January 26, 2020
Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers
Venue: Sydney Showground Stadium | Start: 2:45pm (AEDT)
Sydney Thunder – The Thunder missed a golden opportunity to put a buffer on other finals hopefuls on Friday night, losing to the Hurricanes who now sit equal on 11 points with Shane Bond’s side. And with the Heat on 10 points (also playing Saturday), it’s a log jammed BBL09 table. The fact is, though, that the Thunder have come back to the pack after a poor run of form that’s seen them lose three of their last four games. As a result, they not only need to win this clash to be any hope of making the finals, but will also need to rely on results going against both the Hurricanes and Heat to scrape into the playoffs.
One man who might single-handedly drag the Thunder into the finals is Alex Hales, who has plundered 63 and 85 in his last two games to move within the top five runscorers of BBL09. In fact, the Englishman has scored 20 or more in six of his last seven knocks – an incredible level of consistency in this format. The fact is, however, few of his teammates are going with him. Skipper Callum Ferguson started the season on fire but his top score in the last five games is just 12. Similarly, Usman Khawaja has scored just 27 runs in his last four innings. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the Thunder’s highest total in their last four games is just 154. Bond knows he needs more from his top order should they wish to claim the points in this vital clash. They’ve made no changes to their 13-man squad.
Perth Scorchers – The Scorchers have lost three of their last four to be dragged back into the log-jammed mid-table. Unlike some of their rivals, however, Adam Voges’ side have their destiny in their own hands and put simply, a win here will see them through to the finals. Voges said after their loss to the Strikers on Friday night he wasn’t surprised with the predicament they’ve found themselves in. “We never like doing things easy,” he conceded. “I always felt it was probably going to come down to the game against the Thunder in Sydney (on Sunday), and it’s proved to be the case. We played really well against them a couple of nights ago.”
That clash Voges referred to saw the Scorchers easily account for the Thunder, chasing down 153 with eight wickets and a whopping 27 balls to go. The confidence from this win shouldn’t be underplayed in the context of this encounter. They welcome South African legend Morne Morkel into their squad for this one, replacing Englishman Chris Jordan, who leaves BBL09 as the Scorchers’ leading wicket taker with 15 for the season. There was word on Saturday afternoon that death bowling specialist Andrew Tye, who has been out injured all season, would make a shock return for this clash, but they’ve opted to leave him out.
Betting Analysis – Despite their poor recent form, the Thunder have in fact won their last two at Sydney Showground Stadium. But in truth there’s little that splits these sides. In the individual markets, it’s difficult to look past Hales as the Thunder top runscorer while with the ball, Daniel Sams (10 more wickets than the next-best Thunder bowler) is similarly tough to look beyond. For the Scorchers, skipper Mitch Marsh should thrive on a surface that tends to skid on. And given Jordan’s departure, look for some value in Morkel making an immediate impact on the Big Bash with the ball.
Head to Head: Perth Scorchers
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Thunder: Alex Hales
Most Wickets – Sydney Thunder: Daniel Sams
Top Runs Scorer – Perth Scorchers: Mitch Marsh
Most Wickets – Perth Scorchers: Morne Morkel