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The 2020-21 Big Bash League was filled with frills, fireworks, and more than a few controversial moments that you would expect from a world-class Australian sports competition, but some players managed to rise above the field and impress more than the rest, we profile five of the best.

To keep things balanced and fair, the five players chosen were done based on their performance in the competition's league phase. This is because the teams who make the playoffs play more games and therefore get more opportunities to pad their statistics. Every team played the same number of matches in the group phase. With that out of the way, let's get to the list of the five best players in the 2020-21 BBL season.

Alex Hales

Alex Hales arrived in Australia with a lot to prove. He has not played in an international for England in over two years after being suspended in 2018 after being caught with recreational drugs in his system. However, at the BBL this season, he has proven that he still has the skill to be dangerous at the international level and that he has matured enough as a person.

In terms of performance, he was phenomenal for the Sydney Thunder and was one of the driving forces behind them finishing third in the group stage and earning a place in the knockout rounds. He batted at a strike rate of over 160 throughout the competition, hit over 80 boundaries, and scored a magnificent 110 off just 56 balls to singlehandedly win the game for his team against the rivals the Sydney Sixers. He also scored more runs than anyone else in the group stage of the competition.

He also made a significant impact on Thunder head coach Shane Bond, who was very impressed by Hales' mentality and growth as a person. It even moved him to accused the England and Wales Cricket Board of being far too harsh on Hales in the punishment being dished out to him and that he has matured into a "really good man".

Josh Philippe

Josh Philippe is one of the hottest properties in Australian cricket right now, and he proved, once again at the BBL, just why he is thought of so highly. The 23-year-old began the competition as one of the favourites to shine by most betting sites in Australia, and he did not disappoint. It is not difficult to see why many people are clamouring for him to be given an extended chance in the Australia team.

Amassing 454 runs in the group phase, he was second only to Alex Hales in total runs scored. He scored them at a strike rate of 149.34 with an average of 32.42. He scored three fifties and fell five agonising runs short of bagging a hundred in a match-winning performance against the Melbourne Renegades.

Glenn Maxwell

Glenn Maxwell has developed a reputation as one of the most devastating forces in the world in the T20 format of the game, and he showed why once again in the BBL this season. The Australian all-rounder didn't score the most runs, didn't have the best strike rate or average, nor did he get the highest score or take the most wickets. However, he was still one of the most impactful players in the entire tournament.

The reason for this is the aggressive way Maxwell plays the game. He either scores a lot of runs very quickly or not many and gets out quickly. The considerable benefit of this is that he doesn't waste valuable balls in innings that he doesn't score. Therefore, whenever he does get runs, it tends to be in an effort that wins the match for his team. He is the definition of an impact player.

Jhye Richardson

Despite his relatively young age, Jhye Richardson has been knocking on the Australia team's door for some time, and the 21-year-old did his chances of getting a call up no harm in the 2020-21 BBL. As well as picking up a bag full of wickets, Richardson also impressed with his raw pace, often catching unsuspecting batsmen off-guard with a well-directed short ball. It is an attribute that should serve him well throughout his career.

He finished the group stage as the leading wicket-taker in the competition, picking up 27 wickets at a strike rate of just over 12 and an economy rate of 7.2 runs per over, which is also among the best in the competition. Even though he is not an all-rounder, he has also proven himself capable with the bat, contributing valuable runs down the order when his team is in trouble.

Tanveer Sangha

Another young player to significantly impact the BBL this season, Tanveer Sangha twirled his magic to become the only spin bowler in the entire 2020-21 competition to pick up more than 20 wickets. While he is only third on the overall list of wickets taken behind Richardson and Mark Steketee, he is by far the most impressive of the spin bowlers.

By the end of the group stage, he had picked up 21 wickets at a strike rate of 13.6 and an average of just 16.66. His economy rate of 8.04 is a bit on the high side, but it's not unexpected for a right-arm leg spinner to go for a few runs, their job is to take wickets not keep the score down. Sangha was rewarded for his fine form with an international call-up to the Australia squad for their T20I series against New Zealand.

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