January 25, 2020
Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Renegades
Venue: SCG | Start: 3:40pm (AEDT)
Sydney Sixers – Equal on points with the Strikers, the Sixers need to defeat wooden spooners the Renegades in their final home-and-away clash of BBL09 to be in with a chance of finishing the season in second. This would earn them the coveted double-chance against the Stars at the MCG next Friday night, the winner of which goes directly through to the final, while the loser gets another chance. Given the Strikers’ significantly better percentage, however, a win still mightn’t be enough provided Jason Gillespie’s men account for the Hurricanes on Sunday evening.
Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood returns for this clash, joining international teammates Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon in the ultra-experienced Sixers squad. Off-spinner Ben Manenti makes way in the 13-man match day squad, and it might be Jackson Bird who is squeezed out of the final XI given he and Hazlewood both play similar roles for the men in magenta. Otherwise, it’s likely Greg Shipperd will stay with the dual spin of Lyon and Steve O’Keefe at the SCG, after the left-arm tweaker claimed man of the match honours for his 1/20 against the Heat, including the prized wicket of Chris Lynn. And given Lyon, too, claimed the more-than-handy figures of 1/24 from his four overs, the pair’s variations could prove vital to their side’s hopes of playing the Stars next Friday night.
Smith, who made just nine in his first Big Bash game in six years, said the Sixers are well placed to push for just their second ever BBL title – the first of which came in season one. “It’s a well-balanced team, quality batters and bowlers, good power, good smarts, and in T20 cricket you need a mixture of all of that,” he said. “We have that at the moment. Hopefully we can keep gaining momentum and come finals time we can put on a show.”
Melbourne Renegades – The Renegades’ season is now officially done after losing to the Hurricanes on Tuesday night at Marvel Stadium. In truth, it was done the night before when Perth Scorchers moved beyond 10 points to ensure their long shot at squeezing into the top five shifted from improbable to impossible. With two wins from 12 games in BBL09, it’s been a torrid affair for first-year coach Michael Klinger. Filling the boots of the title-winning Andrew McDonald, the Gades have looked lacklustre and out of answers despite their vast experience.
And things won’t get any easier in this clash, as two of their top three run scorers have been sidelined. Sam Harper was hospitalised on Tuesday night after a nasty collision at the non-strikers end saw the young batsman attempt to jump over Hurricanes bowler Nathan Ellis to avoid a run-out. Instead he would flip and land on his head and, after concussion issues in the past, it’s doubtful he will play again this season. Marsh by contrast strained his hamstring during his innings, and while he continued until his dismissal, won’t play again in BBL09. The left-hander (449 runs this season) and Harper (279 runs) have been integral this season with the bat. The only other batsman to score over 200 runs is Beau Webster (404 runs), as they leave a big hole in the top order. With Jake Fraser-McGurk and Mackenzie Harvey on Australian U19 duties, it will likely be Marcus Harris and Tom Cooper to fill their spots.
Betting Analysis – The Sixers are three wins from four at the SCG this season. In three of these clashes, the side batting first has posted under 150, as the surface proves one of the competition’s trickier ones to bat on. James Vince looked sumptuous in his half-century on Thursday night and is a strong option in the individual batting markets. With the ball, Lyon should prove a handful to the out-of-form Renegades batsmen. For the Gades, in the absence of Marsh, skipper Aaron Finch is the obvious choice with the bat, keen to restore some pride this season. With the ball, Cam Boyce could prove tricky on a surface that offers something for the spinners.
Head to Head: Sydney Sixers
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Sixers: James Vince
Most Wickets – Sydney Sixers: Nathan Lyon
Top Runs Scorer – Melbourne Renegades: Aaron Finch
Most Wickets – Melbourne Renegades: Cameron Boyce