T20 Big Bash League Round 7

Welcome to the Round 7 Big Bash League preview. The new round brings a make or break situation for a number of sides as the semi finals get closer and closer. The franchises stranded on two victories are at risk of ending their finals hopes should they lose. By the end of the Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes encounter, we should have a strong indication of how the final four is shaping.

The highlight of round 6 was the Sydney Thunder finally breaking its well documented 19 game losing streak. 753 days had passed since the Thunders previous victory on December 23rd 2011, making it one of the longest periods of time that a T20 side hadn’t won a match. Amazingly, it wasn’t the longest losing streak in T20 history. That unwanted record belongs to Pakistani domestic side the Quetta Bears, who disastrously lost 27 games consecutively from April 2005 to December 2012.

Perth Scorchers ($1.77) vs Adelaide Strikers ($2.06)

Thursday 16/01/2014, at the WACA, 4:40pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Perth Scorchers 6/162 (Voges 58, Marsh 57, Putland 2/39) lost to Adelaide Strikers 4/164 (Hughes 74, Reardon 42) by 6 wickets at the WACA

The Perth Scorchers can 100% guarantee a top four position and put itself in a prime position for another home final should it post a victory against Adelaide. After winning the first ever super over in Australian T20 domestic history against the Sydney Sixers, the Scorchers are fast gaining a reputation for being the best death bowling side in the competition. Yasir Arafat has been the key inclusion, gathering 11 wickets in 5 games and conceding an economy rate of 6.7 an over. They are defining statistics, especially considering a majority of his bowling is done at the end of an innings. Not included are his 2 wickets in the super over, which could end up being the difference between a home final or not. The Scorchers still have an unhealthy reliance on veteran Simon Katich, who has scored 243 runs at a strike rate of 135.75. Patrick Cummins will make his long awaited debut for Perth.

It is an important round for the Adelaide Strikers, who take on two finals competitors in less than 48 hours. Its fate could be sealed by Saturday afternoon. Adelaide couldn’t have been any more underwhelming against the Melbourne Stars last start, registering a timid 90 runs from its 20 overs. The Strikers will be praying that boom recruit Alex Hales finally has an impact on a result, having produced a disappointing 109 runs from his 5 innings.

Perth is likely to be without Shaun Marsh or Nathan Coulter-Nile again, unless Cricket Australia releases them early from ODI duties in Brisbane. The Perth bowling should be good enough to defend a score against the struggling Adelaide batting line up.

Prediction: Perth to win by 15 runs/ 5 wickets
Confidence: 65%

Adelaide Strikers ($1.73) vs Brisbane Heat ($2.07)

Saturday 18/01/2014, at the Adelaide Oval, 1:15pm (local)
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER
Adelaide Strikers 8/185 (Ferguson 52, Pollard 48, Perera 3/27, McDermott 3/48) lost to Brisbane Heat 7/186 (Pomersbach 65, Burns 37, Pollard 2/38) by 3 wickets at the Adelaide Oval.

The Adelaide Strikers back up against the Brisbane Heat at home, less than 48 hours after an encounter in Perth. It shouldn’t have an impact on the game, but it certainly isn’t the ideal preparation. The major positive is that the side gets an opportunity to escape the Adelaide heatwave. Ensure you consider Shakib Al Hasan as your fantasy captain this round.

The Brisbane Heat were the first side to give the undefeated Stars a genuine test, losing by a respectable 3 wickets and taking the match into the final over. Dan Christian continued his outstanding tournament, slapping 68 off 49 balls to be the mainstay of the Heats innings. He has now amassed 186 runs at 46.50 for the tournament and is approaching Chris Lynn as the leading run scorer for Brisbane. Cameron Gannon continues to get key wickets at important times while James Hopes has been vital with the ball after giving himself greater opportunities. Daniel Vettori is still in doubt due to his ongoing back complaint.

The Brisbane Heat are sure to have gained confidence after pushing the table topping Stars. Excluding the opening batsman, their side is starting to gel. I’m expecting a tight game that could replicate the final ball encounter from the BBL2.

Prediction: Brisbane Heat to win by 5 runs/2 wickets.
Confidence: 55%

Melbourne Renegades ($2.25) vs Sydney Sixers ($1.65)

Saturday 18/01/2014, at Etihad Stadium, 7:45pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Melbourne Renegades 5/178 (Hales 89, Rohrer 57) defeated Sydney Sixers 10/149 (O’Keefe 41, Sheridan 3/28, Rimmington 3/28, D.Pattinson 3/34) by 29 runs at the SCG.

The Melbourne Renegades were left red faced after being the first side to lose to the Sydney Thunder since 2011. It started with league leading run scorer Aaron Finch being dismissed for a second ball globe and things never improved from there. Dan Harris was the only positive of the night after returning from his successful stint in New Zealand. The Renegades are now faced with a must win situation and are almost certain to have to do the job without Finch or Pattinson. On a positive note, Dwayne Bravo will make his debut for the Renegades after tearing New Zealand apart in the recent ODI series. His four innings produced 217 runs at an average of 108.5 and a strike rate of 106.37. He couldn’t be making his BBL debut in better form.

The Sydney Sixers have more or less guaranteed itself a berth in the BBL semi finals with its victory against Hobart. It is now two games clear of fourth with the Thunder still to play. Steve Smith has given his side a real boost in the middle order, striking half centuries in his two return matches. He could be the x factor the Sixers need to go deep into this tournament once again.

It is too much of a hole to fill with Finch out. We all saw what occurred against the Thunder when he didn’t make a start. The Sixers will be far too strong.

Prediction: The Sydney Sixers to win by 25 runs/6 wickets
Confidence: 80% 

Melbourne Stars ($1.55) vs Hobart Hurricanes ($2.46)

Tuesday 21/01/2014, at the MCG, 7:40pm (local)

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER

Hobart Hurricanes 8/134 (Paine 46, Bailey 28, Styris 24, McKay 3/25, Malinga 2/19, Faulkner 2/23) lost to Melbourne Stars 6/135 (Quiney 35, Hodge 34, Laughlin 3/14, Bollinger 2/22) by 4 wickets at the MCG.

The Melbourne Stars are still undefeated and continue to shorten in outright markets. After five dominant results, the Stars got an unexpected fright after having the Heat 5/53 in the 10th over. Dan Christian got the Heat to 144, but it shouldn’t have been nearly enough. There were plenty of starts in the Stars top order, but the consistent loss of wickets made the task a lot more difficult than it should have otherwise been. There is a theory that if the Stars do have a weakness, it is chasing a total. For the time being, it is difficult to be critical of anything the Stars are doing.

The Hobart Hurricanes have left themselves with a big job to make the finals, most likely needing wins in the final two rounds. Hobart were in another winnable position with an opening partnership of 98 in the first 10 overs, but the middle order failed to finish the good start off once again. Ben Dunk has been the find of the season, gathering 231 runs at a strike rate of 150. He would have been disappointed missing out on a hundred against the Thunder, but 96 is an outstanding achievement.

It is difficult to imagine the Hurricanes beating the Stars. It should be 7 in a row for the Stars.

Prediction: Melbourne Stars to win by 30 runs/6 wickets.
Confidence: 80%

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

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Mr Century

Covering all things T20 Big Bash Cricket for The Profits.

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