T20 Big Bash 5 Round 7

Welcome to the BBL05 round 7 preview. With only two short three game rounds remaining, the BBL05 table is really starting to take shape. The Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers have cemented finals berths by both reaching five wins, while the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder are well placed to take the final two spots. Hobart and the Renegades are still mathematical chances, but need to win their remaining games and rely on other matches to reach the semi-finals. The first two matches of this round will determine whether these two teams can sneak into the knock out stages or not. Betting wise, there isn’t great value getting around for these three games, but we do have high confidence in the results.

Sydney Thunder head to head @ $1.64


PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Thunder 6/114 (Hughes 40, Pattinson 3/24, Russell 2/20) lost to Renegades 2/118 (Finch 48, Ferguson 30no) by 2 wickets at Etihad Stadium.
A third consecutive loss for the Sydney Thunder has left it on the brink of losing its top four position. The Thunder have been unlucky with injuries and being on the wrong end of weather determined results, but they now need to find a way to win its last two games to ensure a debut finals berth. The Thunder got off to a brilliant start against Perth with the early wickets of Klinger and Harris, before gaining further momentum with the wicket of Shaun Marsh in the 11th over. The bowlers had no answer for the Bancroft/Agar partnership though, as their match defining 105 run stand created a difficult chase. The Thunder’s batting order looked much weaker without Michael Hussey and they’ll be ecstatic that he has overcome that hamstring injury. The inclusion of Usman Khawaja gives the Thunder that ominous early season look.
The Melbourne Renegades are now in a position where it must win its remaining games comfortably and then rely on other results for a finals berth. With the loss of Finch and Wade to ODI duties, then the injury to Nathan Rimmington on top, the Renegades have had to field an inexperienced side. There is now too much reliance on Gayle, White and Bravo to perform and if they don’t, the Renegades are barely competitive. It looks like being another frustrating season for the men in red.
With names like Hussey and Khawaja named as inclusions for this encounter, you expect the Thunder should have too many answers for the undermanned Renegades. Despite the three loses, the Thunder should be shorter than $1.64.

Prediction: Sydney Thunder to win by 25 runs/6 wickets

Confidence: 80-85%


PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Hurricanes 8/136 (Wells 58no, Tait 3/22, Laughlin 2/26) lost to Strikers 2/141 (Dean 54no, Ludeman 54) by 2 wickets at Adelaide Oval.
The Adelaide Strikers are superbly placed to claim a second consecutive minor premiership and more importantly a home semi-final at the Adelaide Oval. The Strikers ran away to a fifth BBL05 victory on the back of a strong batting performance against the Heat. Chasing 175, the Strikers passed the total only two wickets down and became the first side in Big Bash history to have its top three batsmen all score half centuries. Ludeman, Head and Jayawardene were all brilliant, but the short term future of the latter has Striker’s officials concerned. Jayawardene sustained a nasty looking quad injury during his innings of 53 from 30 balls and while he continued to bat, he is in serious doubt for this match and the rest of the tournament.
A one run loss to the Hobart Hurricanes against Perth has put their finals hopes in serious doubt with just the one game remaining. The Hurricanes now have a 3-4 BBL05 record and even if they do beat Adelaide, their -1.085 net run rate is still likely to keep them out of the top four. The Sydney Thunder have the same amount of wins, but have an extra game in hand and a far better net run rate. The Hurricanes basically need a miracle and will be extremely disappointed to not make the finals with such a talented squad. Its batting hasn’t lived up to the high expectations.
The Adelaide Strikers are flying and if the Thunder win the night before, Hobart will be flat as a tack. Hard to go against the current Big Bash title favourites.

Prediction: Adelaide Strikers to win by 20 runs/6 wickets

Confidence: 75-80%


AT THE MCG, THURSDAY 14/01, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Heat 8/164 (Lynn 48, Reardon 30, Faulkner 2/26, Hastings 2/30, Boland 2/45) defeated Stars 7/163 (Quiney 45no, Faulkner 34, Wright 33, Duffield 3/28, Flintoff 2/41) by 1 run at the Gabba.
Four consecutive wins to the Melbourne Stars has everyone again discussing them as title threats, after the team in green easily dealt with its crosstown rivals the Renegades at Etihad Stadium. The wickets of Chris Gayle and Cameron White in the ninth over from the bowling of Marcus Stoinis had the Renegades on the back foot early and the Stars never let them get a sniff of the contest again. Pietersen again proved his worth with 67 not out, while Handscombe showed he is more than capable as a number four batsman with 39 unbeaten runs. A win against the Heat here potentially sets up an encounter against Perth that will determine a home semi-final.
The Brisbane Heat’s finals hopes are now completely gone after it fell to a fifth BBL05 loss against the Adelaide Strikers. As has been obvious throughout the last two seasons and discussed numerous times, Brisbane’s bowling hasn’t been good enough for this standard of cricket. The Heat have only taken 26 wickets in 7 games, which plain and simply is atrocious. You need wickets to stem momentum and run rates, but opposition batsmen have had too much time to get in against Brisbane. The offseason recruitment priority has to be a strike bowler and if they don’t sign someone of substance, BBL06 could end up being just as ugly. Positively, they did manage to take 8 wickets against the Sixers and defend 162 last start. At the end of the day, it was all too little too late.
The Melbourne Stars are short priced favourites for a good reason here. As usual, only a Chris Lynn master class can give Brisbane a chance in this game.

Prediction: Melbourne Stars to win by 25 runs/7 wickets

Confidence: 80-85% 


Mr Century

Covering all things T20 Big Bash Cricket for The Profits.

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