The Perth Scorchers continue to set the pace in BBL07 after its victory against Adelaide saw the reigning premier jump a game clear on top of the table. Despite fielding nowhere near its best XI, the Scorcher’s just know how to win games of cricket through a will and determination to succeed. A third loss to the Renegades and the rise of the Hobart Hurricanes has seen the middle portion of the table tighten right up, while the Thunder is only one game outside the top four as well. The Sixers and Stars are now both off the mark also, but will only be making up the numbers for the remainder of the tournament as they still find themselves six points outside the top four.
SYDNEY SIXERS HEAD TO HEAD @ $2.11 AGAINST MELBOURNE STARS
STARS ($1.73) VS SIXERS ($2.11)
AT THE MCG, TUESDAY 16/01, 19:40
After eight consecutive losses over BBL06 & BBL07, the Melbourne Stars are finally back in the winner’s circle after defeating a disappointing Renegades outfit. While the early dismissal of Ben Dunk wasn’t a perfect start, it brought Peter Handscomb and Kevin Pietersen together to produce a match defining 110 run partnership. Pietersen in particular set the tone, appearing care free in the way he took on the bowlers to score 76 off 46 balls. The wicket of Pietersen saw the Renegades pull back the run rate to a gettable 4/167, but early wickets to Jackson Coleman ensured the Stars were always on top in the second innings.
Like the Melbourne Stars, the Sydney Sixers registered its debut victory of BBL07 in the Sydney Derby. The inclusions of Henriques, Lyon, Brathwaite and Denly completely changed the dynamic of the side and all four made critical contributions. Brathwaite, Lyon and Henriques gives the bowling attack far greater depth and flexibility, while Denly’s calmer execution at the top of the order ensured the Sixers didn’t lose wickets in the power play like previous games. Henriques at No.4 gives the order a stronger and longer look and while it waited until the final ball to pass the runs, the Sixers always looked in control of the chase with just two wickets down.
The structural changes to the Sixers were vital to it collecting win number one of the tournament, while the Stars didn’t change too much and basically came up against a weaker opponent for its first points. The Sixers look outstanding value here.
SYDNEY SIXERS TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/6 WICKETS
STRIKERS ($1.77) VS HURRICANES ($2.05)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, WEDNESDAY 17/01, 19:40
The Adelaide Striker’s first home game at Alice Springs quickly turned into a disappointment after a solid start of 2/79 after 11 overs. The wicket of Jonathan Wells triggered a collapse of 8/33 as the Perth bowlers took complete control on a tricky wicket to bat on. Michael Neser, Rashid Khan and Peter Siddle toiled away with impressive spells, but defending a first innings total of 112 was never a likely scenario. The Striker’s batting order has certainly taken a hit with the loss of Travis Head, but it has still managed to score solid totals without huge contributions from him. Adelaide has a tough run home, so it is difficult to accurately determine its final position.
The Hobart Hurricanes have set a new club record by producing a fifth consecutive victory to be well and truly back in the title hunt. It is no coincidence that the Hurricanes spike has trended at the same time as D’Arcy Short’s arrival as a bona fide star of the competition. The stocky left handed opener has now put together five scores in a row of 42 or more, which has seen him overtake Shaun Marsh for the most runs ever recorded in a single Big Bash season. He has been a revolution, but the Hurricanes have improved in all areas as the season has gone on. It is now in a position to fight for a home semi-final, which is a remarkable turnaround from when it entered the new year without a win.
I feel like I need greater evidence from Adelaide against the better teams and Hobart certainly offer a great test. It would not surprise me to see Adelaide rolled again, especially if D’Arcy Short gets going again.
HOBART HURRICANES TO WIN BY 5-10 RUNS/4 WICKETS
SIXERS ($2.00) VS HEAT ($1.81)
AT THE SCG, THURSDAY 18/01, 19:40
The Brisbane Heat have fallen out of the top four after a fourth loss and with only two games to play, it needs plenty to go its way for a finals berth. The Heat were off to another flier at 1/65 in the seventh over, but a steady flow of wickets again saw the run rate fall. In an interesting selection call, Brisbane dropped a batsman for an extra bowler in Cameron Gannon, who would not bowl an over as Hobart passed the total with 10 balls to spare. Brisbane appear to be suffering from a post-Lynn lull and have lost the x-factor that made it a must watch team. While it has had to deal with an unforgiving D’Arcy Short twice within five days, the Heat needs a lift in the middle order to get back on the winners list.
I really want to see the Sixers performance against the Stars before committing to this match. It is a wait and see encounter, but potentially some value again in the Sixers here.
SYDNEY SIXERS TO WIN BY 1-5/ 2 WICKETS