We put on our selectors’ hats to choose an unofficial best XI from BBL|12, an exciting competition filled with spectacular individual performances and record-breaking accomplishments. The cricket.com.au editorial staff has selected the top XI players from the BBL|12 regular seasons to form an unofficial Team of the Tournament after 56 action-packed regular season games.
According to BBL regulations, only three internationals could be included (but none did), with plenty of difficult decisions sure to spark heated discussion. The tournament’s official KFC BBL|12 Team, chosen by the eight Big Bash coaches, will be unveiled on Wednesday, February 1 before the Challenger final.
Thunder and Heat compete for the grand prize BBL12.
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1. Matt Short (Adelaide Strikers)
14 matches | 458 runs | 144.47 SR | 100s: 1 | HS: 100no | Wickets: 11 | Econ: 7.13
Short has developed into one of the BBL’s standout performances after ascending to the top of the order last season. He followed up his 493-run BBL|11 campaign with a 458-run BBL|12 campaign to finish the regular season as the tournament’s best run-scorer. His undefeated century against the Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval will be remembered as one of the greatest knocks in Big Bash history.
Propelling the Strikers to the biggest successful run chase in competition history. With his off-spinners, Short has also shown to be an important element of the Striker’s assault, taking the first over in every game and often finding a significant breakthrough to go with his clean economy rate.
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2. Steve Smith (Sydney Sixers)
4 matches | 328 runs | 109.33 ave | 180.21 SR | 2 100s | 1 50s | 125no
It’s unusual for a player to make a Team of the Tournament after just four games in a 14-game season, but there’s no disputing the Australian superstar’s effect on the league since joining the Sixers following the Test summer. Not content with breaking a 12-year hoodoo for his favorite club by being their first men’s batter to score a century in the BBL, he followed it up with an even greater century against the Thunder in front of a sold-out 38,757 crowd at the SCG. One can only think how many runs he would have scored if he had played the whole season.
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3. Aaron Hardie, third (Perth Scorchers)
13 matches | 434 runs | 142.76 SR | 4 50s | 90 no | 3 Wickets | 8.00 Econ
He’s done it in the Sheffield Shield and the Marsh Cup, and now he’s done it in the Big Bash League. Hardie was promoted to No. 3 when Mitch Marsh suffered an ankle injury before to the season and made the position his own with a strong performance. Hardie, along with teammates Josh Inglis and Aaron Finch, is one of two hitters to exceed 50 four times, two of which were undefeated in run chases. Due to a quad injury, he has had a quieter campaign with the ball, but he has produced when captain Ashton Turner has needed him to.
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4. Aaron Finch (Melbourne Renegades)
14 matches | 418 runs | 41.80 ave | 122.58 SR | 4 50s | 76 HS no
With a magnificent 63 not out on a tough Marvel Stadium track, Renegades captain (he celebrated his 100th match for the club last Sunday) and Australian great Aaron Finch pushed the ‘Gades back into finals after three years entrenched at the bottom. Two of his four half-centuries, like Hardie’s, have come in successful run chases.
Following Nic Maddison’s season-ending knee injury, Finch welcomed his new position as captain, proving to be the ideal mentor for many of the young Renegades players as he helped them through difficult circumstances during the season. With Smith flourishing at the top and Finch finding fresh life at No.4, may Australia make a swap when they face South Africa in their next T20 international in September?
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5. Josh Inglis (catcher) (Perth Scorchers)
14 matches | 405 runs | 40.50 average | 150 SR | 4 50s | 74 HS | 14 CT | 2 ST
After 18 months of little playing time with the Australian side while on tour, Inglis has profited from a consistent sequence of games with the Scorchers. He was at his most adventurous all season, with the highlight being a fantastic Glenn Maxwell-inspired reverse paddle/sweep over third for six off Trent Boult, which he duplicated a few balls later for four.
Despite all of their personnel issues before to the competition, the Scorchers’ success this season has been largely down to the continuity and consistency of Hardie, Inglis, and now Cameron Bancroft. He’s also been great behind the pegs, catching numerous stunning diving catches.
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6. David, Tim (Hobart Hurricanes)
14 matches | 354 runs | 160.90 SR | 1 50s | 76no HS
While his clutch lasts over with the ball against the Heat on Wednesday may have saved the Hurricanes’ season, it was his batting maturity that shone out in BBL|12. David, along with Paddy Dooley, was one of the Hurricanes’ few bright spots in an otherwise disastrous season. While he only scored 50 once, against the Thunder, it was a career-best Big Bash knock, David’s BBL|12 season was the most productive of his five seasons in the league.
He also concluded the competition with five, not outs and a death overs (16-20) strike rate of 188.73, displaying the finishing ability that has made him so popular on the worldwide T20 circuit. But it was his performance in the middle overs (7-15) that stood out the most in comparison to his previous seasons with the Hurricanes, with 206 runs struck at 150.36, 126 more than any other season, reflecting head of the strategy Ricky Ponting’s pre-tournament desire to get David into the game earlier.
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7. Michael Neser (Brisbane Heat)
13 matches | 22 wickets | 8.60 econ | 4-25 BB | 93 runs | 127.39 SR | 45no HS
After earning another Test cap at the start of the Big Bash season, Neser had his greatest tournament in the shortest format ever. He was brilliant with the new ball, taking 10 wickets from over 1-6, more than any other bowler in the league, and 52.9 percent of his deliveries were dot balls during this time. He also has 11 death overs wickets (one behind Andrew Tye). And who can forget his stunning hat-trick against the Renegades in Geelong, as well as his boundary-line catch to remove Jordan Silk at the Gabba? (below).
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8. Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers)
13 matches | 25 wickets | 7.90 econ | 3-9 BB
The competition’s all-time leading wicket-taker continues to thrive and is a significant reason why the Sixers are vying for a record-equaling fourth triumph. Abbott became the first player to take his 150th BBL wicket in the Sixers’ triumph against the Hurricanes on Monday. Notably, BBL|12 was his best season in terms of wickets, death overs wickets, and dot ball %, and he completed the regular season with the most wickets in the league.
However, although it has been his greatest season with the ball, his 34 runs from five innings with the bat are substantially lower than his 117 at 23.40 from previous season, which hasn’t mattered much given the Sixers’ recent six-game winning streak and Abbott’s only need to bat in one of them.
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9. Andrew Tye (Perth Scorchers)
14 matches | 24 wickets | 8.20 econ | 3-27 BB
When he isn’t looking intently down the barrel of a TV camera, AJ Tye is perfecting his character. Overshadowed by Jhye Richardson’s explosiveness in the first half of the season, the BBL’s second leading wicket-taker of all-time simply went about his business to accumulate 24 wickets in the BBL|12 regular season –
His second most prolific Big Bash campaign behind last season – a testament to the work he put in during the 2020-21 season to increase his ball speed to complement his crafty variations. Tye took the most wickets in the death overs in BBL|12 (12), the most in the middle overs (10) and the third most dot balls in the regular season (130), behind only colleague Jason Behrendorff (138). (133).
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10. Tom (Melbourne Renegades)
14 matches | 21 wickets | 8.60 econ | 5-16 BB
Same Tom Rogers, new club. The ACT-born Tasmanian quickly delivered on what the Renegades were looking for when they signed him at the close of last season. In the Melbourne derby, a blazing five-wicket haul following Adam Zampa’s attempted Mankad was the highlight of a fantastic BBL|12 season. Rogers provided experience and composure in important times, and it’s no wonder that the Renegades have returned to the finals for the first time in four seasons after adding Rogers and Jon Wells.
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11. Paddy Dooley (Hobart Hurricanes)
10 matches | 19 wickets | 6.56 econ | 4-16 BB
The Brisbane attorney has been the breakout sensation of BBL|12, memorizing opponents and pundits alike with his left-arm finger spinners. In only his third BBL encounter, he made an impression by taking four wickets against the defending champions, and he concludes the regular season as the tournament’s most prolific spinner. The 25-year-old rose to cult status with to his unique bowling style, which was influenced by Indian great Jasprit Bumrah, and was often entrusted with bowling the difficult Powerplay overs by captain Matthew Wade. Unfortunately, he only played in 10 games due to separate finger and groin ailments.
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12. Jhye Richardson is ranked 12th (Perth Scorchers)
7 matches | 15 wickets | 6.75 econ | 4-9 BB
Due to a hamstring injury, he only played half of the regular season, but it was a fantastic seven matches. He was quick, frightening, and hyped up as he created an unbelievable atmosphere at Optus Stadium with two four-wicket hauls, including a hat-trick twice in one game. Richardson is expected to return for the finals as the Scorchers seek an amazing sixth BBL championship.
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Jason Behrendorff (17 wickets, 138 dot balls) and Riley Meredith (21 wickets, 133 dot balls) were unfortunate not to be selected, as were Chris Lynn (416 runs, three half-centuries) and Bancroft (289 runs at 48.16). Behrendorff was pipped by colleagues Tye and Richardson, while Bancroft was deposed by Smith’s remarkable form upon his return to the Sixers from Test duty. Players that helped their side qualify for the finals were also given preference.
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