The last group of matches have produced some outstanding cricket and tight matches, highlighted the final ball finishes of the Heat vs Hurricanes and Thunder vs Scorchers encounters. Those results have been forgotten though in preference for an umpiring decision, one that has seemingly shocked the nation. Heat batsman Alex Ross was midway through a second run in the 17th over when he deviated off his line and the ball struck him, deflecting onto the stumps for a near run out. Instead of being given out for the run out, he was dismissed for obstructing the field when it appeared he was evading the ball, not deliberately getting in Matthew Wade’s line of the ball. While it has caused uproar, let’s hope lessons are learned for future decisions as it certainly hasn’t depicted the game in the best light.
ADELAIDE STRIKERS HEAD TO HEAD @ $1.70 AGAINST PERTH SCORCHERS
STRIKERS ($1.70) VS SCORCHERS ($2.15)
AT TRAEGER PARK, ALICE SPRINGS, SATURDAY 13/01, 16:10
The Adelaide bowlers continue to get the job done, this time restricting an out of form Stars side to 6/151 and chasing the target just two wickets down. Excluding the inclusion of a fifth bowler in Neser from the second game, the Strikers bowling structure hasn’t looked like changing and is superbly in sync. It is an all-round contribution, as proven against the Stars as Stanlake, Neser, Siddle and Laughlin all had near identical figures ranging from being hit for 29-33 runs and a wicket each. Rashid Khan was again the pick with 1/23, while Carey and Head got quality half centuries in a drama free chase. Travis Head will now leave for ODI duties as Colin Ingram takes the captaincy reins.
Despite currently sitting second with five quality wins, the Perth Scorchers are starting to look a tad shaky. The bowling attack has been its saviour through many years of success, but it has only been able to capture seven wickets in its last two games. The loss in experience of Behrendorff and Coulter-Nile is starting to take its toll, especially with Tye and Richardson on ODI duties. An attack requiring eight overs from Bresnan, Kelly and Bosisto isn’t nearly as threatening. Although batting wise, there have been players putting their hands up like Turner and against the Thunder, a brilliant 137 run partnership between Cartwright and Bancroft. You can’t be starting innings at 4/35 though. Adam Voges has been suspended for a slow overrate.
The Strikers are playing some impressively consistent cricket and deserve to be $1.70 favourites. You just know Perth will fight to the end, but it still hasn’t got Shaun Marsh and loses further batting experience in Voges.
ADELAIDE STRIKERS TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/6 WICKETS
SIXERS ($2.15) VS THUNDER ($1.70)
AT THE SCG, SATURDAY 13/01, 19:20
The BBL07 season is all but over for the Sydney Sixers, but some fresh faces and the pride of the Sydney derby could be exactly what this side needs. Jason Roy and Sam Billings will join the England ODI squad after disappointing Big Bash stints, but the inclusions of exciting West Indian Carlos Brathwaite and England’s Joe Denly might create the required spark. Nathan Lyon is also a huge in and a universally underrated T20 bowler. An outstanding 61 from 31 saw Sam Billings finally make a mark in the tournament, but it too little too late as the Sixers fell five runs short of its first win against Hobart.
How much more dangerous do the Thunder look with Usman Khawaja in their side? While he is occasionally accused of lacking intensity in the longer formats, he certainly explodes to life in T20 cricket. The Test star’s 85 from 51 balls ultimately set up his sides three run victory, but poor fielding kept Perth in the game and almost gave it up. The shocking drop catch trend that has plagued the Big Bash in its entirety this season claimed new victims in Mitch McClenaghan and Ben Rohrer, as both let simple chances fall to the ground to Cartwright and Bancroft respectively. The bowling of McClenaghan at the death has also become a concern as he went for 1/53, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.
Brathwaite, Lyon and Denly are great ins for the Sixers and I’d be tempted to back them in if not for Usman Khawaja. He is likely to be the game breaker and I’m not a fan of banking on one player being the difference punting wise.
SYDNEY THUNDER TO WIN BY 5-10 RUNS/4 WICKETS
HURRICANES ($1.90) VS HEAT ($1.90)
AT BLUNDSTONE ARENA 15/01, 19:40
If there was any doubt before the Hobart vs Brisbane clash last Wednesday night as to who was currently the most dominant player in the Big Bash, there wasn’t once D’Arcy Short smashed records at the Gabba. His 122 from 69 balls is the new highest individual Big Bash score and a star is now born. He is the only player to have passed 300 runs, let the 406 he has already amassed and is well on track to be the first batsman to reach 500 runs since the competition began. He has almost singlehandedly made the Hurricanes a title threat and with a 4-2 record, the men from the Apple Isle are value at $7.50. He generated over two thirds of Hobart’s score of 179 and desperate needs greater support as his teammates crawled to 52 runs from the 51 balls he didn’t face.
D’Arcy Short was the difference between the two teams on Wednesday night, but there were still positive signs for Brisbane. It still got off to a flier without Lynn, as Sam Heazlett took the first cherry and hit Simon Milenko for 16 runs in the opening over. Although once McCullum went out with the score at 64, there was a steady flow of wickets and no one could get properly in, excluding Ross of course who was given out controversially. Sometimes it isn’t your night and there certainly wasn’t much that went the Heat’s way.
It is only a few days ago that these two competed against each other, but it is still so difficult to split them as justified by the odds. Either of Short or McCullum could get going, but not willing to guess.
HOBART HURRICANES TO WIN BY 1-5/ 2 WICKETS