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BBL|05 Preview: Sydney Sixers

Last summer's runners-up will be hoping to go one better with some familiar faces

Squad: Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger, Johan Botha (OS), Ryan Carters, Ben Dwarshius, Michael Edwards, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques (c), Trent Lawford, Michael Lumb (OS), Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Stephen O'Keefe, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc

Ins: Bird (Stars), Botha (Strikers), Lawford (Strikers)

Outs: Trent Copeland, Lee (retired), Riki Wessels, Luke Doran, Simon Keen

Master Blaster

Owner of the Sixers' two highest individual scores (85 and 84no, both last season), Nic Maddinson is the jewel in the top order of the inaugural KFC Big Bash League champions. Blessed with a sharp eye and extreme power, the solid left-hander hit 16 sixes in BBL|04 on his way to a Sixers' high 284 runs for the tournament. With Australia's Test and limited-overs stars likely to be absent for most of the competition, Maddinson will be a key figure opening the batting for the Magenta Men in 2015-16. 

Strike Weapon

There was little player movement out of the SCG in the off-season, with a majority of the squad that narrowly lost the BBL final last summer retained. However, one unavoidable loss was the departure of the retired Brett Lee, so in his place the Sixers signed Sydney-born Jackson Bird from the Melbourne Stars to replace the Australian legend. Bird claimed 28 wickets in his time with the Stars including eight scalps in nine matches last season. Deadly at the start of the innings, Bird has the rare ability to nip the new ball either way, and will be pivotal if the Sixers are to go one better this year. 

Young Gun

Jordan Silk's reputation as just a patient, thoughtful accumulator against the red ball in Sheffield Shield cricket was dashed last year when the right-hander smashed the white ball to all parts for the Sixers. Silk made consecutive scores of 67 and 69no last year, crunching eight sixes in the process, and added some much-needed stability to the Sixers middle-order. Not only is the 23-year-old a gun batsman, he's also one of the best fielders in the country. 

Overseas Impact

Englishman Michael Lumb is a Sixers stalwart. The hard-hitting left-hander, who has been likened to former Australia opener Matthew Hayden, has scored the most runs for the Sixers (904) in his 35-match career in Magenta and will return for another season this summer. Johan Botha will form part of three-pronged spin attack next to Stephen O'Keefe and Nathan Lyon. And like Silk, he's an elite fielder. 

Surprise Packet

Having already represented his country at one-day international and T20 level, Sean Abbott is primed for a huge KFC Big Bash League campaign. The bowling allrounder claimed 10 wickets in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup for NSW Blues this summer, and will be a key weapon for captain Moises Henriques in the closing stages of the innings, with bat and ball. 

Fantasy Bargain

He'll play every game, take at least a wicket per match and chip in with some handy lower-order runs. Stephen O'Keefe is a steal at $40,500.