Perth Scorchers are the most successful Big Bash team. They won the 2016–17 tournament with a canter in the final.
Is there anything we can take from their approach?
Here are my views on how they did it, and how you can adapt the plan for your team
The BBL has seen a huge trend to chase. If you win the toss you bowl and you have a better chance of winning. This was especially true for the Scorchers who had a strong bowling attack and a batting line up good at chasing.
The strategy was simple; bowl well, keep the score to somewhere about par then knock it off with a solid, reliable top order.
This approach is not a bad one at any level. Chasing is a bit easier in limited over cricket because you have a goal to aim for. Naturally, it’s not a certainty to win, but it does convey a general advantage. It’s a solid move to win the toss and bowl, especially if your bowling is strong.
Bat to your strengths
Twenty20 used to be about smashing as many balls as possible. The BBL has seen one of the least power hitting stacked teams be one of the most successful. In other words, Perth Scorchers played to their strengths.
Ian Bell is a classic example of this. He is a touch player of the finest order. He has developed some big hits but they all come from classical techniques. He bats calmly under pressure and keeps the runs coming reliably.
Of course the Scorchers had their hitters and they were deployed with skill and with a game plan in mind, built around a more reliable top order. When they chased scores around par they knew they were nailed on to win.
Your team can do the same. Look at the players you have and they strengths those players bring to the game. Get them to understand their job in the team and work hard on getting comfortable at doing that role.
Build a squad
Perth Scorchers had a great squad with replacements doing just as good a job as the first picks. They also were consistent with selection most of the time, working to the formula that they were confident in.
This is more difficult outside of big T20 tournaments, where player availability and skill levels are far less reliable. Nevertheless, any cricket team looking to do well should be thinking about the strength in depth alongside the consistency of selection.
This might mean rotating players into the side who are not quite ready to give them a taste. It might mean picking a lesser player after an injury to the first pick and playing them in their preferred role rather than forcing them in as a fielder only. You get the idea: Work with the squad in mind, not just the first XI.
Don’t rely on numbers
T20 is more about statistics than ever. This is sensible because numbers give you a clearer picture of your best chance of success. But Perth showed the numbers never tell the whole tale.
Luck played a part in Perth’s trophy. They won tosses at the right time and took selection risks that often payed off, for example. You can’t measure luck!
It’s also tough to measure mindest, grit and skill under pressure. The Scorchers seemed to have plenty of these things. For example, Mitchell Johnson is still striving to grow his skills even though he himself admitted his greatest days are behind him. He was a powerful part of Perth’s success anyway.
Overall, it’s clear from this analysis that you can’t copy the success of any one team. Things are unique to a side and unlikely to be perfecty reflected in another team. However, you can take some of the lessons into your own team and improve your chances of success.
How can you emulate Perth Scorchers?