Our prediction is Sydney Sixers to win!
Match 45 of the Big Bash League sees Sydney Sixers welcome reigning champions Adelaide Strikers to the Sydney Cricket Ground. While the home side are looking to solidify their position in the top four, the Strikers are in danger of doing what the Sixers did in BBL2 and following up winning the title with a failure to reach the semi-finals.
This is the Sixers’ fourth straight match at home and they have won their last two and they come up against a Strikers side that has now lost three in a row – one home and two away. When they met earlier in the tournament in Adelaide, the Sixers ran out six-wicket winners but in this corresponding fixture last season, the Strikers won by six runs.
Throughout Big Bash League history, this match-up has been quite even, with the Strikers edging it by five wins to four. Prior to the win earlier in the year, the Strikers had won three in a row and they have never lost at the SCG.
The Sixers were a little up and down at the start of the tournament but have come on strong in the last few games, taking advantage of a string of home matches. They have had the better of Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes on slow, turning tracks. That latter game was arguably the performance of the tournament so far as they hammered the league leaders by nine wickets as Josh Phillipe and James Vince broke all sorts of records during their unbeaten second-wicket partnership.
In Philippe and Daniel Hughes at the top of the order, they look to have a settled opening partnership now and Vince has now notched two 70-plus scores in his last two innings – already scoring more runs that Joe Denly, the man he replaced. With those recent performances in mind, it would be very surprising if they were to make any changes to their starting line-up.
Josh Phillipe (wk), Daniel Hughes, James Vince, Moises Henriques (c), Jordan Silk, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshius, Steve O’Keefe, Lloyd Pope, Ben Manenti
Steve O'Keefe, Jack Edwards, B Dwarshuis, James Vince, Moises Henriques, Tom Curran, Jordan Silk, Josh Philippe, Daniel Hughes, Benjamin Manenti, Sean Abbott
This season has been something of a struggle for the Adelaide Strikers with players who performed so well last season not firing and they have also lost key men to international duty at bad times. They have a 50-50 record on the road this season but with just four games left, they are running out of time to secure that semi-final place. The problem is their recent losses haven’t been close – Sydney Thunder beat them by 71 runs, the Hurricanes by 10 wickets and Melbourne Stars by 44 runs. The last two defeats came after they won the toss and chose to field first.
Colin Ingram is the only batsman to have scored a half-century for the Strikers in their last four matches and nobody passed 40 against the Stars last time out. The bowlers therefore have had little to bowl at but they have struggled. The Strikers are missing Travis Head and Peter Siddle to Australia duty and there is only so much Rashid Khan can do – but on a turning track they will be relying on him heavily.
Alex Carey (wk), Jake Weatherald, Jake Lehmann, Colin Ingram (c), Jonathan Wells, Rashid Khan, Matt Short, Michael Neser, Ben Laughlin, Liam O’Connor, Billy Stanlake.
Michael Neser, Jake Lehmann, Ben Laughlin, Matthew Short, Colin Ingram, Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, Billy Stanlake, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, JW Wells
The SCG track has been slow and provided plenty of assistance for spinners in the most recent matches. Lots of rain is forecast between now and the game, which could take a little bit of life out of the surface. It should be clear by the time the game gets underway.
The SCG has now hosted 47 domestic Twenty20 matches and the side batting second has won 25 times to the side batting first’s 21, with one tie. The average score batting first is 154 but this season that has dropped to 151, despite scores in excess of 170 in the last two matches.
The side batting second has won three out of five matches at the SCG this season and both of these sides have favoured batting second throughout the tournament. While the Strikers prefer to bat first at home, they have tended to want to chase away from home so both captains are likely to want to field first.
This is almost last-chance saloon for the Strikers and instead of a home match against a side struggling, they have to travel to a Sixers side playing some of the best cricket they have played in some time. With a settled batting line-up and an attack that is getting the most out of the spin-friendly SCG pitch, this could be the end of the Strikers’ semi-final chances – if all goes to form, the Sixers should win this one and take another giant step towards their first semi-final appearance since 2017.
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