Strikers MVP breakdown

Travis Head

The Numbers

Matches: 9

Runs: 299

Wickets: 6

Avg: 42.71

S/R: 154.92

HS: 101*

The Case

Of all the candidates, Head’s barrow perhaps requires the least amount of pushing when it comes to the Strikers’ MVP debate.

Fans need only cast their minds back to his incredible 101 not-out on New Year’s Eve to deliver a spectacularly improbable win against the Sydney Sixers for evidence as to why the 22 year-old deserves the award. But Head’s heroics went beyond that magical night, claiming man-of-the-match honours on two other occasions for the Strikers to put together a breakout tournament for the young star.

His unbeaten half-century against the Scorchers and match-winning 3/16 spell against the Renegades in the final game of the season saw him forge a reputation as a bona-fide match-winner for the Strikers, as well as secure a place in Australia’s T20 squad for their three-game series against India.

One of the most explosive scorers in the competition and displaying an uncanny knack for taking crucial wickets at critical moments, no total or required run rate seemed out of reach with Head at the crease. Duly recognised with Team of the Tournament honours and a fourth-placed finish in the Player of the Tournament, a Strikers MVP award would be a fitting finish to an incredible BBL|05 campaign for the young rising star. 

Adil Rashid

The Numbers

Matches: 9

Wickets: 16

Avg: 14.13

Economy: 6.52

Best Bowling: 3/23

The Case

Unheralded and unknown to most local cricket pundits coming into BBL|05, the Yorkshire leggie has widely been hailed as the ‘find’ of the tournament after his incredible run for the Strikers this season.

Only bumped from the top spot in the wickets leaderboard by Thunder paceman Clint McKay in the Final, Rashid was easily the Strikers’ most consistent performer this season. Claiming a wicket in all but one match (and even then he made a critical 25 with the bat) Rashid proved a perpetual roadblock for opposition teams trying to build momentum during the middle overs of their innings.

The 27-year-old’s significant array of variations proved unpredictable to even the most experienced batsman, and in particular his well-disguised wrong’un, which he used to devastating effect throughout the tournament.

Touted by skipper Brad Hodge as a “genuine superstar” that’s likely to cause the Aussies some problems in the upcoming T20 World Cup, an MVP trophy certainly wouldn’t look out of place on his mantle back home for all he’s done for the Strikers this year.

Mahela Jayawardena

The Numbers

Matches: 7

Runs: 191

Avg: 27.29

S/R: 121.66

High Score: 57

The Case

Having to replace a player of the calibre of Kieron Pollard at the last minute is no easy feat, but Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardena more than lived up to the task for the Strikers this season.

Guiding the side through a number of difficult run chases from the top of the order, Jayawardena transitioned between anchor and aggressor with ease throughout the tournament, providing the perfect foil for Ludeman, Head and Hodge down the other end.

Renowned as a classy shot-maker, Jayawardena showed his fierce competitiveness has yet to subside since stepping down from international cricket after producing a gutsy half-century on just one leg against the Brisbane Heat to take home man-of-the-match honours.

Finishing third in the ‘Player of the Tournament’ count as voted by the umpires, Jayawardena was a critical piece for the Strikers this season.  An MVP award certainly wouldn’t be out of consideration given the context of some of his knocks.

Brad Hodge

The Numbers

Matches: 9

Runs: 191

Avg: 48.8

S/R: 127.75

HS: 56*

The Case

After suffering a broken arm that ruled him out of all but three matches last season, Hodge returned with a vengeance, and the captaincy, in BBL|05.

Finishing unbeaten in four of his nine innings, Hodge used his extensive international experience to close out the Strikers’ innings on a number of occasions, adding valuable runs in the dying overs and controlling the tempo of the match to perfection.

The 41-year-old’s captaincy was equally impressive, with a number of his bowling changes paying dividends at just the right time, none more so than his decision to bring on Head against the Renegades and a rampant Chris Gayle.

A calming influence in the changeroom and a brilliant mentor to the Strikers’ young guns, some of Hodgey’s best work may well have occurred behind the scenes in BBL|05. Having said that, what we saw on the field was still pretty darn impressive, and certainly warrants an argument for the Strikers MVP award.

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