Power of Livingstone and Inglis leaves Scorchers primed to pounce

BIG BASH TEAM GUIDE - PERTH SCORCHERS: Between them, the big-hitting duo smashed 42 sixes and 830 runs in BBL9. Lancashire batsman Livingstone has signed on for a second successive year as a result

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Big Bash 2020-21: Team-by-team guides

Coach: Adam Voges

Captain: Mitch Marsh

Last season: Sixth

How did they do last year?

Perth Scorchers were at their best when Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis were batting together at the top of the order. Between them, the big-hitting duo smashed 42 sixes and 830 runs. Lancashire batsman Livingstone has signed on for a second successive year as a result. Beyond them and captain Mitchell Marsh, however, Adam Voges’ side were light on big runs.

Highly regarded allrounder Cameron Green and Australia white-ball international Ashton Turner both endured mediocre seasons, as did Ashton Agar with both bat and ball.

With Jason Behrendorff missing the entire campaign through injury, the bowling stocks were also light. There were 15 wickets each for Chris Jordan, Fawad Ahmed and Jhye Richardson.

Who are their key players?

Liam Livingstone: England exploits mean that he and Jason Roy will only be available for a portion of the competition, but Livingstone’s huge hitting made him an immensely popular addition to the tournament in 2019. Ranked 15th on the T20 Player Index, he is the sixth-highest rated player taking part in this year’s Big Bash. Roy, built with similar intentions, has a poor Big Bash record from previous spells with Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder, but will surely improve upon it this time around. Nottinghamshire’s Joe Clarke will fill in for Roy while on England duty.

Fawad Ahmed: Now 38 years of age, that means little for a leg-spinner in the franchise world. Imran Tahir, with Melbourne Renegades this year, is older still and remains one of the leading operators on the circuit. As for Ahmed, he comes into the tournament on the back of a fine campaign in the Caribbean Premier League, where he was part of a dominant, title-winning Trinbago Knight Riders side. In last year’s Big Bash, only Adam Zampa and Rashid Khan took more wickets as leg-spinners.

Colin Munro: Another new addition to an uber-aggressive top order, it will be interesting to where he slots in and whether Adam Voges opts to split up the tried and tested Livingstone-Inglis axis. Roy, one assumes, will come in at the top of the order, with Clarke another who has done much of his best work as an opener.

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What are their strengths?

Joe Clarke, Jason Roy, Liam Livinstone, Colin Munro, Josh Inglis and Mitch Marsh will, at varying points, stride out to the middle – all brutal hitters of a cricket ball. If they can fire, Perth will be worth watching.

With the ball, Jordan doesn’t return this time around, but both Ahmed and Richardson will form part of an international-standard attack that also features Behrendorff, Agar, Marsh, Andrew Tye and USA international Cameron Gannon, who joins from Brisbane Heat. Not to mention Joel Paris and Matt Kelly, both of whom have performed well in previous Big Bash editions for Scorchers.

Where might they have a weakness?

Last year’s reliance on the top order cannot be repeated, with more needed from Green, Agar and Turner. Cameron Bancroft is another who will hope to fit into a crowded batting line-up, and his nous and subtlety might be important amid a line-up of hitters. Kelly, Marsh and Paris were all expensive last year and will want to improve on those showings. The absence of an overseas seamer will put pressure on a raft of established Australian internationals.

Chances of reaching playoffs?

Absolutely in with a shot. If nothing else, their hitting power will make them an interesting watch.

Strongest XI: Jason Roy/Joe Clarke, Liam Livingstone, Colin Munro, Josh Inglis (wk), Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Fawad Ahmed, Jason Behrendorff

Fixtures: December 12 – Melbourne Renegades (Blundstone Arena); December 16 – Melbourne Stars (University of Tasmania Stadium); December 22 – Sydney Thunder (Manuka Oval); December 28 – Adelaide Strikers (Adelaide Oval); December 31 – Adelaide Strikers (Adelaide Oval); January 3 – Melbourne Renegades (Optus Stadium); January 6 – Sydney Sixers (Optus Stadium); January 9 – Sydney Thunder (Optus Stadium); January 12 – Hobart Hurricanes (Optus Stadium); January 16 – Sydney Sixers (SCG); January 19 – Brisbane Heat (Marvel Stadium, Docklands); January 22 – Hobart Hurricanes (Marvel Stadium, Docklands); January 23 – Melbourne Stars (MCG); January 26 – Brisbane Heat (SCG)

Big Bash fixtures

Big Bash squads

TEAM-BY-TEAM PREVIEWS

Adelaide Strikers

Brisbane Heat

Hobart Hurricanes

Melbourne Renegades

Melbourne Stars

Perth Scorchers

Sydney Sixers

Sydney Thunder

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