Welcome to the Round 3 Big Bash League preview. After 8 games of cricket, the Melbourne Stars are the only team to have won both of its fixtures. The Hobart Hurricanes and Adelaide strikers are also undefeated, but don’t hold the maximum 4 points due to the abandoned game in Round 1 at Blundstone Arena.
Round 2 was highlighted by three games being decided in the final over. New signing Yasir Arafat helped the Scorchers defend 117 against a disappointing Renegades outfit and a classic Michael Hussey innings of 85 wasn’t enough to chase down Adelaide’s 153. But the highlight of the round was the epic run feast at the Gabba between Brisbane and Hobart. The Heat set a competition record 3/209, built by three fast paced half centuries from Kieswetter, Burns and Christian. Despite losing consistent wickets throughout the chase, Hobart reached the record total with 4 balls to spare. I doubt we’ll see another game like it for the rest of the season.
Again, not a whole lot of value on offer this round. In saying that, Adelaide continues to be undervalued.
Melbourne Renegades ($2.14) vs Brisbane Heat ($1.71)
Monday 30/12/2013, at Etihad Stadium, 7:40pm (local)
Brisbane Heat 3/183 (Pomersbach 112no, Burns 33) defeated Melbourne Renegades 9/168 (Rohrer 42, Cutting 3/24) by 15 runs at Etihad Stadium
The Melbourne Renegades have had an extremely disappointing start to say the least. After being smashed around the MCG against the Stars, the bowlers backed up admirably by hitting more disciplined lines and lengths, restricting Perth to 117 runs. From there, the Renegades were short priced favourites on a pitch that was playing true. Unfortunately, the losses of key top order wickets saw the Renegades bat too safe and ultimately capitulate. To make matters worse, key Pakistani recruit Mohammad Hafeez has been called into the Test squad, meaning he won’t get the chance to represent the Renegades. It is a shame as Hafeez has been in rare form, hitting 3 centuries in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Jos Buttler will stay on with the Renegades until a permanent replacement is found.
It isn’t often that a team sets a record score, only to see it chased down in the second innings. Brisbane would be frustrated with the result, but there were plenty of positives to take out of the game. The batting line-up is obviously in good touch, it isn’t every day that you produce 200+ scores. The bowlers couldn’t defend 209, but it wasn’t an awful performance. There were some questionable decisions and field placements, but Hobart took advantage of every opportunity it was presented.
The Renegades return to the familiar surroundings of Etihad Stadium where it didn’t lose a game during the qualifying rounds last season. But Brisbane did beat them in the semi final at Etihad and were the best travelling side last year. Hard to tip against the Heat, but expect an improved Renegades performance.
Prediction: Brisbane Heat by 10 runs/3 wickets
Adelaide Strikers ($1.79) vs Perth Scorchers ($2.04)
Tuesday 31/12/2013, at Adelaide Oval, 7:10pm (local)
Perth Scorchers 4/189 (S.Marsh 79, Gibbs 54, Voges 36) defeated Adelaide Strikers 10/91 (Coulter-Nile 3/13, Thomas 3/14) by 98 runs at the Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide got the fright of its life at ANZ Stadium, nearly going down to the success deprived Sydney Thunder. A Michael Hussey master class almost sunk the Strikers, but a promising final over from Shaun Tait was enough to recover a 6 run victory. Positively, the Strikers are undefeated going into the third round. 153 was an above par total at the Olympic stadium and the balance of the line-up looks about right. I’m looking forward to see how the batting matches up against a top team as I feel they have attributes of a side that can go deep in the tournament.
The Perth Scorchers successfully managed to defend the smallest winning total in the short BBL history. 117 looked 30-40 runs under par at the time on a pitch that looked flat and batsmen friendly. That wasn’t in the thoughts of Yasir Arafat and Mitch Marsh though, who both produced defining limited over spells. The batting still looks weak for the Scorchers, especially with Turner and Armstrong batting 5 & 6 respectively. The Marsh boys have far too much responsibility.
Perth gave the Strikers a good old fashioned flogging at the Adelaide Oval last season by the tune of 98 runs. Things have changed significantly since then with Adelaide’s batting looking much stronger. Adelaide’s $1.79 odds look the best value in a round that isn’t offering much.
Prediction: Adelaide to win by 25 runs/5 wickets
Hobart Hurricanes ($1.73) vs Melbourne Renegades ($2.11)
Wednesday 01/01/2014, at Blundstone Arena, 1:45pm (local)
Hobart Hurricanes 9/102 (Rimmington 3/18, Samuels 3/22, Muralitharan 2/16) were defeated by Melbourne Renegades 3/103 (Finch 46no, Doherty 2/17) by 7 wickets at Etihad Stadium.
The Hobart Hurricanes produced one of the greatest T20 victories I can remember on Sunday night. As stated earlier, Brisbane smashed the highest BBL total in the first innings, only for Hobart to pass the score with 4 balls to spare. Ben Dunk was the catalyst with 67 from 33 balls, while Jon Wells kept the score ticking over late with clever ramps and glides. I wrote them off with the successive wickets of Birt and Dunk, but the middle to late order never gave up hope of an unlikely victory. The bowling is showing vulnerable characteristics, having conceded 296 runs from only 26 overs at an economy rate of 11.38 this season. Bollinger, Hilfenhaus and Gulbis in particular need to fix their inconsistent lengths.
The Melbourne Renegades are the first team to double up in a single round for the BBL3. They will need to back up only 2 days after the Brisbane encounter, which shouldn’t be an issue for the professional cricketers of the modern era. Make sure you change your fantasy sides to include as many Renegades as you can, preferably with Sydney Sixers players as they don’t feature during round 3.
Ensure you assess the Renegades form on Monday night before committing any money to this match. The Hurricanes are justified as favourites.
Prediction: Hobart Hurricanes to win by 15 runs/ 4 wickets.
Sydney Thunder ($2.93) vs Melbourne Stars ($1.41)
Wednesday 01/01/2014, at ANZ Stadium, 7:40pm (local)
Melbourne Stars 8/145 (Hodge 39, Hussey 32, Gayle 2/5) defeated Sydney Thunder 10/132 (Gayle 65, Faulkner 3/24, Mascarenhas 2/27) by 13 runs at the MCG.
The Melbourne Stars are the form side in this early stage of the tournament with two dominant displays. They became the first BBL side to hit consecutive scores of 200+ on Sunday night and appear to have batting depth that is unmatched. Luke Wright has a licence at the top of the order to do what he feels, knowing there is so much batting to come behind him. That type of thought process means you really need to get early wickets against the Stars before they really begin to flourish. The bowlers haven’t had to do anything special in defending such large totals, but they have been solid all the same. It’ll be interesting to see how it reacts in a pressure situation, especially without the flexibility of a quality spinner. In saying that, Glenn Maxwell bowled well against the Sixers by claiming 3/26 from his 4 overs.
The Thunder suffered its 15th consecutive loss, but the performances look to be improving. A lot of the credit needs to go to Michael Hussey though, who produced one of the better BBL knocks you will see. The Sydney Thunder were reeling at 3/20 in the 4th over before a 109 run partnership between Hussey and Eoin Morgan put their side on the brink of its first victory for over 2 years. Once Morgan was dismissed, there just wasn’t enough support from the lower order to help Hussey get his side across the line.
The Melbourne Stars are a much more polished side than the Thunder and should have a comfortable victory.
Prediction: Melbourne Stars to win by 30 runs/6 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.
All of our information is provided free. If you want to show your support, if you are wanting to join a new bookmaker, please use our banners. Thanks.