T20 Big Bash League Round 2

Welcome to the Round 2 Big Bash preview. The third instalment of the Big Bash League is under way with the Melbourne Stars justifying its preseason favouritism early. A whirlwind opening innings saw the Stars rack up 208 runs against last season’s table leaders the Melbourne Renegades, led mostly by a 95 run opening partnership between Luke Wright and Cameron White.

We saw some predictable results with the Stars, Sixers and Brisbane all taking home the points, while the Hobart vs Adelaide game was abandoned due to rain and the points shared.  The new round includes some interesting matches, with at least two results ensuring winless franchises get their first points on the board. The Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Stars encounter looks to be the highlight of the round, while Brisbane and Hobart have produced a couple epic contests in their short history. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be as much value on offer as last round, but there are some safe bets to be made.

Best Bet

Adelaide Strikers to win @ $1.69

Perth Scorchers ($1.85) vs Melbourne Renegades ($1.95)

Thursday 26/12/2013, at the WACA, 16:40 (Local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Perth Scorchers 3/187 (S.Marsh 85, Gibbs 56, Voges 40) defeated Melbourne Renegades 10/136 (Rohrer 52, Thomas 4/8, Behrendorff 3/44) by 51 runs at the WACA.

The Perth Scorchers were the only side to beat the Renegades during last season’s qualifying rounds. It was a comfortable victory as Shaun Marsh hit an eye catching 85 from 52 balls to ensure the Renegades had a  consistently high required run rate throughout its innings. Perth gave reigning titlists Brisbane a mini scare after starting its innings slowly. The Scorchers were 6/94 in the 15th over before a barnstorming 57 not out from Mitch Marsh saw the visitors to a competitive 7/151. The top order will be lacking some fire power after Adam Voges and West Indian Dwayne Smith were replaced in the squad by Tim Armstrong and Pakistani all-rounder Yasir Arafat respectively. Voges has succumbed to a suspected back injury, while Smith hasn’t made the trip west due to personal problems back home in Barbados.

The Melbourne Renegades were the disappointment of the first round. The 76 run loss against the cross town rival was initiated by an atrocious bowling display that lacked consistency and nous. Will Sheridan was the main culprit, conceding 53 runs from only 15 deliveries which calculated to a whopping economy rate of 21.20. After basing its bowling attack around three spinners last season, it was surprising to see Fawad Ahmed missing from the side. It also doesn’t help having three of the top four batsmen combining for just 2 runs. A 200 plus score is difficult enough to chase without that happening. James Pattinson is a chance to return from injury after bowling in grade cricket on the weekend.

The WACA pitch possesses characteristics that don’t suit the Renegade’s structures, but the loss of Voges has tightened this game up significantly. I’m tipping the Scorchers in a tight contest, but this really could go either way.

Prediction: Perth Scorchers to win by 5 runs/2 wickets.

Confidence: 55%

Sydney Thunder ($2.16) vs Adelaide Strikers ($1.69)

Friday 27/12/2013, at ANZ Stadium, 19:40 (Local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Adelaide Strikers 6/177 (Klinger 60, Ludeman 46, Reardon 42, Nannes 4/17) defeated Sydney Thunder 10/126 (Coyte 33, Richardson 3/9, Tait 3/22) by 51 runs at ANZ Stadium.

It was such a promising start for the Sydney Thunder on Saturday night. David Warner and Usman Khawaja put on a 116 run opening stand in 11 overs, setting up a potential 200 run plus score. But the Warner dismissal instigated an enormous momentum shift, with the following 54 deliveries generating a miserly 50 runs. From there, 166 runs never looked enough to get the job done. Let’s hope it isn’t too much of a confidence destroyer as the franchise can’t afford to be going through the motions like last season. David Warner will return to the Test squad.

We only got to see 6 overs from the Adelaide Striker’s opening round match, but it was arguably the most scintillating cricket put on show over the four games. Alex Hales gave us a 19 ball preview of what to expect over the coming weeks, smashing 49 runs in a fearful display of stroke play. Michael Klinger was just as exciting with 32 from 17 balls, pushing the score to an impressive 87 before rain ruined the spectacle.

There is much more to learn with these teams over the next couple of weeks, but the Strikers look an extremely safe bet at $1.69.

Prediction: Adelaide to win by 30 runs/7 wickets

Confidence: 90%

Brisbane Heat ($1.66) vs Hobart Hurricanes ($2.23)

Saturday 28/12/2013, at the Gabba, 18:15 (Local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Brisbane Heat 6/172 (Christian 49, Burns 44, Gulbis 3/29) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 2/175 (Birt 57no, Wells 38, Shah 36no) by 8 wickets at the Gabba

It was a scrappy performance against Perth for the Brisbane Heat, but Stuart Law would be pleased to come home with the points after looking down and out. After conceding nearly 60 runs in the final five overs, Brisbane were in a precarious position at 3/22. Enter Chris Lynn. The clean hitting right hander produced the performance of the round, clubbing 81 from 53 balls, including 6 sixes. He scored more than half the runs, with the next highest score being 15 from Ben Cutting, who again hit the winning runs and operated at a strike rate over 200. It was a gutsy effort from the middle to late order.

The Hobart Hurricanes bowled only 6 overs last round, but they’d be concerned with what occurred in that short period of time. Alex Hales and Michael Klinger went to town on the Hurricanes, with Mennie, Bollinger, Doherty and Gulbis all conceding 10+ run economy rates. The rain came at the perfect time for Hobart, with Adelaide’s run rate of 14.50 threatening to balloon further. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Dimitri Mascarenhas has suffered a broken jaw during a practice game and is unlikely to recover before the end of the series.

Owais Shah and Travis Birt have haunted Brisbane in the past, but the Heat have a far more balanced line up currently.

Prediction: Brisbane Heat to win by 25 runs/6 wickets.

Confidence: 80%

Sydney Sixers ($2.22) vs Melbourne Stars ($1.67)

Sunday 29/12/2013, at the SCG, 19:15 (Local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Melbourne Stars 6/177 (Maxwell 82, Hodge 51, Moran 3/30) defeated Sydney Sixers 5/156 (O’Keefe 42, Haddin 39) by 21 runs at the MCG.

The Sydney Sixers looked like it would be chasing an enormous total when the Thunder were 0/116 in the 11th over. The wicket of David Warner from part timer Mark Cosgrove changed the momentum completely and a disciplined bowling display thereafter restricted the total to only 166. Nic Maddinson then came out on a mission, striking 10 boundaries on his way to a valuable 61. The middle order has a greater sense of stability with Ravi Bopara and lessens the responsibility of Moises Henriques.

The Melbourne Stars were the most impressive team of round 1. The White/Wright opening combination looks dangerous and could provide the required x factor to go that step further in the BBL3. Interestingly the White promotion looks to have forced Rob Quiney out of the best XI, which would have been regarded as an impossibility this time last year. Jackson Bird returned from injury with a menacing spell on Friday night, capturing 4 quality wickets and looks to be peaking at the perfect time for the Stars.

One of these teams will be undefeated come Sunday night. Despite the shorter than expected odds of $1.67, the Stars look too sharp for the Sixers at this very early stage of the season.

Prediction: Melbourne Stars to win by 10 runs/4 wickets

Confidence: 65%

Please Note:
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.
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Author

mm

Mr Century

Covering all things T20 Big Bash Cricket for The Profits.

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