After another scintillating Big Bash, the Aussie league has clearly established itself as the No2, if not the No1 T20 tournament on earth.
Big crowds, 12,462 runs, 443 sixes and 325 catches it has been non-stop thrills per minute – and the 2017-18 season has also seen the emergence of some great talent including the remarkable Territorian D’arcy Short and teenage Afghan leggie Rashid Khan, who spun opposing bats into a twist.
Here are our picks for the top five BBL stars of the year, including one veteran who just won’t go away.
D’arcy Short (Hobart Hurricanes)
It’s been a meteoric rise for the young indigenous bat from WA. He is the top scorer in this year’s BBL with 504 runs, at a scarcely believable strike rate of 147.8, including a freakish 122no from just 69 balls against the Brisbane Heat. His outstanding form has seen him snared by Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and selected for his T20I international debut.
Alex Carey (Adelaide Strikers)
The 26-year-old South Australian is a rare athlete, captaining the GWS Giants AFL club in 2010 before returning to Adelaide to carve a cricketing career. 2017-18 has been a breakout year as the keeper notched up 425 runs (strike rate 143.09) with his first century, 100 exactly, coming against Hobart Hurricanes. This knock saw him flown to the Gabba two days later to make his ODI and soon after he was named in Australia’s T201 squad for the Trans Tasman Series.
Shane Watson (Sydney Thunder)
The much maligned all-rounder is surely reaching the twilight of his career but he refuses to slip quietly away. In an underperforming Thunder side the 36-year-old still totaled 331 runs at a strike rate of 139.07. His bowling was expensive (three wickets at 9.51 per over) but he still did enough to see the Chennai Super Kings fork out the tidy sum of Dh2.8m
Travis Head (Adelaide Strikers)
His ODI form for Australia in the recent England series was not great but in the BBL the 24-year-old was at his best, guiding his beloved Strikers to their first ever BBL final. He scored 330 runs in just eight matches at an average of 47.14 with a strike rate of 130.95. His superb 85 in the semi-final was crucial to Adelaide getting home by a single run against the Renegades.
Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers)
The 19-year-old Afghan leggie has had a dream debut in the BBL, topping the bowling stats in most wickets (18) and best economy rate (5.65) in what some are calling the greatest BBL ever by a bowler. Unfortunately he won’t play in the final as he is in Sharjah with his national team taking on Zimbabwe. Can Adelaide still do the business without the spin wiz?
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