As we hit the half way mark of the home and away rounds during this group of matches, it is a tight competition with every team having lost at least one game. It is also that point of the competition where the ODI squad is released and we get a greater understanding of how the BBL franchises will look at the business end of the season. Below is a list of who and what teams are affected.
Adelaide: Travis Head
Brisbane: Chris Lynn
Hobart: Tim Paine
Renegades: Aaron Finch
Stars: Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
Perth: Mitch Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye
Sixers: Mitch Starc
Thunder: Pat Cummins
Table leader the Perth Scorchers are the hardest hit with the loss of key bowlers Richardson and Tye, on top of confirmation that Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile will miss the rest of BBL07 due to injury. As we have stated before, there is no side that deals with absentees better, but this is a serious test of depth. Mitch Marsh was always going to be included in the ODI squad, but his brother Shaun will be a welcomed inclusion. The Sixers and the Thunder will also enjoy the returns of Test players Nathan Lyon and Usman Khawaja respectively. The Stars are the only other team with multiple players selected in Stoinis and Zampa, while the remaining franchises are all losing one each. Chris Lynn and Aaron Finch will be the biggest individual losses for Brisbane and the Renegades respectively.
PERTH SCORCHERS HEAD TO HEAD @ $2.07 AGAINST MELBOURNE RENEGADES
STARS ($2.07) VS RENEGADES ($1.76)
AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 06/01, 19:10
The Melbourne Stars currently finds itself in the unfamiliar position of last with an extremely poor net run rate of -1.317 and desperately need a fast turn of fortunes. It fell to a humbling nine wicket loss to Brisbane last Tuesday night, becoming another victim of the Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum show. While defending a below par score of 7/141 would always to tough, the match could have easily forged a different pathway had Captain John Hastings held a regulation chance off Lynn third ball of the innings. His juggled attempt eventually fell to the ground and seemingly so did the Stars chances, as the Heat cruised to the required total one wicket down and with 32 balls to spare.
The Melbourne Renegades were back on the winners list after its debut home game at Geelong, easily accounting for a confidence deprived Sixers outfit by 8 wickets. The Gades bowlers put together one of the best all-round bowling performances of the season, never going for more than a run rate of six per over throughout the innings and regularly taking wickets. Dwayne Bravo took his BBL07 wicket tally to 11 with another three scalps, while the other bowlers were disciplined and gave the Sixers nothing easy. The chase of 112 never looked in doubt as Aaron Finch was back in the runs with a half century in front of his home crowd, while Cameron White was excellent again with 49 not out.
The Melbourne Stars have a great head to head record and deserve consideration at $2.07, but the Renegades look so sharp currently. I’m happy to sit back and enjoy a local derby that is becoming more spiteful with every year. I’m expecting it to be tight.
MELBOURNE RENEGADES TO WIN BY 1-5 RUNS/4 WICKETS
THUNDER ($2.11) VS STRIKERS ($1.73)
AT SPOTLESS STADIUM, SUNDAY 07/01, 19:10
The Sydney Thunder sunk to its third loss of BBL07 on New Year ’s Day after its bowlers produced its first poor effort of the campaign. D’Arcy Short and Ben McDermott really got hold of the Thunder during a 104 run partnership from 50 balls. Green and Fawad were economical as usual, but McClenaghan, Sandhu, Watson and BBL07 sensation Nair went for a combined 139 runs from 13 overs. A target of 190 was going to be hard work, but Jos Buttler did as much as he could. His 81 run innings was scintillating, but the biggest issue holding him back was getting on strike. He would face only 43 balls of 115, which ultimately decided the match as the Thunder fell 10 runs short.
The Adelaide Strikers were also a victim of an improved Hurricanes outfit, falling to its first loss of the year as D’Arcy Short dismantled its applauded bowling attack as well. Neser, Siddle and Laughlin were all given reality checks as their economy rates skyrocketed. The shining light was again Rashid Khan who took his fourth two wicket tally and continued his trend of an economy under six. Billy Stanlake was good too with 2/27, but Hobart still managed a great total of 5/183. At 2/112 with two settled batsmen, the Strikers would have backed themselves requiring 72 runs from 7 overs, but an excellent spell from Jofra Archer changed the game.
I expect the Strikers to bounce back here and the wickets of Buttler and Watson will be the key. Rashid Khan and Billy Stanlake will be given plenty of opportunities against those two.
ADELAIDE STRIKERS TO WIN BY 20-25 RUNS/5 WICKETS
HURRICANES ($1.62) VS SIXERS ($2.31)
AT BLUNDSTONE ARENA, MONDAY 08/01, 18:10
D’Arcy Short is the talk of the Big Bash and Australian cricket after scores of 97 and 96 consecutively got the Hobart Hurricanes back in title calculations. The left handed opener from the Northern Territory showed signs of his talent last season, but his rise to even potential national honours couldn’t have been better timed for the Hurricanes who were winless prior to New Year’s Day. His exploits at the top of the order yielded Hobart two 180+ scores against the Thunder and Adelaide respectively. While the bowling attack has still mostly been inconsistent, Jofra Archer has been the clear standout as highlighted by a match defining 3/15 against the Strikers. He will be hot property in the coming months for the big T20 tournaments around the world.
The Sydney Sixers now need to win its remaining matches and do so convincingly to be any chance of making the BBL07 finals. A fifth consecutive loss was arguably its worse to date, as an awful batting performance quickly put the Sixers on the back foot in Geelong. On a pitch that was seen to favour the batsmen, Johan Botha and Sean Abbott would become the only players to reach a strike rate of triple figures as the Sydneysiders struggled to 8/111 from its 20 overs. While Dwarhuis looked lively early, The Renegade’s bats were barely threatened in a lacklustre performance by the men in magenta.
Until the Sixers players show some fight on the field, you can’t possibly back them. Hobart all the way here.
TO WIN BY 15-20 HOBART HURRICANES TO WIN BY 20-25/5 WICKETS
SCORCHERS ($2.07) VS RENEGADES ($1.76)
AT THE WACA, MONDAY 08/01, 21:20
A trip to Brisbane against the Bash Brothers has seen Perth notch its first loss of BBL07. Lynn and McCullum, particularly the former, got a hold of the Scorcher’s bowlers in the power play for another fast start. Once Willey took the wicket of Lynn, the Perth bowlers fought back before Andrew Tye dropped Cutting early in his innings. It proved to be costly as the Heat’s big hitter would score 46 from 20 balls to get the total to a very competitive 6/191. The men from the west were clearly missing their rested spearhead Mitchell Johnson, especially in the opening overs when Lynn was hitting out. The chase didn’t start well with Willey struggling to hit the ball off the square, before a steady flow of wickets saw the run rate rise quickly.
The Scorchers are outstanding odds at $2.07 when considering it has never lost to the Renegades, especially at home with a returning Mitchell Johnson. They are sure to shorten further as Monday approaches, so get in early.
PERTH SCORCHERS TO WIN BY 20-25 RUNS/6 WICKETS