Cricket.com.au’s unofficial Team of the Tournament

After 56 jam-packed regular season games, the cricket.com.au editorial team has picked the best XI players of BBL|12 to make an unofficial Team of the Tournament.

As per BBL rules, only three internationals could be included (although none made the cut), with plenty of tough choices likely to generate plenty of debate.

The official KFC BBL|12 Team of the Tournament, selected by the eight Big Bash coaches, will be announced on Wednesday February 1 ahead of the Challenger final.

The BBL|12 finals kick off tomorrow with the Scorchers, Sixers, Renegades, Thunder and Heat vying for the ultimate prize.

1. Matt Short (Adelaide Strikers)

Matches: 14 | Runs: 458 | SR: 144.47 | 100s: 1 | HS: 100no | Wickets: 11 | Econ: 7.13

Since moving to the top of the order last season, Short has transformed into one of the BBL’s star performers. He backed up his 493-run BBL|11 campaign with a 458-run BBL|12 campaign to be the tournament’s leading run-scorer after the regular season. His unbeaten 100 di lui against the Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval will go down as one of the greatest knocks the Big Bash has seen after it guided the Strikers to the highest successful run chase in the competition history. Short has also proved a key part of the Strikers attack with his off spinners, taking the first over in every game and often finding a key breakthrough to go with his tidy economy rate.

Captain Short smacks incredible hundred

2. Steve Smith (Sydney Sixers)

Matches: 4 | Runs: 328 | Ave: 109.33 | SR: 180.21 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 1 | HS: 125no

Rarely would a player make a Team of the Tournament having made just four appearances in a 14-game season, but there’s no denying the Australian superstar’s impact on the entire competition since joining the Sixers after the Test summer. Not satisfied with breaking a 12-year hoodoo for his beloved club by becoming their first men’s batter to score a century in the BBL, he backed it up with an even better century in front of a sold-out 38,757 crowd at the SCG against the Thunder. One can only imagine how many runs he would have made had he played a full season.

Smith sparkles in Sydney Smash with second-straight ton

3. Aaron Hardie (Perth Scorchers)

Matches: 13 | Runs: 434 | SR: 142.76 | 50s: 4 | HS: 90no | Wickets: 3 | Eco: 8.00

He’s done it in the Sheffield Shield and the Marsh Cup, and now WA’s latest all-round star has done it in the Big Bash. Elevated to No.3 following the loss of Mitch Marsh to an ankle injury prior to the season, Hardie made his own position with a breakout tournament. Alongside teammate Josh Inglis and Aaron Finch, Hardie is one of two batters to pass 50 four times, and crucially two of those were unbeaten in run chases. He has had a quieter tournament with the ball owing to a quad injury, but delivered in important moments when required by skipper Ashton Turner.

Hardie blitzes sensational 90no to lead Scorchers home

4. Aaron Finch (c) (Melbourne Renegades)

Matches: 14 | Runs: 418 | Ave: 41.80 | SR: 122.58 | 50s: 4 | HS: 76no

How fitting it was that Renegades stalwart (he celebrated his 100th match for the club last Sunday) and Australian great Aaron Finch guided the ‘Gades back into finals after three years entrenched at the bottom with a superb 63 not out on a tricky Marvel Stadium wicket . Like Hardie, two of his four half centuries of him have come in successful run chases. Thrust the captaincy again following Nic Maddinson’s season ending knee injury, Finch relished his new role at No.4, proving the perfect mentor for many of the young Renegades players as he guided them through tough situations throughout the season. With Smith excelling at the top and Finch taking on a new life at No.4, could we see a switch for Australia when they play their next T20 international against South Africa in September?

Finch launches five massive sixes in whirlwind knock

5. Josh Inglis (wk) (Perth Scorchers)

Matches: 14 | Runs: 405 | Ave: 40.50 | SR: 150 | 50s: 4 | HS: 74 | Ct: 14 | St: 2

After 18 months of limited playing opportunities while touring with the Australian squad, Inglis has benefited from a settled stretch of games with the Scorchers. He was at his enterprising best all season – the highlight, an unbelievable Glenn Maxwell inspired reverse paddle/sweep over third for six off Trent Boult which he repeated for four a few balls later. Continuity and consistency from Hardie, Inglis and now Cameron Bancroft has been a huge reason for the Scorchers success this season despite all of their personal challenges prior to the tournament. He has also been fantastic behind the pegs with several spectacular diving catches.

Inglis ignites to light up Junction with superb innings

6.Tim David (Hobart Hurricanes)

Matches: 14 | Runs: 354 | SR: 160.90 | 50s: 1 | HS: 76no

While his clutch final over with the ball against the Heat on Wednesday might have briefly kept the Hurricanes season alive, it was a maturity to his batting that stood out in BBL|12. Alongside Paddy Dooley, David was one of the only shinning lights in an otherwise disappointing campaign for Hurricanes. While he only reached 50 ounces – which came against the Thunder and was a career-best knock in the Big Bash – David’s BBL|12 campaign was the most productive of his five seasons in the competition. He also finished the tournament with five not outs and a death overs (16-20) strike rate of 188.73, demonstrating the finishing prowess that has him in such high demand on the global T20 circuit. But it was his work in the middle overs (7-15) that was the starkest contrast to his previous seasons at the Hurricanes, with his 206 runs striking at 150.36 during this period 126 more than any other campaign, which reflects head of strategy Ricky Ponting’s pre-tournament desire to get David into the game earlier.

David slaughters Thunder with six sixes

7. Michael Neser (Brisbane Heat)

Matches: 13 | Wickets: 22 | Eco: 8.60 | BB: 4-25 | Runs: 93 | SR: 127.39 | HS: 45no

After adding another Test cap at the beginning of the Big Bash season, Neser enjoyed his best ever tournament in the shortest format. He was fantastic with the new ball with his 10 wickets from over 1-6 more than any other bowler in the competition, while 52.9 per cent of his deliveries during this period were dot balls. He also picked up 11 death overs wickets (one behind Andrew Tye). And who can forget his incredible hat-trick against the Renegades in Geelong and that boundary line catch to dismiss Jordan Silk at the Gabba (below).

Silk brought undone by bizarre Neser boundary juggle

8. Sean Abbott (Sydney Sixers)

Matches: 13 | Wickets: 25 | Eco: 7.90 | BB: 3-9

The competition’s highest wicket-taker of all-time continues to go from strength-to-strength and is a major reason why the Sixers are gunning for a record-equalling fourth title. Abbott claimed his 150th BBL wicket in the Sixers win over the Hurricanes last Monday – the first player to achieve the milestone. Notably, of his 12 seasons, BBL|12 has been his highest for wickets, death overs wickets and dot ball percentage, and he finished the regular season on top of the wickets tally for the entire competition. However, while it has been his best season with the ball, his 34 runs from five innings with the bat is significantly down on his 117 at 23.40 from last season, which has mattered little given the Sixers have won their last six games on the bounce and Abbott has only been required to bat in one of them.

Abbott near unplayable with stunning spell of 3-9

9.Andrew Tye (Perth Scorchers)

Matches: 14 | Wickets: 24 | Eco: 8.20 | BB: 3-27

When he’s not staring intensely down the barrel of a TV camera, AJ Tye is playing his role to perfection. Overshadowed by the explosiveness of Jhye Richardson in the first half of the season, the BBL’s second leading wicket-taker of all-time just went about his business to accumulate 24 wickets in the BBL|12 regular season – his second most prolific Big Bash campaign behind last season, which is a testament to the work he put in during the 2020-21 season to increase his ball speed to compliment his crafty variations. Tye picked up the most wickets in the death overs in BBL|12 with 12, and the most in the middle overs with 10, and delivered the third most dot balls in the regular season with 130 behind teammate Jason Behrendorff (138) and Riley Meredith (133).

10. Tom Rogers (Melbourne Renegades)

Matches: 14 | Wickets: 21 | Eco: 8.60 | BB: 5-16

New club, same Tom Rogers. The ACT-born Tasmanian quick delivered exactly what the Renegades were after when they recruited him at the end of last season. A fiery five-wicket haul after Adam Zampa’s attempted Mankad in the Melbourne derby was the standout in a sensational BBL|12 campaign. Rogers delivered the experience and calmness in big moments, and it’s no surprise that after the addition of Rogers and Jon Wells that the Renegades have returned to the finals for the first time in four seasons.

Rogers runs riot with five in Melbourne derby

11. Paddy Dooley (Hobart Hurricanes)

Matches: 10 | Wickets: 19 | Econs: 6.56 | BB: 4-16

The Brisbane solicitor has been the breakout star of BBL|12 with his left-arm finger spinners memorizing opponents and commentators alike. He announced himself with four wickets against the reigning champions in just his third BBL match and finishes the regular season as the most prolific spinner in the tournament. The 25-year-old shot to cult-like status due to his unusual bowling action inspired by Indian star Jasprit Bumrah and was often entrusted with bowling the tough Powerplay overs by skipper Matthew Wade. Unfortunately, separate finger and groin injuries limited him to just 10 games during the season.

12th. Jhye Richardson (Perth Scorchers)

Matches: 7 | Wickets: 15 | Econs: 6.75 | BB: 4-9

He only played half the regular season due to a hamstring injury but it was a thrilling seven matches. He was fast, intimidating and pumped up as he ignited an incredible atmosphere at Optus Stadium with two four-wicket hauls, which included being on a hat-trick twice in the once match. Expect to see Richardson back for finals as the Scorchers look to add an unprecedented fifth BBL title to their trophy cabinet.

Richardson the destroyer picks up another four-for

Honorable mentions

Jason Behrendorff (17 wickets with 138 dot balls) and Riley Meredith (21 wickets with 133 dot balls) were unlucky to miss out on selection, as was Chris Lynn with 416 runs, which included three half centuries, and Bancroft (289 runs at 48.16 ). In Behrendorff’s case he was pipped by teammates Tye and Richardson, and Bancroft was unseated by the sensational form of Smith following his return to the Sixers from Test duties. Preference was also given to players who helped their team qualify for finals.

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