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Preview: Sixers aim to go one better in BBL

11 December 2017

Last summer's runners-up have made a few key additions to the core squad that will seek a return to their title-winning ways in BBL|07

The squad: Sean Abbott, Sam Billings (OS), Jackson Bird, Johan Botha, Ben Dwarshuis, Mickey Edwards, Jack Edwards (rookie), Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Jason Roy (OS), Jordan Silk, Mitchell Starc, Henry Thornton

Ins: Peter Nevill (Renegades), Henry Thornton (upgrade)               

Outs: Ryan Carters (retired), Brad Haddin (retired), Michael Lumb (retired), Joe Mennie (Renegades), Doug Bollinger (unsigned), Josh Hazlewood (unsigned)

The inside word: Captain Moises Henriques is in a race against time to be fit for the tournament opener after picking up a groin injury earlier this month. The allrounder is optimistic he will be right to take on the Thunder on December 19, but even if he's cleared for that match, it will be as a batsman only and he'll have to wait until later in the tournament to start bowling again.

The talking points: The Sixers have changed little to their roster from last season, a group of players that made it all the way to the final despite lacking the depth of star power enjoyed by some other clubs. They will be keen to get off to a good start to the tournament before English imports Jason Roy and Sam Billings are required for international duty, although they'll be boosted by the return of spinner Nathan Lyon after the Magellan Ashes Series. But, just like they did last season, the likes of Henriques, Daniel Hughes and Sean Abbott will be relied on to lead the way for the Magenta Men this summer.

Awesome Abbott sends Sixers into finals

BBL|06 result: The Sixers surprised many by reaching the final last season after an upset win over Melbourne Stars at the MCG in the final game of the regular season saw them secure third spot. They then held their nerve to down the Heat at the Gabba in their semi-final, with skipper Henriques dominating a Super Over with the bat to set up a decider against the Scorchers at The Furnace. Like most teams before them, the Sixers were no match for Perth in the west but it was an altogether successful season, even if they fell short at the final hurdle.

The one to watch: There aren't too many players in the world who can hit the ball quite like Englishman Jason Roy when he's in top form. The powerful English opener boasts a career strike-rate of more than 145 and averages one six per game in T20 cricket. His high-risk game does inevitably result in some low scores, but he’s a genuine match-winner when he comes off.

Roy whacks Head over the fence

The pressure on: The disappointment of losing his Test spot last summer had a detrimental effect on Nic Maddinson in BBL|06 as well, when his top score from seven matches was just 26. Having taken a much-needed break from the game at the end of last season, the powerful left-hander looks primed to regain the form that put him on the radar of national selectors in the first place. And if he does that, the Sixers could well find themselves in the top four again this season.

The fixtures: Dec 19 v Thunder (away), Dec 23 v Scorchers (home), Dec 28 v Strikers (home), Jan 1 v Scorchers (away), Jan 8 v Hurricanes (away), Jan 13 v Thunder (home), Jan 16 v Stars (away), Jan 18 v Heat (home), Jan 23 v Stars (home)

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Sydney Sixers BBL