The Sydney Sixers are looking to win a second Big Bash title this year, as they seek to bounce back from a disappointing season last time out following a fifth-placed finish in the group stage and ultimately failure to qualify for the knockout rounds.
The men in magenta have lost talismanic opener Nic Maddinson to the Melbourne Stars and so will be looking upon English import Joe Denly to step up to replace the left-hander. Captain Moises Henriques has recovered from a spell on the sidelines following personal issues and will be key to any success the Sixers may experience with his all-round capabilities, whilst pace duo Ben Dwarshuis and Sean Abbott are leaders within the Sixers’ bowling attack.
What you need to know
Ground - Sydney Cricket Ground
Captain - Moises Henriques
Coach - Greg Shipperd
Overseas Players- Tom Curran (ENG), Joe Denly (ENG)
Who to look out for
Gun Bat - Joe Denly
Recruited from Kent following a spell with the touring England party in Sri Lanka, opener Denly lit up the SCG in a short-but-sweet spell in New South Wales in BBL 07.
Smashing 146 runs in only four games - following his signing as a replacement for fellow English opener Jason Roy - was an inkling into the ability of the 32-year-old, and did enough to persuade the Sixers’ hierarchy to bring him back for a whole campaign this time around. Also able to bowl underrated leg spin, Denly could well be a dark horse in the tournament.
Mr Reliable - Sean Abbott
The second-highest Big Bash wicket-taker of all time, pace bowler Abbott has become a staple of the Sixers’ lineup since his cross-city transfer prior to BBL 03.
Neglected by his country following three T20 caps in 2014, Australia’s loss is the Sixers’ gain as they are able to field the right-arm quick for the whole competition. Providing nagging consistency and a mean bouncer, the 26-year-old will surely be one of the bowlers of the tournament once more.
Overseas Import - Tom Curran
Deprived of a spell in the Big Bash with the Hobart Hurricanes last year owing to an Ashes call-up for England, all-rounder Curran can look forward to an uninterrupted stint in BBL 08.
The archetypal modern-day bowler capable of producing a multitude of variations - including a deceiving back-of-the-hand slower ball - the Surrey man has impressed in his native T20 competition and will now look to prove his worth overseas.
He made a very positive impact in the ODI series Down Under last year, holding his nerve to secure success at the Perth Stadium with 5-35, and his ability and nous with ball in hand clearly impressed the hierarchy at the SCG and coerced them into drafting in the 23-year-old.
Young Starlet - Lloyd Pope
A young, red-headed leg-spinner capable of giving the ball a fierce rip, 19-year-old Pope burst into the spotlight with his match-winning 8-35 against England in the quarter-final of the 2018 under-19 World Cup, and ever since has been hotly tipped by those in the Australian development system to have a superb future in the game.
Those thoughts were compounded by his 7-47 for South Australia against Queensland in October 2018 in only his second first-class match, becoming the youngest player to take a seven-wicket haul in the Sheffield Shield. A real one to watch.