Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers
Saturday 4:10pm AEDT at Traeger Park, Alice Springs
The Adelaide Strikers and the Perth Scorchers are the two best teams in the BBL this year and are currently locked on the same number of points in first place. They are also quite similar in their team composition and the manner in which they approach their matches. This could be a very closely fought and intriguing match to watch.
|Strikers v Scorchers||Recommended Bets|
|Winner||Perth Scorchers WIN ($2.10)|
|Top Strikers Batsman||Colin Ingram|
|Top Scorchers Batsman||Ashton Agar|
|Top Strikers Bowler||Rashid Khan|
|Top Scorchers Bowler||Mitchell Johnson|
The Adelaide Strikers will lose the services of Travis Head as he joins the Australian international squad but that will still leave the Strikers with plenty of firepower in both the batting and the bowling side of things. Like their opponents, the Perth Scorchers, the Adelaide Strikers have built a team that has an excellent bowling attack.
Billy Stanlake bowled at speeds of close to 150 km/h in the last match and completes an astonishing bowling attack with the likes of Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Ben Laughlin, and Michael Neser.
Travis Head is a quality player and his loss will definitely be felt in the batting lineup but Carey, Ingram, and Wells have done enough to suggest that the Strikers will be able to manage without him. The Wolf feels that Jake Lehmann will have to take a little more responsibility in the upcoming matches as he is likely to move up one place in the batting order.
The Perth Scorchers welcomed back Cameron Bancroft into the side after his international duties and he responded with a brilliant 75 from 56 balls to almost take his team home in a thriller. Only Bancroft and Cartwright reached double figures in a poor batting display by the defending champions.
Yes, they lost by just 3 runs in the end but the Scorchers depended on individual brilliance rather than a sustained build up by the team. The Scorchers have lost their most effective bowler in the tournament, Andrew Tye as well as the impressive Jhye Richardson. They should, however, have Shaun Marsh back in the side pretty soon.
The Scorchers have so far dominated teams based on their bowling strength and even though they still have some quality bowlers, this aspect of their cricket will also be tested thanks to the call-up of their leading bowlers.
Head to Head
The past record between the two teams is a very even 5-5 after 10 matches. No one team has had a sustained string of success against the other. The last four matches have been shared 2-2 by both the teams as well.
This match will be played at Alice Springs, the first time that two teams play each other at the venue. The Wolf expects for there to be some spin on offer and although the boundaries are not too long, run-scoring could be slightly difficult.
Both the teams are going to have to come to term with loss of some major players. The Wolf is confident that the Perth Scorchers can find a new balance and come back strong after their defeat to the Thunder. They are the underdogs in this match and being offered at a very attractive price.
Top Batsman Adelaide Strikers
Colin Ingram is going to be the main batting stay for the Strikers in the absence of Travis Head. Ingram has 182 runs in the tournament so far, a decent return but nothing like the carnage he can do on the cricket field. There is plenty of pace in the Perth bowling but with Tye and Jhye Richardson absent, there may be an opportunity to get on top of them.
Top Perth Scorchers Batsman
Scoring runs against the Strikers is not easy because they have a quality bowling attack that will keep coming at the batsmen without any respite. The Wolf is going with Ashton Agar as a left-field pick here. Agar has batted in four innings and scored 103 runs at a strike rate of 153.73. The Wolf thinks he could be promoted to tackle Rashid Khan and have an opportunity to score runs at the top of the order. He is well worth a punt.
Top Adelaide Strikers Bowler
Rashid Khan has been an absolute revelation in this tournament thanks to his energy and the ability to confound the best of the players. He will be bowling to a lineup that has struggled against quality spin and the Wolf thinks Khan could run through them if he gets a little bit of luck on his side. His 11 wickets at an astonishing economy rate of 5.20 speak volumes about the form he is in at the moment.
Top Perth Scorchers Bowler
Mitchell Johnson is the second highest wicket-taker in the Perth Scorchers lineup after Andrew Tye. He may have retired from international cricket but Johnson can still crank it up to some scary speeds. He has 7 wickets at an economy rate of 5.70 and will need to step up and lead this depleted Perth Scorchers bowling.
Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
Saturday 7:20pm AEDT at SCG
The first match between the Sydney Sixers and the Sydney Thunder turned out to be a thriller that Thunder won and the Sixers never recovered from. Now, with 6 losses from 6 games, it is all about salvaging as much of the season as possible for the Sydney Sixers while the Sydney Thunder still have a shot at making the knockouts.
|Sixers v Thunder||Recommended Bets|
|Winner||Sydney Thunder WIN ($1.73)|
|Top Sixers Batsman||Jordan Silk|
|Top Thunder Batsman||Usman Khawaja|
|Top Sixers Bowler||Daniel Sams|
|Top Thunder Bowler||Fawad Ahmed|
There has been very little to write home about for the Sixers this season. They are now going to be faced with the prospect of re-jigging their side because Sam Billings and Jason Roy will leave the side to join the England international side.
Carlos Brathwaite will be making his debut this season for the Sydney Sixers against his former team. The big West Indian is most famous for hitting four consecutive sixes against Ben Stokes in the World T20 final but has since struggled to live up to expectations. If Brathwaite can repeat a little bit of that magic then he could help the Sixers end this prolonged losing spree.
It will be difficult for the Sixers to replace two batsmen in a squad that was already struggling with its batting. There is no news if Henriques is ready to join the side once again or not and the Wolf will have to assume that he is not going to play this match. Nathan Lyon is expected to join the squad and give their bowling a boost as well.
This means that Jordan Silk and Nic Maddinson have to take up the mantle of scoring the runs for their side while Sams and Abbott try to do the damage with the ball.
The Sydney Thunder won a very important match against the Perth Scorchers and will be confident going into this cross-town derby. The biggest contribution was made by Usman Khawaja who opened the inning and struck 85 in his first game back. Khawaja is integral to this batting lineup and elevates it to another level when in form.
Shane Watson, Kurtis Patterson, and Callum Ferguson also got starts but no one could really provide much support to Khawaja. The Wolf thinks this is a brittle batting lineup that needs one of Khawaja or Watson to fire otherwise they could be bundled out very cheaply.
The biggest advantage that the Thunder has in this match is their bowling. Fawad Ahmed has been the best spinner this BBL season and received excellent support from Nair and Green as well. With two former internationals, Mitch McClenaghan and Gurinder Sandhu, to round up the attack the Thunder team is ensured of a fight no matter what their batsmen do.
Head to Head
The Sydney Sixers have now lost four out of the last five matches against the Sydney Thunder and are going to be the underdogs in this contest as well. The Wolf thinks both the teams have a poor batting lineup although there is more firepower in the Thunder unit thanks to Watson and Khawaja. It is the superior bowling, however, which swings it the way of Thunder.
Top Sydney Sixers Batsman
Jordan Silk was left out for the first two matches by the Sidney Sixers, a move that seems foolish in retrospect. Silk has 156 runs from four innings and has been the one player that the Sixers can depend on to score some runs in every match. He will need to convert his scores into a 70 or 80 plus to be able to win matches for his team. Silk is very efficient against the spinners, something that will help him a lot against the Sydney Thunder.
Top Sydney Thunder Batsman
Usman Khawaja must think that all this fuss about the BBL is nothing. He just turns up and scores runs for fun. After scoring over 350 runs in four innings a couple of years back to help the Thunder win the BBL, he has once again started in majestic form with an 85 off just 51 balls. Khawaja will fancy himself against the weak bowling attack of the Sixers and so does the Wolf.
Top Sydney Sixers Bowler
The Sixers bowling has been very average and they have struggled to pick up wickets. Daniel Sams with 7 is currently leading the tally and even though he has been expensive in his last few matches, he continues to impress the Wolf as a bowler to watch out for. Sams picked up 4 against the Thunder when they last met and will want to repeat his success this time as well.
Top Sydney Thunder Batsman
The SCG has always helped the spinners traditionally and the Wolf has no hesitation in recommending backing Fawad Ahmed. The leg-spinner has been absolutely brilliant this season and has picked up 9 wickets at an economy rate of just 5.96. For a spinner to go at less than a run a ball is almost unheard of over such a long duration. Fawad Ahmed just needs to do what he has been doing so far and the Wolf has no doubt that he will find himself in the reckoning for the national side very soon.