1) D’Arcy Short (Hobart Hurricanes)
Matches: 14 | Runs: 602 | 50s: 6 | Average: 54.72 | Strike rate: 139.35 | Wickets: 10 | Econ: 7.94 | BB: 2-17
The Big Bash’s leading run-scorer and one half of Hobart’s formidable opening combination, D’Arcy Short is the first name on the team sheet – literally as well as figuratively. He’s dominated attacks around the nation, smashing 20 sixes and a competition best 61 boundaries. Robbed of a century against semi-final opponent the Melbourne Stars at the MCG when a boundary was incorrectly given as leg-byes, don’t discount him on rectifying that tonight at Blundstone. Ten wickets with his ever-improving leg-spin is more than handy too.
2) Matthew Wade (Hobart Hurricanes)
M: 14 | Runs: 590 | 50s: 6 | Ave: 45.38 | SR: 147.86 | Dismissals: 9
The Hobart pair make a dynamic duo at the top of the order and can’t be split in this XI. Wade is the competition’s second-highest run scorer and only marginally behind Short. He’s been in incredible form with the bat, and has hit more sixes than Short with 21 to be equal with Chris Lynn for the most in the BBL|08 regular season. Solid behind the stumps as well, he’s been adept at reading the game and calling the shots with his captaincy.
3) Marcus Stoinis (Melbourne Stars)
M: 11 | Runs: 476 | 50s: 4 | Ave: 59.50 | SR: 136 | W: 14 | Econ: 8.20 | BB: 4-21
Crowned Australia’s best ODI player of 2018 at this week’s Australian Cricket Awards, Stoinis is a limited overs giant. His bowling struggled a bit early this season as he battled an ankle injury but was good enough to take four wickets against the Brisbane Heat at the MCG, and three wickets in two other games. And his batting has been just immense – he’s got the highest average of any of the top 20 run scorers and has crunched 46 boundaries and nine sixes, playing half a season at the cavernous MCG. And not forgetting he missed three BBL games while on Australia duty.
4) Glenn Maxwell (Melbourne Stars)
M: 11 | Runs: 287 | 50s: 2 | Ave: 31.88 | SR: 147.93 | W: 3 | Econ: 8.20 | BB: 1-6
It’s been a big week for Maxwell already – a match-winning all-round performance when his team needed it the most to secure a semi-final spot for the Melbourne Stars, and then named Australia’s T20 international player of the year at the Australian Cricket Awards. The Stars are a major beneficiary of having the international players available for Finals this summer. His strike rate this season is the lowest it has been since BBL|04, but his average is up some 11 runs since then. His off-spin can be handy, but it can on occasion also be taken apart (as the Brisbane Heat did at the Gabba) while his fielding prowess is well documented. This year Maxwell has also had to contend with being captain, helping turn the Stars from last year’s wooden spoon side to semi-finalists.
5) Callum Ferguson (Sydney Thunder)
M: 14 | Runs: 442 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 1| Ave: 34.00| SR: 134.75
The Sydney Thunder batsman played arguably the innings of the tournament when he struck a brilliant and brutal 113 not out. He reached triple figures off just 48 deliveries and powering eight sixes over the rope at Optus Stadium, no mean feat against the Perth Scorchers’ vaunted pace attack. There was one other fifty, against the Renegades at Spotless, as a late-season surge in form saw the Thunder push right to the wire in the race for a finals spot.
6) George Bailey (Hobart Hurricanes)
M: 14 | Runs: 326 | 50s: 3 | Ave: 46.57 | SR: 153.77
The evergreen George Bailey has been both a victim and beneficiary of Hobart’s powerful opening combination. Often such a solid platform had been set he could play with freedom, slashing and driving his way to 27 fours and 12 sixes, but he only got a bat in 11 of the 14 games, not that he would have minded as they all coincided with hefty Hobart wins. His top score of an unbeaten 70 came after the rare failure of his top order when they all departed for single-figure scores to underline the value of a proven middle-order performer.
7) Ashton Turner (Perth Scorchers)
M: 14 | Runs: 378 | 50s: 3 | Ave: 31.50 | SR: 132.63
The Perth rising star has capped his summer with selection in Australia’s ODI tour to India that departs next week, a move that follows his addition to the national squad during their home summer as emergency cover. That opportunity in the spotlight allowed national coach Justin Langer to wax lyrical about why Turner is on the radar, citing his match-awareness, big-game temperament and running between the wickets. He’s got a long-term shoulder problem that has restricted him from bowling his spinners, but his batting hasn’t suffered despite a tough year for Perth in a rebuilding phase.
8) Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers)
M: 14 | W: 20 | Econ: 7.65 | Ave: 19.85 | Runs: 185 | 50s: 1 | SR: 144.53
The first international in this XI, allrounder Tom Curran has been a massive hit for the Sydney Sixers – so much so they quickly signed him up for another three summers before he exited to link up with England’s ODI squad this week. That will be a huge blow to the Sixers as his more-than-handy lower order batting will be missed just as much as his seam and yorkers. An excellent outfielder as well, he produced a memorable grab on the SCG turf, and blazed 62 as well as taking three wickets in the Sydney derby.
9) Rashid Khan (Adelaide Strikers)
M: 14 | W: 19 | Econ: 6.14 | Ave: 18.10 | Runs: 93 | SR: 166.07
The whiz from Afghanistan bewitched the Big Bash again. Despite this being his second season, BBL batters didn’t much have much more of a clue against Rashid and he continued to grow his cult following and fan-favourite status. If it wasn’t whirring wrong’uns and fizzing leg-spinners it was whipped sixes with a helicopter flourish that had social media spinning. But perhaps his most remarkable feat this summer was the amazing resilience and commitment to the team he showed in taking the field just hours after learning of his father’s passing. Seeing him glumly take wickets as the New Year’s Eve match festivities raged around him was emotional, and just another stitch in the fabric that makes him so beloved Down Under.
10) Steve O’Keefe (Sydney Sixers)
M: 14 | W: 19 | Econ: 6.65 | Ave: 18.21 | Runs: 17 | SR: 60.71
Steve O’Keefe’s outstanding control and wicket-taking ability won out for the second spinner role in this XI ahead of the likes of Melbourne Renegades leggie Cameron Boyce, who offers more with the bat. O’Keefe is a key cog in the Sixers machine for BBL|08, playing his role for the team to perfection, as his 19 wickets while leaking just 6.65 runs an over attest. With Curran unavailable for the Finals, his output will be even more vital.
11) Kane Richardson (Melbourne Renegades)
M: 12 | W: 24 | Econ: 7.64 | Ave: 14.91 | Runs: 38 | SR: 97.43
The competition’s leading wicket taker with 24 scalps, even while missing two games with a hamstring injury, Kane Richardson has been nothing short of outstanding for the Melbourne Renegades this season. So much so, it has shot him back into national colours and will depart next week for a limited overs tour of India. First though, he’ll target a BBL Final starting with replicating his performance on return from the injury when he destroyed the Sixers’ top order with three quick wickets in Sydney. Funnily enough, he also took three wickets against the Sixers at Marvel Stadium, site of this week’s semi.