Richard Mann previews the T20 Big Bash which gets underway on Wednesday with one squad in particular making plenty of appeal in the outright market.
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The bonanza that is the Big Bash gets underway on Wednesday and at the risk of stating the blatantly obvious, Perth Scorchers look to have another outstanding chance of lifting the trophy and make strong appeal at 9/2.
The Scorchers are the most successful side in the history of the competition having having claimed Big Bash glory three times in seven years, their wonderfully well-drilled outfit led by a quite brilliant pace attack and backed up by an accomplished and dependable batting line-up.
Despite been blighted by a host of injuries last year, plus international call-ups for the Marsh brothers, Perth still managed to top the league table having won eight of their ten matches.
Their golden run came to an end when they were blown away by the Hobart Hurricanes in the semi-finals but the campaign was another successful one for a Scorchers outfit who are arguably the most consistent T20 side in the history of franchise cricket.
Much of their success has been built around an impressive bowling unit that has continued to successfully defend low scores while the batting, despite lacking a little X-Factor, is more than serviceable and has a touch of brilliance when Shaun Marsh is free from international commitments.
Ashton Turner, Hilton Cartwright and Mitchell Marsh give the Scorchers that much-needed power for the later overs while the experienced Michael Klinger provides glue at the top order.
Klinger wasn't quite as prolific last year - due in part to illness to his wife - but he was once again prolific for Gloucestershire in the Vitality Blast in England only a few months ago and if he can set the tone, the Scorchers will invariably be well placed.
It is testament to the resilience and quality within the squad that, despite no batsman scoring 300 runs in last season's competition, they were still able to make the play-offs and overcome a host of injuries to a number of their frontline bowlers.
Former coach Justin Langer has clearly built the Scorchers squad on strong foundations and with ex-captain Adam Voges taking over in that role following Langer's promotion to head-coach of Australia, expect little to change on that front.
The appointment of Mitchell Marsh as captain is an exciting one and his recent omission from Australia's Test team leaves him with a point to prove and needing to make an impact in the opening few games of the Big Bash.
David Willey's retention as one of two overseas players gives the Scorchers wonderful flexibility, particularly if they want more firepower at the top of the order, while the addition of Pakistani leg-spinner Usman Qadir alongside the high-class Ashton Agar offers the possibility of a potent spin attack, too.
In summary, the Scorchers really do look to have all angles covered and having enjoyed so much success in this competition already, there are certainly no question marks regarding their ability to get the job done on the big stage.
Another deep run surely beckons and at 9/2, I find it hard to look elsewhere.
Last year's winners the Adelaide Strikers certainly merit plenty of respect again with Jason Gillespie's outfit sure to be well drilled and a tough nut to crack in home conditions.
With an attack led by brilliant Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, well supported by the pacey Billy Stanlake and Peter Siddle, the Strikers are another outfit who have proven most reliable when defending totals, however small.
With Jake Weatherald coming of age with a hundred in last year's final and Colin Ingram and Travis Head providing experience and firepower in the middle order, the batting is clearly boats some star quality.
However, Head is unlikely to feature all that much due international commitments and his absence might just leave the Strikers light in that department.
There are certainly worth keeping on side, particularly at home, when bowling second but the suspicion is that they will come up short in their bid to defend the title.
While Adelaide will have concerns around the depth of their batting, last season's runners-up the Hobart Hurricanes have proven one of the most expensive bowling attacks in the competition.
The brilliant Jofra Archer apart, the Hurricanes leaked runs last term and the signing of experienced campaigner Johan Botha is certainly needed, promising as it does to give skipper George Bailey the control he badly requires in the middle overs.
Archer was simply magnificent in last season's tournament, picking up 16 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 7.96, and another strong campaign could see him force his way into England's World Cup plans next summer. Watch this space.
Exciting batsmen D'Arcy Short and Ben McDermott have both featured for Australia in white-ball cricket following their exploits for the Hurricanes last season while the Sydney Thunder have bolstered their already strong batting roster by signing Joe Root to slot in alongside fellow Englishman Jos Buttler.
The Thunder should have few problems making enough runs to stay competitive but their bowling again remains a concern while the Melbourne Renegades are another sure to be badly affected by Australia's hectic international summer - Aaron Finch is another expected to be unavailable for much of the competition - while Dwayne Bravo's defection to rivals the Melbourne Stars is another big blow.
The Stars, perennial Big Bash disappointments, look to have assembled one of their weakest squads in recent seasons but that might be no bad thing with coach Stephen Fleming having the chance to finally lay the foundations for a better team culture and a stronger team ethic.
Big names and marquee signings are one thing but as the Scorchers have shown in recent years, the better balanced and well-drilled teams tend to do the most winning.
Experienced campaigners Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis will need to buy into that but with both pushing hard to stay in the Australian set-up, their motivation and performances should match their obvious capabilities.