valente, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells, Daniel Worrall.

In: Danny Briggs, Spencer Johnson, Matthew Renshaw (Heat), Liam Scott, Daniel Worrall (Stars)

Out: Jake Lehmann (delisted), Billy Stanlake (Stars), Cameron White (retired), Nick Winter (Hurricanes)

Best XI: Jake Weatherald, Phil Salt, Travis Head (c), Matt Renshaw, Alex Carey (wk), Jon Wells, Michael Neser, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Wes Agar, Danny Briggs

Verdict: We are not keen on Strikers for glory, not least because they are likely to be without Rashid Khan for the finals. The batting doesn’t look strong enough and there is pressure on Phil Salt for fast starts. But they have a cracking record when defending totals.

Hobart Hurricanes

To win 8.6015/2
To reach final 4.2016/5
To win league 10.09/1
Last season 4th
Won bat first 4/7
Won bat second 2/6
Run rate for 8.07
Run rate against 8.5
Previous 3 years SF-R-7

Squad: Scott Boland, Johan Botha*, Tim David, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb, Colin Ingram (SA), Will Jacks (ENG), Caleb Jewell*, Sandeep Lamichhane (NEP), Dawid Malan (ENG), Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, David Moody, Mitch Owen, Tim Paine, Wil Parker, Keemo Paul (WI), D’Arcy Short, Matthew Wade (c), Charlie Wakim*, Nick Winter, Mac Wright

In:Johan Botha, Tim David (Perth Scorchers), Peter Handscomb (Melbourne Stars), Colin Ingram, Will Jacks, Sandeep Lamichhane (Stars), Dawid Malan, Mitch Owen, Tim Paine, Wil Parker, Keemo Paul, Charlie Wakim, Nick Winter (Adelaide Strikers)

Out: George Bailey (retired), Jarod Freeman, Simon Milenko (Brisbane Heat), David Miller, Qais Ahmad, Tom Rogers (Sydney Sixers), Clive Rose, Aaron Summers

Best XI: Matthew Wade, D’Arcy Short, Dawid Malan, Ben McDermott, Peter Handscomb, Mac Wright, Keemo Paul, James Faulkner, Sandeep Lamichhane, Riley Meredith, Nathan Ellis

Verdict: Wade’s absence, Lamichhane’s Covid diagnosis and the delayed arrival of Malan could make for a tricky start but they should recover to qualify. In the play-offs there are few better balanced XIs and they could go very close to a first title. Colin INgram (below) is also a shrewd capture.

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Melbourne Renegades

To win 9.4017/2
To reach final 5.709/2
To qualify 1.855/6
Last season 8th
Won bat first 2/9
Won bat second 1/5
Run rate for 8.1
Run rate against 8.5
Previous 3 years W-SF-5

Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Noor Ahmad (OS), Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi (OS), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, Rilee Roussow (OS), Will Sutherland, Imran Tahir (OS), Imad Wasim (OS), Beau Webster, Benny Howell (OS)

In: Noor Ahmad, Josh Lalor (Brisbane Heat), James Pattinson (Heat), Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Rilee Roussow, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim, Benny Howell

Out: Jack Wildermuth (Heat), Tom Cooper (Heat), Dan Christian (Sydney Sixers), Harry Gurney, Richard Gleeson, Joe Mennie, Samit Patel, Andrew Fekete, Tom Andrews, Brayden Stepien, Nathan McSweeney

Best XI: Aaron Finch, Sam Harper (wk), Shaun Marsh, Rilee Rossouw (OS), Beau Webster, Imad Wasim (OS), Will Sutherland, James Pattinson, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Imran Tahir (OS)

Verdict: Renegades should improve from a bottom-placed finish last term. Their recruitment has been spot on. Josh Lalor and James Pattison should solve terrible defence while Aaron Finch is available for the whole tournament.

Brisbane Heat

To win 8.70
To qualify 1.738/11
To finish bottom 5.509/2
Last season 7th
Won bat first 4/7
Won bat second 2/7
Run rate for 8.1
Run rate against 8
Previous 3 years 5-7-SF

Squad: Dan Lawrence (OS), Max Bryant, Chris Lynn, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory (OS), Sam Heazlett, Jimmy Peirson, Jack Wildermuth, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (OS), Morne Morkel, Ben Laughlin, Matt Kuhnemann, Xavier Bartlett, Matt Willians, James Bazley

In: Dan Lawrence, Tom Cooper, Lewis Gregory, Jack Wildermuth, Morne Morkel

Out: AB De Villiers, Ben Cutting, James Pattinson, Josh Lalor, Zahir Khan, Cammeron Gannon, Matt Renshaw

Best XI: Bryant, Lynn, Lawrence (OS), Cooper, Gregory, Heazlett, Peirson, Wildermuth, Laughlin, Morkel, Mujeeb

Verdict: The least balanced squad in the tournament. Heat are unlikely to have to worry about the vagaries of the play-offs with a bowling line-up which has consistently struggled and has now lost Josh Lalor and James Pattinson. Morne Morkel as a ‘home’ player is a boost but apart from fast starts with Chris Lynn there’s little to be excited about.

Sydney Thunder

To win 10.09/1
To qualify 2.01/1
Last season 5th
Won bat first 3/7
Won bat second 5/8
Run rate for 8.13
Run rate against 8.14
Previous 3 years 6-6-8

Squad: Sam Billings (England), Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Callum Ferguson (c), Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (England), Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Adam Milne (NZ), Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain

In: Sam Billings, Ben Cutting, Baxter Holt, Adam Milne

Out: Jay Lenton, Chris Morris (SA), Gurinder Sandhu, Liam Bowe

Best XI: Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Sam Billings, Alex Ross, Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Adam Milne, Chris Tremain, Jono Cook

Verdict: Thunder are the perennial rags but they should be okay for the play-offs. A work in progress, they finished fifth last term to continue year-on-year improvement. They are light on big names but that only puts off the ignorant. Key will be Chris Green and Jono Cook.