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Previewing the 2021 Big Bash League Playoffs – Latest Odds, Team Analysis, and More
Following six weeks of pulsating T20 action, we have finally reached the Big Bash League playoffs.
The Scorchers and the Sixers are the bookmakers’ favorites to win BBL 10, with the Thunder, the Strikers, and the Heat all hoping to upset the odds.
The playoffs commence on Friday, January 29, with the final scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 6. But who will be crowned Big Bash champions in 2021?
Below, I assess the odds, explain the playoff format, and discuss each teams’ chances of winning BBL 10.
Latest 2021 Big Bash League Winner Odds
Let’s start by checking out the latest BBL 10 winner odds. The prices below are courtesy of 10bet.
Unsurprisingly, the Scorchers (2.25) and the Sixers (2.60) are the bookmakers’ clear favorites to get their hands on the trophy on Saturday, February 6.
The two frontrunners have undoubtedly been the best teams in the competition up to now, and the latest BBL 10 winner odds clearly reflect that.
With a spot in the Knockout already secured, the Thunder (6.00) find themselves ahead of the Strikers (15.00) and the Heat (15.00), who go head-to-head in the Eliminator.
Now, it’s time to take a closer look at the format of the playoffs.
How Will the BBL 10 Playoffs Work?
At first glance, the Big Bash playoffs may seem a bit confusing. But don’t worry – I break down the format below.
The Eliminator: Brisbane Heat vs. Adelaide Strikers (Friday, January 29)
Having finished fourth and fifth, respectively, the Heat and the Strikers will face off in the Eliminator. The winner of this match will then come up against the Thunder in the Knockout.
Brisbane has the home-field advantage here, with the Queenslanders hosting the South Australians at the Gabba. The makes the Heat the slight favorites to win the Eliminator, although the Strikers have already beaten the Heat twice this season.
The Qualifier: Sydney Sixers vs. Perth Scorchers (Saturday, January 30)
The Qualifier is contested by the teams that finished first and second in the final standings, meaning the table-topping Sixers will play against the second-place Scorchers at Manuka Oval, Canberra.
The winner of this game will advance straight to the final, but the loser will get another chance to reach the final, dropping into the Challenger to face the winner of the Knockout.
The Knockout: Sydney Thunder vs. Winner of the Eliminator (Sunday, January 31)
After securing third place in the table, the Thunder skip the Eliminator and start their playoff campaign in the Knockout, where they will come up against either the Heat or the Strikers.
Like the Qualifier, this game will be played at Manuka Oval, meaning there will be no home-field advantage there.
The Challenger: Loser of the Qualifier vs. Winner of the Knockout (Thursday, February 4)
The Challenger is effectively a semi-final, with the loser of the Qualifier – either the Sixers or the Scorchers – coming up against the winner of the Knockout.
This gives one of the top two teams another opportunity to reach the final.
The Final: Winner of the Qualifier vs. Winner of the Challenger (Saturday, February 6)
The winner of the Qualifier will book their place in the final before the Knockout, and the Challenger even take place, but they will have to wait five days to discover their final opponent.
The winner of the Challenger will then battle either the Sixers of the Scorchers to be crowned BBL 10 champions.
Assessing Each Teams’ Chances of Winning BBL 10
Let’s take a closer look at the five remaining teams and discuss each sides’ prospects of clinching the Big Bash title in 2021.
Perth Scorchers (2.25)
It is no secret that the Scorchers struggled to get going at the beginning of the season. Adam Voges’ men failed to win any of their opening four games, leaving them bottom of the standings.
However, they turned their campaign around in style.
A run of eight wins in nine matches saw the Western Australians establish themselves as the bookies’ favorites to go all the way this year. The Perth outfit thrived on home soil, winning all four of their games at Optus stadium.
With Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, and Colin Munro at the top of the order, the Scorchers are arguably the most destructive batting side left in the competition. On the flip side, Jhye Richardson is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker by a considerable margin.
If the Scorchers can piece it all together in the playoffs, they will be extremely difficult to stop.
|LEADING WICKET-TAKERS (BBL 10)|
|Jhye Richardson||Perth Scorchers||14||27||7.09|
|Mark Steketee||Brisbane Heat||13||22||9.45|
|Tanveer Sangha||Sydney Thunder||14||21||8.05|
|Wes Agar||Adelaide Strikers||14||21||8.24|
|Nathan Ellis||Hobart Hurricanes||14||20||8.33|
Sydney Sixers (2.60)
It’s fair to say that the Sixers have probably been the most consistent team this season. They have only suffered back-to-back defeats once this term, picking up nine wins along the way.
A couple of defeats to the Thunder and the Hurricanes suggested that Greg Shipperd’s men were losing form just before the playoffs, but a big win over the Stars last time out proved that they are still a huge threat.
In Josh Philippe, the reigning champions boast a future white-ball star for Australia. The 23-year-old is currently the second-highest run-scorer in the competition, with three fifties to his name.
The Sixers also have two world-class all-rounders in their ranks. Veteran Dan Christian has popped up on more than one occasion with a match-winning performance this season, while West Indian Carlos Brathwaite is a menace with both bat and ball.
Only one team in BBL history has successfully defended their title; the Sixers could easily be the second side to achieve that feat.
Sydney Thunder (6.00)
The Thunder’s BBL 10 campaign has been built on some unrivalled big hitting from Alex Hales. The Englishman has led the Golden Bat charts for the majority of the season and is one of only two players to have scored a century this term.
However, it has been far from a one-man show.
Callum Ferguson, Usman Khawaja, Ben Cutting, and Sam Billings have all impressed with the bat, while Tanveer Sangha, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Green, and Daniel Sams have been effective with the ball.
The Thunder’s overreliance on Hales is a slight cause for concern, but as I just mentioned, the squad is packed with top-quality players. Even if Hales doesn’t make his mark on the playoffs, the Thunder still have plenty of players that can singlehandedly win games.
|LEADING RUN-SCORERS (BBL 10)|
|Alex Hales||Sydney Thunder||14||535||41.15|
|Josh Philippe||Sydney Sixers||14||454||32.43|
|Chris Lynn||Brisbane Heat||10||420||42.00|
|Alex Carey||Adelaide Strikers||12||412||34.33|
|Colin Munro||Perth Scorchers||13||411||34.25|
Adelaide Strikers (15.00)
The Strikers can take confidence from the fact that they have already beaten some of the competition’s strongest teams this term. Adelaide has seen off the Scorchers and the Thunder this season, as well as doing the double over Eliminator opponents the Heat.
Paceman Wes Agar has undoubtedly been one of the BBL’s standout performers this year, picking up 21 wickets so far. Along with Daniel Worrall and Peter Siddle, Agar is part of one of the fiercest bowling attacks in the tournament.
Alex Carey showed his class with a century against the Heat, while fellow big-hitter Jake Weatherald has found his way to seventh in the leading run-scorer charts.
Of course, it will be difficult for the Adelaide franchise to string four wins together and go all the way this year. But the Strikers have already proved that they are more than capable of competing for the title.
Brisbane Heat (15.00)
The Heat booked their spot in the playoffs with an impressive six-run victory over the Scorchers in their final game. The Queenslanders have struggled for consistency this season, but they seem to be peaking at just the right time.
Marnus Labuschagne has returned from the Australia Test bubble to bolster Darren Lehmann’s options. Despite only playing three games, Labuschagne has scored 123 runs and taken six wickets.
Chris Lynn – the BBL’s all-time leading run-scorer – has smashed five fifties this term, averaging 42. If Lynn gets going, the Heat are invariably tough to beat.
Let’s not forget about Mark Steketee, too. Only Jhye Richardson has claimed more wickets than the Heat’s right-arm quick this season, although his team-mates will need to chip in with a few more wickets if Brisbane is to stand a chance of upsetting the odds.
Who Will Win the Big Bash League in 2021?
There is no hiding from the fact that the Strikers and the Heat will find it extremely difficult to go all the way this season. The Eliminator contenders will have to secure four straight wins to secure the title, and looking at the strength of the competition, that won’t be easy.
The Thunder require three victories in order to lift the trophy. If Hales continues to shine, Shane Bond’s side could triumph. However, Hales will need help from his team-mates.
Ultimately, I believe this year’s Big Bash winner will come from the Qualifier. In my eyes, the Sixers and the Scorchers have been on a different level to the other sides in the tournament, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the top two teams meet again in the final.
The Scorchers thrashed the Sixers by 86 runs earlier in the campaign, but the Sydneysiders gained their revenge with a seven-wicket victory over the Western Australians in the reverse fixture.
Right now, it is too close to call.
We will have betting previews for every playoff game in our cricket picks section.