The Perth Scorchers continue to be the pace setters of BBL07 with four victories after a testing win against the battling Sydney Sixers. The Adelaide Strikers are the other undefeated team, notching up three wins mostly due to a bowling attack that is thriving in the shorter format of the game. Just when we thought results were starting to become more predictable, the two Hurricanes vs Thunder encounters of the last week proved exactly why you can’t be too complacent with T20 cricket as the away side got the points in each game.
PERTH SCORCHERS HEAD TO HEAD @ $1.90 AGAINST BRISBANE HEAT
STARS ($1.75) VS HEAT ($2.10)
AT THE MCG, TUESDAY 02/01, 19:10
Two highly rated teams who are out of form. Either could come good with a click of the finger, so it is difficult predicting this game with great confidence.
RENEGADES ($1.53) VS SIXERS ($2.50)
AT GMHBA STADIUM, GEELONG, WEDNESDAY 03/01, 19:10
The Melbourne Renegades’ curse against Perth continued last Friday night, falling to a seventh consecutive loss against the western franchise. While the final three wicket margin suggests otherwise, the Gades never truly looked in the game after losing Finch and White to a fired up Mitchell Johnson early in the match. A 63 run partnership between Cooper and Harris offered promise, but a collapse of 6/34 over the next six overs clearly put Perth in the box seat. The Scorchers were cruising at 3/109, before a mini collapse of 4/16 gave the Renegades some hope. Ashton Turner quickly knocked off the final six runs and despite the loss, the Gades won’t be overly concerned and will take confidence in its continued fight.
It just seems to get worse and worse for the Sydney Sixers. It was more than competitive against title favourite Perth after producing a defendable 4/167 on the back of a balanced effort from the top order. Michael Klinger looked like taking the game away from them, but his wicket in the 19th over opened the match up. Needing to defend 8 runs from the final over, disaster struck as Sean Abbott capitulated under the pressure. Five wides down the leg side, followed by a waste high full toss that went for six saw the game lost with five balls to spare. It was a spirit killer and worse case scenario when attempting to avoid a four game losing streak.
This is the first time GMHBA Stadium in Geelong has been used for a Big Bash clash and expect the very short boundaries to be targeted. If the Gades are serious title threats, it should comfortably defeat out of form teams like the Sixers.
MELBOURNE RENEGADES TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/5 WICKETS
HURRICANES ($2.31) VS STRIKERS ($1.62)
AT BLUNDSTONE ARENA, THURSDAY 04/01, 19:10
The Hobart Hurricanes took on the Sydney Thunder twice in three nights and it couldn’t have produced such different batting displays. On Saturday night in Launceston, Hobart was rolled for 109 on the back of a middle order collapse that destroyed the chances of chasing down 167. In Sydney on New Year’s Day, the Hurricanes would chalk up 3/189 that was superbly set up by D’Arcy Short’s 97 from 63 balls. He was well supported by Ben McDermott’s 49 from 25 balls, who relived some of his exploits from BBL06. Hobart’s nine run win was vital as three losses to start the season is a long way to come back from, despite the longer tournament.
The Adelaide Strikers have risen to the second line of title betting after an inspired bowling performance brought down the might of the Brisbane top order. After producing what looked to be a below par 7/147 in the first innings, the Strikers bowlers took over to restrict the Heat to 91. Rashid Khan was superb again, claiming the key wicket of Chris Lynn to finish with figures of 2/19 from his four overs. Michael Neser carried on his good form with a match defining performance, scoring 40 not out from 26 balls to make Adelaide’s total competitive, before dismissing McCullum and Ross for figures of 2/7. The undefeated Strikers are looking a very balanced outfit, but would still like some more contributors in the top order.
The Hurricanes have produced inconsistent performances with the bat thus far and it will a tough assignment against an inform Striker’s attack. It is hard to see Hobart replicating that 180+ total.
ADELAIDE STRIKERS TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/5 WICKETS
HEAT ($1.90) VS SCORCHERS ($1.90)
AT THE GABBA, FRIDAY 05/01, 19:10
A fourth consecutive win to start BBL07 already has reigning champion the Perth Scorchers well placed for a home semi-final as it sits a game clear on top of the table. If there were any doubts about the Scorchers, it was the batting and a difficult chase against the Sixers eased some of those concerns. It was held together by a calm innings from experienced opener Michael Klinger, whose 83 from 61 balls guided his side toward victory. He was brilliantly supported by the inform Ashton Turner (45 from 32 balls), who just looks so comfortable at this level now. While neither Klinger nor Turner could stay to the end, a wayward final two deliveries from Sean Abbott eased any pressure created from requiring nine off the final over.
The Scorchers travel superbly and it is a bit of a shock to see them priced at $1.90. You may not get better odds on Perth for the rest of the competition. As usual, a McCullum/Lynn masterclass is the threat.
PERTH SCORCHERS TO WIN BY 20-25 RUNS/6 WICKETS