T20 Big Bash League Round 5

Round 4 saw some of our lowest confidence ratings in a while and resulted in a less than desirable 2/2. Even so, the predictions had the games as under 15 runs/3wickets in each which generally does mean that you need a bit of luck to get anything better than a 2/2 result. Onto Round 5 and the confidence is sky high for all four games. Can we bounce back with a 4/4 result? Time will tell. We think we are on the money!

Best Bet

Sydney Sixers to win @ $1.75

Perth Scorchers ($2.06) vs Hobart Hurricanes ($1.94)

Tuesday 07/01/2014, at the WACA, 4:40PM (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Perth Scorchers 8/152 (Katich 66, Voges 35, Laughlin 3/19) lost to Hobart Hurricanes 4/153 (Paine 74no, Ponting 34, Hogg 3/17) by 6 wickets at Blundstone Arena.

It can’t be described as a make or break game for the these two sides, but being so close on the table means it is a great opportunity to create a gap on the other.

A victory is likely to be more important to the Perth Scorchers as they have played an extra match and will only have one remaining home game at the WACA on January 16th. It is also likely to be the last match they have access to Shaun Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile before they join the ODI squad for national duties. If the batting hasn’t been a big enough problem beforehand, it is scary to think of a Scorchers side without Marsh and Coulter-Nile, especially considering how often these two have made vital contributions.

The Hobart Hurricanes are coming off a round 4 break after being humbled by the Renegades in round 3. After restricting the Renegades to a gettable 162, the Hurricanes found themselves at 3/10 in the third over and ultimately couldn’t recover. After providing so many saviour innings in previous seasons, Owais Shah has started horrendously with a 6 and golden duck. He has never been a great fieldsman, but with the lack of confidence, he seems to have dropped to another level after one of the worst drop catches you are likely to witness against the Renegades. The bowling improved after an early onslaught from Finch and Hill, mainly due to Ben Laughlin who claimed 3/16 off his 4 overs.

Perth should get the points with the best side they’ll put on the park for at least the next couple of weeks.

Prediction: Perth Scorchers to win by 15 runs/5 wickets
Confidence: 75%

Sydney Thunder ($2.50) vs Brisbane Heat ($1.56)

Wednesday 08/01/2014, at ANZ Stadium, 7:40pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Sydney Thunder 10/126 (Gayle 28, Christian 5/26) lost to Brisbane Heat 5/127 (Lynn 51no, Pomersbach 28, Tremain 2/27, Nannes 2/31) by 5 wickets at ANZ Stadium.

The days keep on passing as the losses continue to build. There will come a time for the Thunder when a win will be registered, but it still appears so far away. They have been a much more competitive unit under the leadership of Michael Hussey than last season, but it just appears that a majority of the side is walking out onto the field expecting to lose. Hussey has come on board with an ambition to win games off his own bat if he needs to and hopefully that attitude can spread throughout the squad. Dirk Nannes continues to be the lone successful contributor with the ball and desperately requires extra support.

What is wrong with the Brisbane Heat? If it isn’t the bowling that fails, the batting will. Ben Cutting nearly stole the game for them in the end once again, but he should always have came in at either 6 or 7. They are just a much better team than what is being produced and it will take something special to make the semi finals from here. In saying that, they did achieve it from a similar position last season. Positively, the bowling was an enormous improvement against the Sydney Sixers. Cameron Gannon was the pick of them, claiming his best ever figures of 4/24. He is causing plenty of issues with his sharp bounce and late out swingers. After a start to the tournament to forget with the ball, Ben Cutting finally hit some consistent areas and finished with an encouraging 2/30.

How can you possibly back the Thunder until they win a game? Brisbane should get home comfortably here. Should is the key word there.

Prediction: Brisbane to win by 20 runs/6 wickets.
Confidence: 80%

Melbourne Stars ($1.61) vs Adelaide Strikers ($2.33)

Thursday 09/01/2014, at the MCG, 7.40pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Melbourne Stars 8/175 (Hodge 88) defeated Adelaide Strikers (Pollard 65no, Ferguson 35, Ludeman 30) by 8 runs at the Adelaide Oval.

After another convincing victory against the Renegades, the Melbourne Stars have now shortened to $2.50 outright favouritism. It is an extremely short price considering we are only half way through the tournament, but the form certainly justifies it. Interestingly, the Stars only have one batsman (White with 162 runs) in the top 10 runs scorers for the tournament. It is a true indication of the spread load between the top order. The bowlers haven’t really been tested, but Jackson Bird has been outstanding all the same. He is the leading wicket taker for the competition with 9 and has been miserly in conceding only 6.31 runs per over. Lasith Malinga has only taken one wicket from his three games to date. It is a scary proposition to opposition teams should he finally find his feet. Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner are still available for selection.

Adelaide would have been disappointed with the loss to the Sixers as a win would have created small but handy break in second position. Positively, it was the first loss of the tournament and the side now has the opportunity to get within one point of the Stars on Thursday night. Johan Botha is a loss with his thumb injury, but I personally rate Shakib Al Hasan as a higher quality replacement. The Bangladeshi began his first BBL stint with a bang too, scoring 46 from 30 balls and 2/21 from his 4 overs. Hopefully his stint gives the Australian public a better indication of the talent that Bangladesh is producing.

It is a great chance for the Strikers to see where they are at against the might of the Stars. You just can’t back against the Stars in this form though.

Prediction: The Melbourne Stars to win by 20 runs/6 wickets
Confidence: 80%

Sydney Sixers ($1.75) vs Perth Scorchers ($2.05)

Friday 10/01/2014, at the SCG, 7:40pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Sydney Sixers 9/113 (O’Keefe 29, Beer 2/19, Thomas 2/27, Cartwright 2/41, Coulter-Nile 1/9) lost to Perth Scorchers 3/114 (Gibbs 40) by 7 wickets at the SCG.

Two important round 4 victories have left the Sydney Sixers in a brilliant position at the halfway point of its campaign to push for a home semi final. The win against the Strikers was particularly empathetic, as both would consider themselves serious title threats to the Melbourne Stars. Michael Lumb continues to do the job at the top of the order with consecutive half centuries against Brisbane and Adelaide respectively. His 143 runs for the tournament have come at a strike rate of 132.40, ensuring the Sixers are getting off to decent starts. He does need extra support though as Moises Henriques is the next highest scoring Sixer with only 90 runs. Ravi Bopara has joined the England ODI squad and will be replaced by giant seamer Chris Tremlett.

The Perth Scorchers pulled off a miracle victory against Hobart after blowing out to odds of $18.00 during the second innings. The Hurricanes required 21 from 17 balls with two set batsmen in Shah and Malik at the crease. It looked more like a question of how quickly Hobart would win by with 7 wickets in hand until Arafat and Coulter-Nile changed the momentum and ultimately the result. Unfortunately, it gets harder for the Scorchers with confirmation that its two star players in Nathan Coulter-Nile and Shaun Marsh will finally go away for national duties before Friday night’s encounter.

The losses of Marsh and Coulter-Nile are defining. It puts an enormous hole in the Scorchers structure that can’t be filled. This should equate to a comfortable win to the Sixers. $1.75 is great value with that in mind.

Prediction: The Sydney Sixers to win by 25 runs/7 wickets.
Confidence: 85%

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Author

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Mr Century

Covering all things T20 Big Bash Cricket for The Profits.

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