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January 18, 2020
Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers
Venue: Sydney Showground Stadium | Start: 7:10pm (AEDT)
Sydney Thunder – With just one win in their last five, the Thunder are desperate for two points. And what better way to get back to back to winning ways than against their crosstown rivals, a side who has had the recent wood on them. The Thunder have lost three of the last four Sydney Smashes, including the last – perhaps the best game in their history – on December 28 which went down to a super over.
Shane Bond’s side grabbed the unwanted tag of being the first side to lose to the previously-winless Melbourne Renegades in a rain-reduced match on Wednesday night. Requiring 135 from just 14 overs, the Thunder fell 12 short. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom after a gallant (and dominant) 51 off 27 from Alex Ross, while Liam Bowe was the pick of the bowlers in just his second game for the club, picking up 2/23 off his four overs.
Part of the reason the Thunder have struggled in the last five games is that only once has one of their heralded top three – Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales and Callum Ferguson – passed 50. This contrasts with early in the season, a period where they lost just one of their first five games (the aforementioned super over loss), where each game saw an anchoring innings by one of the above three. Should one of these three return to their dominant best, half the job will be done for the Thunder against their rivals.
Sydney Sixers – The Sixers have traditionally dominated the Sydney Smash, with 11 wins in 16 games including three of the last four. Frustratingly for Greg Shipperd and his team, their clash against the Hurricanes on Thursday night was washed out in a game they began as favourites. And while they’ll be disappointed they didn’t have the chance to gun for two points, the solitary point they were granted with the no-result could prove vital come season’s end in separating clubs on equal wins. Also, players were well aware the rain wasn’t a bad thing at all given recent events. “Can’t really complain about rain at the moment. I’m all for the rain,” Nathan Lyon, who continues to recover from a thumb injury, said during the delay. “Fingers crossed for the fans that we’re able to get some cricket in, but also, hopefully it rains and stays around for a while.”
Lyon could be fast-tracked back for this one, but it’s likely Shipperd will err on the side of caution. Interestingly, the Sixers opted for the dual finger spin option of Steve O’Keefe and Ben Manenti against the Canes, deciding to leave Lloyd Pope out despite him being their most successful spinner this season with 10 wickets. Whether that was matchup-specific or a shift in tactics will be seen at the toss in this clash.
Betting Analysis – Speaking of rain, the forecast suggests a deluge hitting the Harbour City this weekend, but with luck they’ll squeeze in a match. The Thunder have won just one of three at the Showgrounds this season but pleasingly for Bond, got the points in their last encounter. Look for Ferguson to return to form after an outrageously unlucky runout against the Renegades, while Daniel Sams remains the standout wicket-taking option for Thunder. For the Sixers, skipper Moises Henriques is a value option at number four while with the ball, look for Tom Curran to reprise his brilliance from this clash earlier in the season.
Head to Head: Sydney Thunder
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Thunder: Callum Ferguson
Most Wickets – Sydney Thunder: Daniel Sams
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Sixers: Moises Henriques
Most Wickets – Sydney Sixers: Tom Curran