Squad Breakdown: Sydney Thunder player-by-player analysis

We take a look at the Sydney Thunder's likely XI for the upcoming season, with in-depth SuperCoach analysis on every player.

Pre-season Squad Breakdown

Despite finding some consistency in recent years, the Sydney Thunder have underwhelmed across the past decade.

They claimed their sole title back in the 2015/16 season which was also their only grand final appearance.

Consecutive finals appearances show they’re heading in a positive direction, and maintaining the brunt of their squad should bode well for the side’s balance.

International signing Saqib Mahmood is likely to take part in the England Lions clash with Australia A that would rule him out of the early part of the season.

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We’ve kept him out of the starting side for now, but will provide information on the key import below.

The Thunder don’t have a bye this season making them pretty safe options in your squad, while they have the double game week in Round 10.

Newest SC Playbook contributor and cricket whiz Max Bryden has done the hard yards to predict the starting XI of each team, I’ll be running my analysis off these forecasts.

Note that the starting XI’s will alter throughout the season as new signings land, form alters and injuries strike, we’ll do our best to update as the news drops.

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ALEX HALES (BAT) // $183,900 // BBL10 SC Ave: 58.9

While he’ll cost you a hot dollar, Hales looms as a massive POD to begin the season despite having no doubles until late in the tournament.

After a slow start to last year’s campaign, he found form and proved one of the most consistent scorers in the game despite being a specialist batsmen, finishing as the competition’s top run-scorer with an average of 38.78 at a strike-rate of 161.60.

In 15 games, he recorded three SuperCoach tonnes and seven scores of 70+.

The season prior he was again superb, averaging 56.6 SC points with five tonnes and a 95 in his 17 games.

It does reflect the risk though in that if he does score sub 20 runs he can go very low, like every batting only option.

The upside is undeniable though, and if he does add the strike-rate bonus it’s always significant.

His form across the Vitality Blast and The Hundred competition in the UK has been solid, recording double digit scores in eight of his last nine knocks, with a top score of just 40*.

Certainly a risk, but one that could pay off massive dividends.

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MATTHEW GILKES (WKP/BAT) // $62,500 // BBL10 SC Ave: –

Gilkes is the big winner with Khawaja and Davies set to miss the start of the tournament.

Starting at a bargain rate and hopefully opening the bat is an exciting prospect for SuperCoaches.

The 22-year-old leftie has played 11 career T20s averaging 18.00 at a strike-rate of just 104.34.

Don’t be too deterred by these stats though, his role and output should change significantly if opening.

In two recent Shield outings he has returns of 16, 0, 25 and 20.

He’s certainly not a guy I’d play in my starting team, but at the price he’s a genuine cash cow option with dual WKP/BAT positioning should others not emerge early on.

OLLIE DAVIES (BAT) // $74,200 // BBL10 SC Ave: 23.8

The retirement of skipper Callum Ferguson opens a slot for boom rookie Ollie Davies to come in at number three.

Following blistering scoring in Sydney grade, he burst onto the scene last season with a few whirlwind knocks in the Big Bash.

He’s as raw as they come, bursting with talent but still very much developing the art of crafting an innings.

The ability is undeniable, and last year’s match experience will do wonders for him this time around.

After a strong start to his BBL career, he failed miserably in troubling the scorers.

His past four knocks for NSW in last season’s Marsh Cup produced returns of 19, 28, 40* and 57.

To me he looks a perfect loophole option that will take up very little cap space, while starting him in your side appears very risky.

UPDATE: Davies suffered an injury in Sydney Grade cricket and is expected to miss the opening round of the tournament. This will likely see Jason Sangha come into team and bat at five below Ross.

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SAM BILLINGS (WKP/BAT) // $136,300 // BBL10 SC Ave: 43.6

In 11 games last season Billings was a little hit and miss, scoring 260 runs at an average of 28.88 with a strike-rate of 142.85.

He should play most of the tournament, and Khawaja’s Ashes selection and Davies’ injury should see him bat at three at least until Davies returns.

This should see him get ample opportunity to impress, while the wicketkeeping duties are a significant bonus.

He can go large, as evidenced by a top score of 174 last season.

Most recently he scored 27* for England against NZ in a World T20 warm up match.

Prior to that his form wasn’t terrific across England’s Vitality Blast and The Hundred competition, producing knocks of 2, 14, 56, 12 and 9.

Despite this, he’s a world class player with enough runs over time to suggest he can flourish on the flat Aussie decks.

I don’t mind him as an early season POD, but if I’m going against double game week players I’d be looking for genuine guns.

ALEX ROSS (BAT) // $66,800 // BBL10 SC Ave: 21.4

Likely batting at four due to Khawaja/Davies absense, I still don’t see much appeal at all in Ross.

DANIEL SAMS (BAT/BWL) // $203,700 // BBL10 SC Ave: 65.2

No double till Round 10, no worries…

Sams is an out and out gun in the SuperCoach world and I find it very hard to leave him out of my round one team.

The allrounder is extremely consistent, evidenced last season with no scores under 20.

He’s a prolific wicket-taker that can go nuts with the bat.

He had two tonnes last season, including a high score of 153.

In the 2019/20 season he averaged 68.5 SC points across 17 games, with five tonnes and two 90+ scores in the mix.

Head back a season earlier and he averaged a very healthy 59.1 SC points.

The bowling allrounder last season scored 200 runs at an average of 40, with a strikerate of 188.67! Weapon…

He took 11 wickets in 10 games at an economy of 8.51.

In 2019/20 he topped the wicket tally with 30 scalps to his name, eight clear of second place.

Enough said, get him in…

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BEN CUTTING (BAT/BWL) // $132,200 // BBL10 SC Ave: 42.3

Cutting is somewhat of a SuperCoach enigma, proving extremely hard to catch when going large.

Primarily a bowling allrounder, he’s one of the biggest pinch-hitters in world cricket.

His late innings cameos with the bat are vital to his SuperCoach output, yet they are far from guaranteed.

When he gets a semi decent crack with the blade he can be one of the best players in SC.

Due to his role he almost always accumulates maximum strikerate bonus points when scoring 20+.

To highlight his inconsistency, in 15 games, he had three 90+ scores last season, with a top of 113. He also had five scores of sub 24.

The season prior he averaged 53.6 SC points, that included three 120+ scores and four sub 20 scores.

In the two years prior he averaged 63.6 and 47.4 SC points.

With the bat last season he scored 280 runs at an average of 40, with a strikerate of 156.42.

In his recent Pakistan Super League stint following last year’s Big Bash, he had scores of 10, 23, 0, 5 and 11. He bowled three times for returns of 1/23, 0/31 and 0/20.

Should he be utilised a little more significantly with the willow I’ll strongly consider, but as a veteran of the side I can’t see his role changing too dramatically, so for me it’s a wait and watch.

CHRIS GREEN (BWL) // $124,500 // BBL10 SC Ave: 39.9

Green is a solid enough scorer but it’s hard to make a case for him.

A lack of wickets makes his ceiling a fair bit lower than other options.

His last four SuperCoach seasons have produced averages of 39.9, 37.7, 48.9 and 51.3.

Last season he played 14 games, taking 13 scalps at an economy of 8.61.

I do think his career T20 economy of 6.98 is a more accurate gauge, but with 102 wickets in 125 T20s he just doesn’t take enough to produce big scores.

His most recent cricket came in the Caribbean Premier League, where he took just five wickets in his last 10 games and batted at number nine.

Not for me, possibly late in the season for the double if cheap enough.

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NATHAN MCANDREW (BWL) // $127,400 // BBL10 SC Ave: 40.8

McAndrew was fairly consistent last season, producing just one score under 24, and a top score of 94. Eight of his 13 scores were between 24 and 45.

He took 15 wickets in 13 games with an economy of 9.75.

Like any bowler he can take a bag of wickets on his day, but I don’t quite think he has the ceiling of other options.

Further, there will be job security issues when Mahmood returns from international duty.

In recent ODIs for South Australia he’s produced returns of 0/15, 1/51 and 1/70.

He’s chipped in some handy runs, including a 65* off 80 balls in a recent Shield clash, so he may push for a higher spot up the order, but it won’t affect much.

BRENDAN DOGGETT (BWL) // $176,000 // BBL10 SC Ave: 62.6

Doggett made his presence felt in just five games last season, taking nine wickets at a highly impressive economy of 6.60.

It resulted in a healthy SC average of 62.6, including a top score of 123.

The year prior he averaged just 20.4 points in eight games.

There’s obviously SuperCoach potential in him, but with his wickets and spectacular economy rate in his small stint suggests his price may well be inflated.

Further, there’s again job security issues when Mahmood becomes available.

He does have recent Marsh Cup returns of 1/29 and 4/75, so the form line is strong.

Not for me, but well worth watching, particularly if bowling at the death for the Thunder.

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TANVEER SANGHA (BWL) // $131,800 // BBL10 SC Ave: 42.2

Sangha was a revelation last season, and I was a little surprised to see he averaged just 42.2 points.

He was the fifth top wicket-taker with 21 scalps in 15 games.

In his first 11 games last season he had a top score of 141 and a low of just 23.

However, he brought his average down significantly late on with SC scores of 3, 23 and 3.

He’s hard to assess, as one of Australian cricket’s most promising up and coming spinners the potential is huge.

However, he’s also very young and you could argue the massive haul of wickets has his price inflated.

I think he’s one that could well pay off big for anyone willing to take the gamble, but at an awkward price I think I’ll sit back and watch early.


USMAN KHAWAJA (BAT) // $93,300 // BBL10 SC Ave: 29.9

One of the most consistent Big Bash players in history, Khawaja has struggled to stamp his marking in recent editions of the tournament.

Last year he averaged just 29.9 SC points, backing up his 32.4 the season prior.

Last season, he notched 338 runs at an average of 24.14 with a strikerate of 127.54

Australian duty limited his appearances in prior years, but he has a swag full of runs over the past decade.

The good news is that he starts very cheap for this year’s tournament.

He’s coming off a last start 174 in the Sheffield Shield for Queensland.

Prior to that, he had a campaign in the T20 Pakistan Super League where he finished with scores of 1, 70*, 105, 12, 0, 40* and 18.

Do be aware though he may be called up to the Australia A team which would likely see him miss the first few rounds if selected.

It’s an impressive form line that will tempt some heading into the opener due to the cheap starting price and proven class.

*UPDATE: Khawaja has been selected in Australia’s Ashes squad and may play a limited roll in the tournament.

SAQIB MAHMOOD (BWL) // $125,000

Mahmood will miss at least the first few matches due to England Lions duty, from there it’s unknown what his role in the English squad will be.

His T20 career has produced 59 wickets in 48 matches at an economy of 8.56.

In his past seven games in England’s The Hundred tournament he took just five wickets and proved quite expensive.

One to monitor…



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