Our prediction is Brisbane Heat to win!
Match 33 of the Big Bash League sees Brisbane Heat host Sydney Thunder at the Gabba in a clash between two sides that have just registered comprehensive victories in their last matches. The Heat hammered Melbourne Renegades by 101 runs soon after Thunder swept aside Adelaide Strikers by 71 runs so both teams come into this match in good form.
Heat hosted Thunder in last season’s competition and ran out victors by six wickets in a game that was reduced to 17 overs per side with similar personnel on show that day that will play in this game – minus Jos Buttler and a few others. That win was the fourth straight time Heat have beaten Thunder and they dominate the head-to-head with seven wins to one. They have also won all three times the two sides have played at the Gabba.
However, they might not have things their own way this time around as Thunder will go into this match ahead of them in the table and they are enjoying a good run of form – even if they have not travelled well.
Heat got off to a poor start to this season’s competition with three straight defeats but have since bounced back with some impressive performances. After picking up no points in three, they have won three and lost one including that hammering of the Renegades last time out. If Brendon McCullum, Max Bryant and Chris Lynn all fire as they did on that day, Thunder are in trouble.
However, after the ODI call-ups were kind to Heat, they will be forced into changes as Australia return to Test action in the next few days against Sri Lanka with Marnus Labuschagne, Joe Burns and Matt Renshaw unavailable. Nevertheless, only the latter played against the Renegades so the Heat will likely name the same team that thrashed the Renegades. They will miss James Pattinson for the remainder of the season but with Brendan Doggett and Josh Lalor in good form they will be happy enough with their options.
Max Bryant, Brendon McCullum, Chris Lynn (c), Alex Ross, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Ben Cutting, Josh Lalor, Brendan Doggett, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rehman
Thunder were expected to find life a little more difficult following the departure of Jos Buttler but they eased past the Strikers to make it four wins out of eight in the tournament so far. Daniel Sams has been one of their stars of the tournament, scoring 135 runs and taking 11 wickets while Shane Watson’s timely half-century led the way against the Strikers.
Jay Lenton took over the gloves and scored useful runs while Arjun Nair, in just his second BBL appearance of the season, took three for 12 and could retain his place at the expense of fellow spinner Jonathan Cook. Jason Sangha and Kurtis Patterson are on CA XI duty, and Thunder must replace the former although the latter has not featured this season. Ryan Gibson could make his first start of the campaign.
With that in mind, they could also use some runs from Anton Devcich and Callum Ferguson as if one or two of their top order doesn’t fire it leaves the other senior players under a lot of pressure and that is something Heat will look to exploit.
Anton Devcich, Shane Watson (c), Callum Ferguson, Ryan Gibson, Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Jay Lenton (wk), Chris Green, Chris Jordan, Gurinder Sandhu, Fawad Ahmed
Warm and mostly dry is the forecast this week at the Gabba, with the only rain around due to come in early on the day of the match. That might just spice the pitch up a touch but will likely have little effect. The Brisbane pitch has been good for spinners and quite quick in recent matches and that should be the case again.
The Gabba has now hosted 31 domestic Twenty20 matches and there is a tie between the amount of times a side batting first wins and the side batting second wins. This season, however, sides batting second have had the best results. The average score batting first is 172 but this season’s BBL has seen teams having to work hard for their runs and averaging only 145.
Both teams batting second at the Gabba have won this season after winning the toss, suggesting this is the most likely approach from both captains. Heat have won just one toss all season, choosing to field first against Perth Scorchers and going on to win. Thunder, meanwhile, have won the toss in their last four matches, batting three times and fielding once.
Both of these sides were mighty impressive in their last matches and will take lots of confidence into this one. Heat’s comeback from a dreadful start has been one of the stories of the competition and their record against Thunder – particularly at this venue – could just give them the edge. For whatever reason, Thunder have not got it together away from home and this could be where they start to feel the loss of Buttler a little more, particularly with Sangha away also.
We are backing Brisbane Heat for the win!
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