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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

2023/24 GameDay Squad AUS Cricket Team Preview: Sydney Thunder

2023/24 GameDay Squad AUS Cricket Team Preview: The Thunder had a good season and won half of their games over the round robin before being bundled out by the Heat in the rain-affected eliminator match. Over the history of the BBL, the Thunder have one championship and have had five visits to the finals. They have played 135 games, won 56, lost 76 and had 3 no result.

This season they go into the BBL13 with only two new faces, and they are Tanveer Sangha and Zaman Khan. We have seen the number of matches in the round robin decrease from fourteen to ten for each team this season. For the Thunder to reach the finals, I believe the magic number of wins will need to be five. There is definitely a chance that they can have five wins but I’m picking them only to have 3-4 wins. However, they have made visits to the finals in their last four seasons. After looking at last season’s results, it seems like the Thunder prefer to chase as five of their seven wins came after chasing down a target.

The Thunder open their season against the Heat in Canberra on the 12th of December. The Manuka Oval in Canberra was one of their home venues in BBL12 and the Thunder won both of their games here. If the Thunder can keep this winning streak going in Canberra, they will be off to a good start in BBL13.

Team Preview

Squad (Averages and position rank for BBL12 included)

Alex Hales – Batter, Avg 37.3, Rank 11

Cameron Bancroft – Batter, Avg 46.2, Rank 6

Oliver Davies – Batter, Avg 31.7, Rank 16

Jason Sangha – Batter, Avg 19.6 Rank 30

David Warner – Batter, Avg 20.0, Rank 28

Blake Nikitaras – Batter, Avg 8.5, Rank 38

Alex Ross – Batter, Avg 23.9, Rank 22

Chris Green – All-Rounder, Avg 37.1, Rank 13

Daniel Sams – All-Rounder, Avg 42.7, Rank 7

Matthew Gilkes – Wicket Keeper, Avg 27.3, Rank 8

Gurinder Sandhu – Bowler, Avg 39.1, Rank 16

Liam Hatcher – Bowler, Avg 39.1, Rank 16

Nathan McAndrew – Bowler, Avg 41.0, Rank 14

Tanveer Sangha – Bowler (Did not play in BBL13)

Zaman Khan – Bowler (Did not play in BBL13)

BBL12 stats from matches played at the Manuka Oval

· Two games played; Thunder won both.

· Team winning the toss won 50% of the matches.

· Chasing team won both matches.

· Average first innings score of 132 (lowest 122 / highest 142).

· Batter GDS average 22.0 points per match.

· All-rounder GDS average 42.4 points per match.

· Bowler GDS average 38.5 points per match.

· Wicketkeeper GDS average 28.0 points per match.

· 26 wickets taken by bowlers, 17 to seam and 9 to spin.

Player To Watch – Nathan McAndrew (Bowler)

McAndrew was the pick of the Thunder bowlers in BBL12 and was 14th ranked bowler based on a GDS average. In the Thunder’s BBL12 campaign, McAndrew bowled at least three overs in ten of his eleven matches. He took thirteen wickets and averaged 2.2 dot balls an over. These thirteen wickets came in only seven matches as he failed to take wickets in four of his matches. Over his first five matches in BBL12 was among the top three bowlers in four of these matches. Over his last six matches he was among the top three bowlers in only two of these matches. McAndrew is currently playing for South Australia in the 2023/24 Marsh Sheffield Shield, and he is the joint leading wicket taker in the competition with 25 wickets. This was helped by a ten wicket hail against NSW back in October. If he can continue his good form through to BBL13, he may be a regular starter for many GDS coaches.

Most Valuable Player – Daniel Sams (All-Rounder)

Sams has been a crowd favourite in BBL fantasy cricket for some time and with good reason. He’s a bowling all-rounder that quite often bowls his full complement of overs and comes into bat at five or six in the Thunder batting order. Sams took 18 wickets and averaged 1.9 dot balls an over in BBL12. To be honest, Sams was a bit out of form with the bat in BBL12, averaging 9 runs with only two scores in the double digits. I wouldn’t be too concerned about his batting as he has scored three fifties over his career in the BBL and has plenty of scores in the double digits. Sams was among the top four all-rounders in eleven of his fourteen matches, and I believe he is a must start in most matches for BBL13. In BBL12, Sams was the 7th ranked all-rounder based on GDS average. This season, I can’t really see his role in the Thunder side changing too much. He should continue to bowl his full complement of overs most of the time and have the odd handy turn at bat.

Biggest Bust Candidate - David Warner (Batter)

Warner will likely not play for the Thunder until after the SCG Test and this means he will only be available for the last four games. It’s not only his availability that concerns me, it’s also the form he showed in BBL12. In the round robin he played five matches and only had a high score of 26 runs. For someone that averages 35.86 with the bat over his BBL career, not scoring more than 26 runs was a real disappointment for fantasy coaches. To be fair, it might be the quick transition from the red ball to the white ball that didn’t work for Warner’s fantasy game. I do think he was a little unlucky in the eliminator match against the Heat in BBL12, as he had quickly moved through to 36 runs before the game was washed out in the 7th over. Going by his BBL12 form and availability, Warner is my biggest bust candidate.

Predicted Starting XI

1. Matthew Gilkes

2. Alex Hales

3. Jason Sangha

4. Oliver Davies

5. Alex Ross

6. Daniel Sams

7. Nathan McAndrew

8. Chris Green

9. Gurinder Sandhu

10. Zaman Khan

11. Tanveer Sangha


 AUS Cricket Team Preview


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