The Thunders to hit it!
Our prediction is Sydney Thunder to win!
Match 24 of the Big Bash League sees two sides in the bottom half of the table come up against each other as Brisbane Heat travel to take on Sydney Thunder. Thunder were well beaten by Melbourne Stars in their last match, only managing to put up a score of 135 for eight on a slow pitch at the Carrara Oval. Only Daniel Sams, with 42 runs and one wicket, emerged with much credit.
Heat, meanwhile, got themselves out of a run of three straight defeats with an excellent five-wicket win over Perth Scorchers at the weekend on a quick pitch in Western Australia.
These two sides met last season in Brisbane, when Heat won by six wickets with one ball remaining. In fact, Heat have dominated the head-to-head in this fixture with six wins to Thunder’s one – which came back in 2014. They have also won the only time the game has been played at this venue.
Thunder’s campaign has stuttered along so far and a 50-50 win-loss record leaves them in the bottom half of the table. They started well with home wins against Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers but have now lost three times on the road, to Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers and the Stars. Their only other victory came at home against Perth Scorchers where they proved they can deliver the goods on a slow track. They might well have to do so again here.
This will be the last game for Jos Buttler and Joe Root before they return home ready for England’s tour of the West Indies. They will want to leave one final mark before they are replaced by Anton Devcich and Chris Jordan. Pat Cummins, despite not being involved in the ODIs against India, will not be available for this game. Thunder could well name the same team that played against the Scorchers and the Stars, especially if the pitch is as slow as it has been already so far this tournament.
Shane Watson (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Callum Ferguson, Joe Root, Jason Sangha, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Gurinder Sandhu, Jonathan Cook, Sam Rainbird, Fawad Ahmed
After three straight defeats, Heat finally got off the mark in good style against the Scorchers. They adapted quickly to a quick pitch and Mujeeb Ur Rehman was in brilliant form before Joe Burns and Ben Cutting helped them get home with a relatively comfortable 10 balls to spare. However, they rode their luck at times and will sweat on the fitness of Cutting, who struggled with a bad back during his innings.
Meanwhile, Australia’s ODI squad announcement was very kind to Heat. As other sides lose big players, not one of their men were called up. An added boost is the return of Marnus Labaschagne from Test duty and if fresh enough, he could come straight into the side, perhaps at the expense of Max Bryant at the top of the order or Cutting if he is not fit enough to play.
Max Bryant, Brendon McCullum, Chris Lynn (c), Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns, Ben Cutting/Marnus Labuschagne, Jimmy Peirson (wk), James Pattinson, Josh Lalor, Brendan Doggett, Mujeeb Ur Rehman
There has been rain forecast over the weekend and although that is expected to clear before the game, it could slow the pitch down. The last game played here saw both sides battling with a slow, tacky surface and more of the same can be expected.
Also known as the Spotless Stadium, the Sydney Showground Stadium is a very new venue and has seen just 16 Twenty20 games. There is an even split between sides winning batting first and second and the average score batting first is 153. However, only once this season has a side passed 150.
Sydney Thunder have won their last three matches here – two this season, one last – by batting first. After losing four tosses in a row, they won the last two and batted first so expect the home side to want to set a target and let their spinners strangle the run chase. Heat lost three tosses in a row but when they did win one against the Scorchers, they chose to field first and won – albeit on a more even-paced pitch than this one.
Thunder’s home record could be the key factor here, as well as the fact that they have now played two games in a row on very similar surfaces to what they should find at the Showground Stadium. Heat may lead the head-to-head but Thunder are on a good run at home. That should be enough to help them bounce back from defeat against the Stars with Buttler to the fore as he bids farewell to the BBL for this season.
Back Sydney Thunder for the win!
Featured bookmaker: Betway