Champion’s Advice: Attacking the final rounds

Last year's SuperCoach champion Thommo Aitken reveals his approach to achieving overall glory on the run home.

Gun Show

Greetings SC Playbook community. There is not long left in the BBL season and it is getting down to the business end of proceedings.

Alas, my quest for back-to-back SuperCoach titles has proved unsuccessful and I was unable to climb the mountain twice.

Sitting at a rank of 257 before the finals start is still a decent enough result I guess and I’ll try and crack that elusive top 100 before the season wraps up.

With three single game rounds to wrap up the season, let’s have a look at some things to consider when selecting your squad for the final few times this season.

*Note the article was written on Saturday prior to the Sixers v Scorchers clash

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All-Rounder Gold

Everyone knows that all-rounders are valuable and can score big points through scoring via the ball and the bat.

The real value in them is that they can avoid the absolute stinker. Take Michael Neser in the first final.

He was dismissed for a duck when batting (pretty handy catch by the ancient Benny Laughlin!), but with bowling and fielding he ends up with a score of 41.

This is not horrible at all and is actually the third most scored by a Strikers player on the night. We all want and will have the gun all-rounders, but the not-so-glamourous all-rounders have their place in a single game round.

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Bowl to the Max

Some bowlers will always bowl four overs. Some regularly fluctuate and won’t always bowl their full allotment. Sometimes bowling that fourth over can prove costly from an ER point of view, but it presents six extra opportunities to pick up a wicket!

Pick the Gun Captain

Personally, I wouldn’t be too outrageous with captain choices. The all-rounder who is going to get a safe score usually gets my armband.

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Stranger Things

There will always be a player who unexpectedly pops up and gets a very decent score.

Jimmy Peirson and Joe Denly scored very nicely for owners in ‘The Eliminator’. Nick Larkin had a great finals series last year with digs of 83 not out and 38 not out.

Lesser-known players like Jonathan Cook and Arjun Nair both also had days out during last year’s finals for the Thunder.

Granted, it is hard to nail which unexpected player goes high, but if you can see a bit of a role to be played by a lesser-like, perhaps an anchor role from a batting perspective, it can help you make up some ground.  

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Form Counts

Big-time players can bring their ‘A’ game in finals time, but when putting a team together recent form always is a strong consideration.

Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Swepson and Jake Weatherald all continued their good form from the regular season into Round 1 of the finals.

Likewise, Travis Head had not taken the BBL by storm since returning from Test duties and that trend continued.

Swinging Towards Bowlers

Not to say you can’t pick pure batsmen, they can score well, but I wouldn’t be heavily reliant on pure batsmen.

If a good chunk of your team are batters only and they don’t reach that magical 20 run mark, your score may be lower than originally anticipated.

For example, looking at the first final on Friday night, Lynn was dismissed cheaply as was Heazlett which resulted in low scores.

They both have no real other means to score points. Pressure builds in a finals and there tends to be wickets picked up during these matches.

Having a quick look at last year and there were 69 wickets taken across the five matches (one of which was only a 12 over match). Almost 14 wickets in each game, meaning opportunities to score points for those who roll the arm over.

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Popular for a Reason

Yes the backbone of most teams will be the same, it is just the nature of the game at this time of year. But pick who you think could go well.

Don’t just avoid someone to be different just for the sake of it. The SuperCoach community are generally speaking an intelligent group through their years of experience, so there is probably a good reason they are a heavily selected player.

You need to have some solid reasoning behind you if you are going to pull an anti-POD play.

Good luck for the rest of the season!

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