The 12th edition of Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) gets underway on Tuesday night with a blockbuster clash between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars. Both sides will be looking to fight for the title this season, so expect plenty of fireworks in Canberra from 7:15pm AEDT.

Draftstars have put up a huge $30,000 contest for the season opener, as well as a Qualifier for the new Big Bash Star event.




Thunder Squad: Jason Sangha (C), Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Fazalhaq Farooqi (AFG), Matthew Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales (ENG), Baxter Holt, Nathan McAndrew, Usman Qadir (PAK), Alex Ross, Rilee Rossouw (RSA), Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Tanveer Sangha, David Warner, Sam Whiteman

Stars Squad: Trent Boult (NZ), Joe Burns, Hilton Cartwright, Joe Clarke (ENG), Brody Couch, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Liam Hatcher, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Beau Webster, Luke Wood (ENG), Adam Zampa, Tom O’Connell, Sam Elliott, Cam McClure, Campbell Kellaway


The Thunder welcome Afghani ace Fazalhaq Farooqi, Pakistani spinner Usman Qadir and big-name hitters Alex Hales and Rilee Rossouw as overseas players for this campaign, strengthening their position as a title contender in BBL12.

Hales and Rossouw could well form a tantalising combination at the top of the order, and all-rounders Daniel Sams, Ben Cutting and Nathan McAndrew are sure to help them produce some monster scores this season.

A team effort will be required with the bat, as Sydney have historically struggled with ball in hand and could well do so again in 2022-23.

Farooqi and Qadir will bring some mystery and variety to the attack, but the quicks will have to perform better than they have in previous seasons.

The opposite applies to the Stars, who will need more from their batsmen this summer. Unfortunately, Glenn Maxwell will miss multiple rounds through injury, so fellow international star Marcus Stoinis will have to shoulder the load.

Stoinis will call for assistance from Englishman Joe Clarke, as well as homegrown talents Cartwright, Burns, Larkin and Webster.

At least the Stars can be confident in their bowling attack, which will be led by Kiwi spearhead Trent Boult. Boult took eight wickets in the recent T20 World Cup, so he is well-prepared for a successful stint in Melbourne.

Adam Zampa will take over the reins as captain this season and he deserves that mantle, given his consistent brilliance over such a long period.

Luke Wood rounds out the international inclusions – the Englishman adds more variety to the Stars attack as a left-arm seamer. 


Love It – Rilee Rossouw ($12,700)

Draftstars have decided to offer up Rossouw at a bargain price for Game 1. At just over $12k, Rossouw boasts an international T20 average of nearly 37 including two tons, one of which he scored against Bangladesh during the World Cup. The proven ball striker will likely bat at three and could be a slate breaker.

Love It – Nathan McAndrew ($12,000)

McAndrew has been around the traps for a while now, representing the Thunder since 2016. While the bowling all-rounder has sometimes been a maligned player, he has come into his own over the last year or two, so I’m expecting further improvement this campaign. McAndrew should see plenty of overs with the ball and bat at 8, ample opportunity for a player listed at $12k.

Don’t Love It – Joe Burns ($10,200)

Burns is likely to bat in the middle order for the Stars, a role that gives him little opportunity to excel. In BBL11 the Queenslander managed just 95 runs from six innings, striking at less than 100, so it appears that his ceiling is relatively low unless he earns a promotion up the order.

Don’t Love It – Marcus Stoinis ($20,800)

Stoinis can win a game off his own bat, but $21k is a lot to pay for a player who has rarely had the chance to display his potential recently. Picked as a finisher in the Australian side, Stoinis has to wait a long time between BBL seasons to bat at the top, and even then, it’s unclear if he will open for the Stars. On top of that, I think the Stars will pick five designated bowlers, so Stoinis is unlikely to bowl more than a couple of overs.

Who Knows – Daniel Sams ($19,800)

Sams has turned himself into a world-class T20 all-rounder, pairing his skillful left-arm pace with big hitting down the order. Normally I’d be all over Sams as a fantasy selection, but he hasn’t played any cricket since mid-November due to injury. As such, there’s a big question mark over his fitness heading into the season opener.


Suggested Draftstars Line-up

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