Sydney Thunder itching to beat Brisbane Heat for taking lead over the bottom four teams!
Sydney Thunder to win!
It’s yet another match-day in the Big Bash League and hosts Sydney Thunder will take on the struggling Brisbane Heat at the Showground Stadium on Monday. This match will be pivotal for not just these two teams but also the entire league as a Sydney Thunder win could create a big enough gap between the top and bottom halves of the points table. This is exactly what Sydney Thunder will be aiming for after a string of close finishes.
After losing out in the super over to cross-town rivals Sydney Sixers, Thunder managed to overcome a late assault from Rashid Khan to beat Adelaide Strikers by a mere three runs. If this level anxiety wasn’t enough, Thunder had to suffer yet another close defeat at the hands of Melbourne Stars in their most recent match. First of all, it has to be said that the Sydney Thunder failed to put on a challenging total by only posting 142-9 after opting to bat first. Even the duo of Alex Ross and Mathew Gilkes who were amongst the very few to get some runs had to work hard for it. In return, Thunder did start their defense well by dismissing Nic Maddinson for a duck but Marcus Stonis and Nick Larkin took the game away from them with a 123-run partnership. Even though Stars lost a flurry of wickets in the back-end of their chase, they reached home with three wickets and two balls to spare.
Brisbane Heat, on the other hand, is coming into this match with a resounding 31-run win against Hobart Hurricanes. After floundering against Perth Scorchers, Heat's batters came to the party this time with Max Bryant and Chris Lynn playing at their explosive best. With the duo registering quickfire half-centuries, Heat was well set for a total above 200 and this eventually happened with Matt Renshaw and Ben Cutting finishing off on a great note. Chasing 213 for victory, Hurricanes were rarely in the game after losing wickets at regular intervals. As many as six Hurricanes' batsmen failing to convert their 20s into a match-winning effort. In the end, Heat secured their second win of the season by a margin of 31 runs.
A number of batsmen have stood up for Sydney Thunder in different matches but Callum Ferguson has been the stand-out performer until now. The experienced batter has notched up 248 runs in six matches at a strike rate of 141.71. Even though the batters have to take the bulk of the responsibility, Thunder would also hope that the duo of Chris Morris and Daniel Sams find their touch with the bat soon enough.
With the ball though, the duo has been terrific to pick up a combined 20 wickets for their team until now. Given that Sams's bowls with the new ball while Morris is invaluable during the death overs, the two have also provided apt options for skipper Callum Ferguson at different junctures of an inning. Apart from these two, Arjun Nair and Chris Green have complemented the pacers very well with their miserly economy rate.
Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (C), Matthew Gilkes (WK), Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Arjun Nair, Brendan Doggett, Nathan McAndrew
Alex Hales, CP Tremain, Daniel Sams, Brendan Doggett, Arjun Nair, Christopher Green, Chris Morris, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Gilkes, Callum Ferguson, Alex Ross
As usual, the success of Brisbane Heat depends heavily on their batting line-up. While Tom Banton has flattered to deceive after one scintillating knock, two other important cogs in the form of Max Bryant and Chris Lynn hit the right notes against Hobart Hurricanes. The one player who surprised everyone with this T20 gameplay has been the southpaw Matt Renshaw. With 156 runs at a strike-rate of 136.84, Renshaw has combined consistency with quick-scoring while batting at No.4.
Bowling wise, the likes of Ben Laughlin, Zahir Khan, and Josh Lalor have all tended to depend on big scores. This is why Brisbane Heat will be worried about the team's ability to be penetrative while bowling first or defending a low total. If Australia releases Mitch Swepson from the Test squad, Heat's bowling might look like a much better one.
Tom Banton, Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (C), Matt Renshaw, Ben Cutting, Jimmy Peirson, Mark Steketee, Josh Lalor, Jack Prestwidge, Zahir Khan, Ben Laughlin
Ben Cutting, Zahir Khan, Ben Laughlin, Matt Renshaw, Chris Lynn, Jack Prestwidge, Josh Lalor, Mitchell Swepson, Jimmy Peirson, Max Bryant, Tom Banton
The Sydney Showground Stadium has historically been a venue that has tended to provide something for everyone. While seamers tend to enjoy the pace and bounce in the wicket, spinners have also come into the game during the second inning of the matches. It will be wise for the team batting first to aim for a target around 150-160 so that they don’t get bundled out for a cheap score while aiming to put on a much bigger total. Unfortunately, inclement weather has been predicted for the morning hours on Monday and this might result in a shortened game.
The Sydney Showground Stadium has been a very popular venue in the Big Bash League over the last few seasons with it also being the home ground for Sydney Thunder. Just like how most of the Australian venues are, the Showground Stadium is also a multi-purpose ground with sports like football, Rugby being hosted here. As mentioned above, this ground is not known for big totals and it is proved by the fact that no team has posted a total above 200 in 25 BBL matches so far.
The pitches at the Sydney Showground Stadium generally tend to slow down during the second innings of a match. This might force the two captains to bat first in order to play a safe game. Brisbane Heat especially might need this cushion as their bowlers haven’t seemed to perform well without a big enough target to defend. Interestingly, the teams who batted first also won each one of the five matches at this ground last season.
We are going for a Sydney Thunder victory in this match due to the better all-round makeup of their team. While Brisbane Heat's batting line-up is explosive, their success rate tends to be very low and also the Sydney Showground Stadium might not be the apt one for their stroke makers. This might be one more game where Thunder's batters like Callum Ferguson and Alex Ross might make the all-important impact.
Sydney Thunder to win!