Round 3 was highlighted by two hugely important away wins for the Scorchers, who at one stage were looking like being the basket case of the competition. Their season kick started with a demolition of the Sydney Sixers top order, who at one stage were reeling at 6/28 after 9.1 overs. They went on to bowl Sydney out for 113 and chased the runs down for the first points of their tournament. The Scorchers then had to back up two nights later in Brisbane where a rain delay favoured the visitors. The Heat were beginning to build strong momentum after being 4/109 from 13.1 overs. The rain didn’t let up until late in the night where the Duckworth/Lewis method saw the match revised to a 5 over game and the Scorchers set a very generous target of 51. A Nathan Coulter-Nile promotion up the order produced a quick fire 23 from 6 balls and a win with four balls to spare. All of a sudden the Scorchers are in the Top 4. Who would have thought only a week ago?
The Renegades have again retained top position on the points table with a brilliant bowling performance against Hobart. The spin combination of Murali, O’Brien and Samuels was once again the major difference with 6 wickets between them, while Nathan Rimmington chipped in with 3/18 off his 4 overs. The once lowly rated Renegades are taking all before them and have already passed their season total of 2 for the BBL01.
The toss continues to be a defining moment with only one game so far won by the team batting first. It took the 12th game of the tournament before Adelaide became the first team to successfully defend a score. It’s a trend that is becoming too hard to ignore as teams are continuously finding it easier to assess and chase a score.
Melbourne Stars ($1.56) vs Sydney Sixers ($2.40) at the MCG, Friday December 21st.
Starting Time: 19:00 (local)
Only Previous Encounter (27th December 2011)
Sydney Sixers 9/166 from 20 overs (Bravo 51, Rohrer 29, Thornley 29, Maddinson 24, Hussey 2/25, McKay 2/35)
Melbourne Stars 8/164 from 20 overs (Hussey 42, Bailey 33, Voges 31, Smith 2/27)
Sixers won by 2 runs.
The Melbourne Stars are just beginning to hit their straps with convincing consecutive victories. Lasith Malinga continues to dominate the competition with his statistics looking incredible. He now has 8 wickets at an average of a staggering 5.75. He also has a miserly economy rate of 3.83, which has been lost in the fanfare of his large wicket tally. James Faulkner is again offering solid service for the Stars sitting third on the wicket takers list with 5 and a good economy of 6.26. The bats haven’t had too much to do as yet and will be itching to make an impact.
The Sydney Sixers suffered easily the worst loss of its existence against Perth. The top order crumbled to 6/28 due to a mixture of poor decision making and good bowling. After a performance like that, the last bowler the Sixers would want to be facing next is Lasith Malinga.
I can’t see the Sixers making enough runs against Melbourne. The best hope would be bowling first and restricting Melbourne as much as they can and chasing down a low total.
Prediction: Melbourne Stars by 25 runs/ 7 wickets.
Melbourne Renegades ($1.70) vs Brisbane Heat ($2.12) at Etihad Stadium, Saturday December 22nd.
Starting Time: 19:00
Only Previous Encounter (January 12th, 2012)
Brisbane Heat 7/168 from 20 overs (Vettori 40, van der Merwe 36, Lynn 34, Hayden 28, Afridi 3/35)
Melbourne Renegades 9/156 from 20 overs (Finch 72, Afridi 26, McDermott 3/18, Neser 3/31)
Brisbane Heat won by 12 runs.
The Melbourne Renegades are still unbeaten and are certainly the form team of the Big Bash. They have shortened from $11.00 pre-tournament to be now second outright favourite at $4.00. The spin combination of Murali, Samuels and O’Brien has been outstanding on the slowish drop in pitches, gathering 14 wickets and a combined economy rate of 5.52. The question mark remains to be if Aaron Finch fails, but the only thing that’s managed to stop him so is a roof beam.
Brisbane were stiff at their last start, with the outdated Duckworth/Lewis system giving Perth a generous target to chase considering the first innings circumstances. The Heat look in good form with Christian, Burns and Lynn all contributing well with the bat, while the bowling has been solid despite the occasional expensive over. Surprisingly, Brisbane have blown out to $15.00 for the BBL02 Title which looks to be a premature reaction. The Scorchers showed this week that circumstances can change quickly, so it’s worth keeping an eye on those prices over the coming days.
The Heat have better form than the 1 win/ 2 loss record suggests, but it would take a brave man to tip against the Renegades in current form. The Heat are good value and I wouldn’t dismiss them completely.
Prediction: Melbourne Renegades by 15 runs/ 5 wickets.
Hobart Hurricanes ($1.55) vs Sydney Thunder ($2.46) at Blundstone Arena, Sunday December 23rd.
Starting Time: 16:30 (local)
Only Previous Encounter (January 1st, 2012)
Sydney Thunder 8/138 from 20 overs (Gayle 53, Abbott 39, Naved-ul-Hasan 3/22, Krejza 2/29)
Hobart Hurricanes 5/139 from 18.4 overs (Shah 41, Birt 35, Wells 29, Coyte 2/14, Edwards 2/33)
Hobart won by 5 wickets.
The Hurricanes will be pleased to be back in Tasmania after having two disappointing Melbourne away games. They haven’t been able to produce the same consistency that was so apparent over the BBL01. While Shah and Birt performed against Brisbane, they were barely seen against the Renegades or Stars. But they can’t be expected to perform every game and of all the other batsmen, only Tim Paine has shown any form.
The Thunder are the only team that still have a globe next to their name on the points table. Chris Gayle is due for a big score after an unlucky run out against the Renegades. He produced a half century in the corresponding fixture last season and should be suited to the lengths Bollinger, Laughlin and Hogan bowl. Usman Khawaja is likely to be a non starter after being named as Michael Clarke’s replacement should he not recover from his hamstring injury in time for Boxing Day.
Another one sided looking game. Gayle will win a game off his own bat eventually, but Hobart should be looking to rebound hard at home.
Prediction: Hobart Hurricanes by 20 runs/ 5 wickets.
Adelaide Strikers ($1.75) vs Sydney Sixers ($2.12) at the Adelaide Oval, Sunday December 23rd.
Starting Time: 19:00
Only Previous Encounter (January 10th, 2012)
Sydney Sixers 8/151 from 20 overs (Henriques 42, Maddinson 31, Thomas 3/24)
Adelaide Strikers 81 all outfrom 18.4 overs (Blizzard 27, O’Keefe 3/20, McCullum 2/8, MacGill 2/12, Lee 2/17)
Sydney won by 64 runs.
The Sydney Sixers play their second game of the round and will be looking for a similar performance to their inaugural game against Adelaide. On that occasion, the Strikers were bowled out for 87, with 8 wickets falling to spin. The Sixers spin attack looks even more dangerous this time around with the addition of Narine and Mendis. Admittedly, the Strikers have gained Pollard, Botha, Reardon and Ferguson from that forgettable day, but the spin question marks still have enough merit.
Adelaide have looked good in their first two games with a last ball loss against Brisbane that really should have been a win. 1/1 could have easily read 2/0, although the form still suggests they are in quality nick.
It’s the tightest game of the round. The spin theory has me leaning in the direction of the Sixers.
Prediction: Sydney Sixers by 5 runs/ 3 wickets
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk. Odds quoted are from Sports Bet.
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