Star Sydney Thunder recruit Alex Hales will enter the BBL finals with a massive target on his back - and his teammates could reap the rewards.
Hales ended the regular season as the tournament's leading runscorer, with the 32-year-old bludgeoning 535 runs at an average of 41.15 and strike rate of 163.6.
His 30 sixes for the season is a BBL record and he looms as a key figure in Sunday's knockout clash against either Brisbane or Adelaide.
Thunder allrounder Chris Green has been awestruck by the performances of Hales.
And although he hopes Hales will continue his match-winning ways in the finals, Green said others could step up to the plate even if the Englishman comes unstuck.
"He's been brilliant," Green said.
"He's set the tone with the bat and he's cleared the rope the most times in the tournament as well. He's been in tremendous form.
"Hopefully it is still him as we go through the finals. But it's also a great opportunity for other guys now to step up as well.
"As we know, all bowlers will be setting up to take Hales out and hopefully that provides opportunity for other guys to step up and win us the game as well."
The Thunder are sweating on the fitness of star allrounder Daniel Sams, who missed the past three matches with bone and ligament damage to his right hand.
A three-match losing run at the back-end of the regular season threatened to cost the Thunder a finals berth, but two wins in the final three rounds got them over the line.
With matches still unable to be played in Sydney, the Thunder will host their knockout final at Canberra's Manuka Oval.
"We've played a lot of cricket there this season and made it a home away from home given the circumstances in Sydney," Green said.
"We're really looking forward to a good crack at the finals this year."
Australian Associated Press