Our prediction is Perth Scorchers to win!
Match 54 of the Big Bash League sees two sides with a history of success in this tournament battling it out to avoid the wooden spoon. With just nine wins between them all season, their chances of reaching the semi-finals have already gone and they have little more than pride to play for.
It’s been a while since these two met at Adelaide, as last season’s encounter (won by the Scorchers) was held at Alice Springs. The Scorchers also won when the two sides met in Perth on a spicy pitch. Throughout the course of BBL history, the Scorchers have the edge with eight wins to five including the last four times these two have met. However, at the Adelaide Oval, it is even with two wins apiece.
Michael Klinger has bade the Perth Scorchers farewell and Colin Ingram has done the same to the Adelaide Strikers and with this being a dead rubber, both sides could make changes to give others an opportunity to get some BBL experience.
The reigning champions’ campaign never really got going and in the last couple of weeks it almost completely fell apart. They have won just two if their last seven matches and that includes a brace of defeats at home, to the Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat respectively.
They have welcomed back Peter Siddle from Test duty and Travis Head will return to take the reins for this last match fresh from his maiden ton against Sri Lanka. That will give the Strikers a boost, as their batting has failed to fire as a unit on too many occasions.
They might be tempted to play another spinner, given the Oval’s general tendency to turn so Cameron Valente could miss out in favour of Michael Cormack, Liam O’Connor or Daniel Drew.
Alex Carey (wk), Jake Weatherald, Jake Lehmann, Travis Head (c), Jonathan Wells, Harry Nielsen, Michael Neser, Rashid Khan, Liam O’Connor, Peter Siddle, Ben Laughlin.
Like the Strikers, the Scorchers have never been able to put a decent run of wins together during this tournament and as a result are out of semi-final contention. International call-ups and injuries have not helped, as shown by the fact they have used four players who were not in their original squad.
Of those, Nick Hobson and Clint Hinchcliffe can be expected to feature in this match while Will Bosisto and Aaron Hardie have lost their places as others returned to action. Shaun Marsh missed the win over Melbourne Stars with a hamstring injury, which allowed the Scorchers to give Klinger a winning farewell at home.
If fit, Marsh should return and it was only two innings ago that he hammered 96 in 55 balls against Sydney Thunder. In fact, there are enough Scorchers batsmen in decent form that if they all play well on the same night – as they did against the Stars – they are still a very dangerous outfit. They may think about playing Usman Qadir if they feel the Oval will take turn, perhaps at the expense of Hinchcliffe or Jason Behrendorff.
Josh Inglis, Shaun Marsh, Ashton Turner, Cameron Bancroft (wk), Mitchell Marsh (c), Nick Hobson, Clint Hinchcliffe, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Andrew Tye, Matthew Kelly, Usman Qadir.
The weather in the run-up to the match should be dry and warm, which might add some dryness to the pitch. However, Saturday morning is forecast to be wet which might just slow things up a little. The weather should clear by the time the game gets underway and there will hopefully be no interruptions.
The Adelaide Oval has now hosted 39 completed domestic Twenty20 matches with the side batting first winning 22 times to the side batting second’s 17. The average score batting first is 165 but this season that average has jumped to 168 – a rare occasion of run-scoring being on the rise at a BBL venue. The Strikers have a 19-16 win-loss record at this venue.
The Strikers went through a period of winning the toss and choosing to bat at home but weren’t so keen on that idea away from home after they were hammered by 10 wickets by the Hobart Hurricanes. With almost nothing to lose, they might revisit it one last time if they win the toss at their home venue. The Scorchers, on the other hand, have always batted second after winning the toss this season, which potentially renders the toss a waste of time.
Dead rubbers can be hard to predict because teams could spring a surprise or two by naming teams with young players in to give them opportunities, or shuffle their batting order to try something a little different. There will be no quarter asked or given despite the fact that neither side can qualify for the semi-finals so expect a competitive encounter – these are two sides, remember, that are used to battling it out at the other end of the table.
On form, we have to give the Scorchers the edge. If they play as well as they did against the Melbourne Stars last time out, they should have enough to leave the Strikers with the wooden spoon.
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