Welcome to the BBL06 Big Final Preview. One more match remains for BBL06 and after a tournament that has conjured an extremely tight table, the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers will fight it out for the silverware. You couldn’t have got two different semi-finals as Perth easily accounted for a depleted Melbourne Stars outfit, while the Sixers had to get through the pressure of a Super Over after it originally tied the scores with Brisbane. There are minimal similarities between the two contestants either. Perth have relied on disciplined short format bowling that has proved to be successful year after year, while the Sixers have been the most inconsistent team in the competition and produced a wide range of results. Both sides have tasted Big Bash success before and each bring vital Big Final experience to the table with Perth entering its fifth decider and the Sixers its third. The tournament has been a commercial success yet again this season and is set to become even bigger for BBL07 with the announcement of eight extra games. While BBL06 hasn’t been as easy to predict and read trends like BBL05, let’s hope it can offer one last profitable outcome for us all.
Sydney Sixers Head to Head @ $2.08 (75-80% Confidence if Sixers bowl first, 60-65% Confidence if Sixers bat first)
BIG FINAL: PERTH SCORCHERS ($1.74) VS SYDNEY SIXERS ($2.08)
AT THE WACA, SATURDAY 28/01, 16:15 (Local)
The Perth Scorchers have been one of the favoured teams for the title throughout the tournament and justified its short odds with a comprehensive victory against the Melbourne Stars. Mitchell Johnson produced one of the great T20 spells to leave the Stars in a horrific state early, finishing with amazing figures of 3/3 from his four overs. It set the tone and the Stars couldn’t truly recover. The Scorchers top order took minimal risks to chase the target of 137, as Shaun Marsh yet again found himself in the runs to finish 56 not out from 44 balls. This is where things get complicated for the Scorchers though, as Marsh is unavailable for the final due to ODI selection. He has been the mainstay of the Scorchers last two vital innings, having shown vulnerability before that. He is a big game player in T20 cricket, being the only batsman to have scored four half centuries in Big Bash knockout matches. With Mitch Marsh also ruled out, the Scorchers lack pace setters at the top of the order and may fear setting a target. One thing that is for certain will be Perth’s ability to get the job done with the ball if in the field first. The Scorchers have restricted its opposition to tallies of 136, 134 and 148 the three times it has bowled first, although have failed to defend totals of 130, 173 and 134 when bowling second. There is no doubt that Perth will want to chase, much like the trends for the entire competition. The wildcard for the Scorchers is the inclusion of Jason Behrendorff to the squad, who is yet to play any competitive cricket since recovering from injury. It is an enormous risk, but one that could become match defining for Perth as a proven top order wicket taker.
The Sydney Sixers have been a difficult team to analyse during BBL06 due to a wide range of extreme results, but the franchise is capable of defeating any opposition on its day. Its unpredictable nature was there for all to see during the semi-final when seemingly cruising to victory with eight wickets in hand and 35 runs required from 32 balls, before a collapse of 6/31 turned the game on its head. The Sixers could only level the scores after being in such control, creating a Super Over scenario. After a brilliant 64 from 34 balls to originally put the match in the Sixers favour, Moises Henriques again had to do the job for his side, smashing 18 runs from the Super Over to dominate a total of 22 which ended up being too much. Henriques is developing a reputation as a Big Bash finals specialist having scored 64, 77, 27* and 70 from his last four knock out matches in the tournament. Amazingly, the Sixers have chased in eight of its nine matches, which makes it a difficult prospect to depict setting a target. The one time it did bat first was a disaster though, scoring a shockingly poor 9/99 from its 20 overs. While the performance will be in the back of some minds, the top order would be confident it can produce a match winning total. Colin Munro will be unavailable due to New Zealand international duty and while he hasn’t set the world on fire, he did look dangerous with a quick fire 23 against the Heat. Jordan Silk is likely to be his replacement in the final XI. As Hughes and Henriques have garnered most of the top order runs, Maddinson and Lumb is where the scope for improvement begins and both have produced in big matches before. The inclusion of Lyon recently has settled the Sixers bowling balance superbly with Abbott, Botha and Dwarshuis all benefitting. It is an underrated attack which hasn’t conceded more than 170 since Lyon arrived.
This is set up to be a brilliant encounter, but the coin toss is likely to have a defining say on the outcome of the match. Both teams will want to bowl first, especially Perth who have no real replacement for Shaun Marsh. It possesses a batting order that doesn’t like to take risks, but will need to against Abbott, Lyon and Botha for a defendable total. The Sixers exposed those potential weaknesses earlier in BBL06, restricting a much stronger Perth batting order to 130. While Perth have a 3-2 win/loss ratio at the WACA, home teams have only won 35.29% of matches during BBL06. Having won the BBL01 Big Final in Perth, the Sixers will back itself to peak at the right time and are value at $2.08.
Prediction: Sydney Sixers to win by 5-10 runs/6 wickets
Confidence: 75-80% if Sixers bowl first, 60-65% if Sixers bat first
Player of the Final: Moises Henriques