The 2017/18 Big Bash League is up and running with three matches already over. On Thursday, we saw the Hobart Hurricanes beating the Melbourne Renegades thanks to a terrific 79 from Cameron White and a brilliant spell of 5/28 from Dwayne Bravo.
The Big Bash League was established in 2011 and has had six seasons so far, with the current one being the tournament's seventh edition. So far, the previous six seasons have been won by four different teams. Let us take a look at the journey of the champions of each BBL season.
#6 2011/12 - Sydney Sixers
During the first season of the BBL, Sydney Sixers were coached by Trevor Bayliss and were captained by Brad Haddin. They had a pretty powerful team, consisting of the likes of Haddin Steve Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Brett Lee, Mitchell Starc and the experienced Stuart MacGill.
The Sixers began by winning the first ever BBL game against Brisbane Heat thanks to some terrific veteran performances. Haddin scored 77 with the bat as MacGill took 4/20 with the ball. However, the Sixers were easily beaten by the Hobart Hurricanes in their second match.
The Sixers won their third match by a narrow margin of 2 runs against Melbourne Stars. However, they were beaten convincingly by the Melbourne Renegades in their fourth game. This was to be their last defeat of the league as they won the remainder of their matches to end their table in third place and reached the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, the Sixers were up against Hobart Hurricanes and avenged their earlier defeat by beating them by 7 runs. In the final, the Sydney Sixers were up against the Perth Scorchers. The Scorchers batted first and put up 156 on the board thanks to Mitchell Marsh’s 77. The Sixers’ run-chase began brilliantly by Moises Henriques and Steve O’Keefe as the duo added 110 for the first wicket. Henriques departed on 70 but the match was more or less over by then.
Some late hard-hitting by stand-in skipper Steve Smith took the Sixers over the line with more than an over remaining. Nic Maddinson was Sydney Sixers’ top-scorer and the 5th overall with 275 runs at an average of 30.55. Mitchell Starc was the pick of the bowlers with 13 wickets at an average of just 13.53. He was the joint third highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
#5 2012/13 - Brisbane Heat
Brisbane Heat narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot in the inaugural season of the BBL. However, they were determined to put up a much better showing in the 2012-13 season. However, they began their season with a defeat to the Hobart Hurricanes.
Brisbane Heat bounced back to win an exciting second match against Adelaide Strikers which went down to the last ball. They went on to lose their next two matches against Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades which out them on the brink of elimination.
Brisbane Heat won their next two matches against Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder and both wins were convincing wins. They lost their next match Sydney Sixers but won their final match against Hobart Hurricanes which put both teams and Adelaide Strikers level on points while only one team could qualify for the semi-finals.
Brisbane Heat had a superior net run rate and were through to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, a tremendous century from Luke Pomersbach helped Brisbane Heat avenge their earlier defeat and took them to the final. Here, they would face another team which defeated them earlier- Perth Scorchers.
Some brilliant batting by Joe Burns and Dan Christian took the Brisbane Heat to 167/5 in their 20 overs. In reply, the Scorchers could only score 133/9 thanks to some brilliant bowling by Kemar Roach, Alister McDermott and Ben Cutting.
Luke Pomersbach was Brisbane Heat’s best batsman and was the second highest run-scorer of the competition with 397 runs at an average 44.11 and a strike rate of nearly 140. His 112 in the semi-final was also the highest individual score of the tournament.
In the bowling department, Ben Cutting topped the charts and was the joint second-highest overall with 13 wickets at an average of 14 and an impressive economy of 6.27.
#4 2013/14 - Perth Scorchers
Perth Scorchers had become the England of BBL. They reached the final during the previous two seasons but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. This time, they were keen on going a step further and win the tournament.
However, they did not have a very good start to their campaign as they lost to reigning champions Brisbane Heat in their opening match thanks to Chris Lynn’s 81. They came back well by beating the Melbourne Renegades by 6 runs in a low-scoring thriller. They lost to Adelaide Strikers but defeated Sydney Thunder thanks to veteran Simon Katich’s 42-ball 75.
The Scorchers won their next three matches against Hobart Hurricanes, Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers. All these matches were extremely close with the match against Sydney Sixers being decided by a Super Over.
Simon Katich, Craig Simmons and Uasir Arafat became the forefront of the team through their consistent performances. Simmons became the tournament’s first and only centurion with his 41-ball 102 against Adelaide Strikers which is the quickest in BBL history.
The Scorchers lost their final league game against Melbourne Stars but they were already through to the semi-finals as the third-placed team in the table.
In the semi-finals, Perth Scorchers were up against the Sydney Sixers. Craig Simmons scored his second century of the tournament to take his team to 193/5. Due to rain, the Sixers’ target was reduced to 54 in 5 overs. However, some brilliant bowling by Jason Behrendorff won the match for Perth Scorchers by 5 runs to take them to their third consecutive BBL final.
In the final, Perth Scorchers faced Hobart Hurricanes. Some brilliant batting by the Marsh brothers took the Scorchers to 191/4. Shaun hit 63 off 43 while Mitch smashed 37 off just 12. Some sensational bowling from Scorchers restricted Hobart Hurricanes to just 152. Perth Scorchers finally won the title.
In batting, Simon Katich and Craig Simmons were both amongst the top 5 run-scorers of the tournament. Katich was 2nd with 314 runs at a strike rate of 130.83 while Simmons was 4th with 278 runs at a strike rate of 165.47. Yasir Arafat and Jason Behrendorff were the pick of the bowlers. Arafat took 12 wickets at an economy of 7.37 while Behrendorff took 11 wickets at an economy of 6.37.
#3 2014/15 - Perth Scorchers
Reigning champions Perth Scorchers continued their trend of starting their BBL with a loss. They were beaten by Adelaide Strikers in an exciting thriller despite Jason Behrendorff’s spell of 4/22. However, they came back strongly by beating the Melbourne Renegades thanks to Michael Klinger’s 105.
The Scorchers won their next match against Sydney Sixers but lost their next match to Sydney Thunder. They were having a league stage similar to their previous season as they won their first and third match, lost their second and fourth match, won their next three games and lost their final league game.
However this time, they ended second in the league table. In the semi-finals, Perth Scorchers were up against the Melbourne Stars. A 50 from Michael Carberry and a brilliant spell of 4/18 from Andrew Tye took the Scorchers to their fourth consecutive BBL final.
The final of the 2014-15 BBL was a rematch of the previous final between Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers. Sydney Sixers batted first and put up 147/5 on the board thanks to a 57-ball from skipper Moises Henriques.
Perth Scorchers were off to a great start with openers Shaun Marsh and Michael Klinger adding 70 for the first wicket. Marsh batted brilliantly, scoring 73 but Perth Scorchers were losing wickets on the other end. They needed 8 from the final over to win.
Michael Carberry scored 7 runs from the first three deliveries to level the scores. However, Brett Lee kept the Sixers in the match by taking wickets in the nest two deliveries. However, a fumble from skipper Moises Henriques in the final delivery gave the Scorchers their second BBL title. This made them the first team to defend their title in the BBL. Michael Klinger was the top scorer of the tournament while Jason Behrendorrf, Yasir Arafat and Andrew Tye were among the top 5 wicket-takers.
#2 2015/16 - Sydney Thunder
Sydney Thunder were statistically the worst team of the BBL before the 2015-16 season as they were among the bottom two teams in the previous four seasons. The 2014-15 was their best season till date where they ended second to last.
However, they begun the 2015-16 BBL by winning their first match against the Sydney Sixers by 36 runs thanks to Mike Hussey’s 80. They narrowly defeated Melbourne Stars by a run in their next match. Usman Khawaja scored 109.
Their winning streak continued as they beat Adelaide Strikers in their third game. However, this was followed by four successive losses against Hobart Hurricanes, Brisbane Heat, reigning champs Perth Scorchers and Melbourne renegades.
It seemed like Sydney Thunder may once again miss out on a semi-final spot. However, a 46-run win against Sydney Sixers thanks to Shane Watson and Andre Russell who were brilliant with the bat, and Fawad Ahmed and Chris Green who were brilliant with the ball.
In the semi-finals, they were up against table-toppers Adelaide Strikers. A second century by Usman Khawaja helped Sydney Thunder beat the Strikers and reach their first BBL final. Here, they would face Melbourne Stars who were in their first final as well after losing four consecutive semi-finals.
In the final, Thunder had to chase down 177 to win. A 40-ball 70 from Khawaja and a few cameos from Aiden Blizzard and Ben Rohrer helped Thunder win the match with three balls to spare. Usman Khawaja and Michael Hussey were both amongst the top 5 run-scorers (2nd and 4th) while Clint McKay was the top wicket-taker of the tournament with 18 wickets.
However, their best all-round player was Andre Russell who scored 185 runs at a strike rate of nearly 187 and was the joint second-highest wicket-taker with 16 wickets.
#1 2016/17 - Perth Scorchers
BBL’s most successful team Perth Scorchers finally ended their streak of reaching the final of every BBL season by exiting the 2015-16 BBL in the semi-finals. They began the 2016-17 season by ending their streak of first match losses.
The Scorchers began by defeating Adelaide Strikers by 48 runs thanks to Ian Bell’s 61 and Mitchell Johnson’s 3/33. They lost their next match against Sydney Sixers before beating the Melbourne Renagdes. Perth Scorchers then defeated reigning champs Sydney Thunder by 50 runs thanks to Mitch Marsh’s all-round performance.
They were comprehensively beaten by Brisbane Heat before beating them by 27 runs in the return leg. The Scorchers lost to Melbourne Stars before ending their league stage by beating Hobart Hurricanes convincingly.
Perth Scorchers topped the table and were up against Melbourne Stars in the semi-finals. A sensational spell of 3/3 by Mitchell Johnson limited the Stars to 136/8. The Scorchers chased down the target with more than three overs to spare to reach their fifth BBL final.
It was the third BBL final which featured Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers. A spell of 3/30 from youngster Jhye Richardson restricted the Sixers to 141/9. A sensational 71 from Michael Klinger and crucial contributions from Sam Whiteman and Ian Bell helped the Scorchers chase down the target with more than four overs to spare. The Perth Scorchers thus won their 3rd BBL title.
Michael Klinger was their star batsman and the 3rd highest run-scorer while Mitchell Johnson was the fourth-highest wicket-taker of the tournament. Klinger also became the highest run-scorer in BBL history.