Sydney Thunder seek to sneak into the play-offs with a victory against Perth Scorchers!
Perth Scorchers to win!
Just a few matches are left in the group phase of the 2019-20 Big Bash League and several permutations and combinations might be discussed by all the teams given that there is a lot of competition for the five playoff spots. Two among those teams are Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers with the latter in a better position to make it to the next round.
However, Sydney Thunder could gain a back-door entry of sorts if they manage to defeat Perth Scorchers on Sunday. With 7th placed Brisbane Heat having two games in hand, a win might not guarantee a play-off spot but a positive result is vital to stay in contention. It could have all completely easier if Thunder came up with a better performance at Hobart on Friday. After winning the toss, hosts Hobart Hurricanes capitalized on that decision with skipper Matthew Wade and Macalister Wright registering superb half-centuries to put the team in a dominant position.
Further, a 10-ball 29 blitz from George Bailey helped Hobart finish with an eventual 185-6. After giving away so many runs, Sydney Thunder was never in with a chance as only Alex Hales and Alex Ross seemed to be in good touch. Thunder was left to rue the fact that seven of their batsman were dismissed for single figures. Predictably, this performance led to a massive 57-run loss for the visitors.
Their opponent for the upcoming game, Perth Scorchers also suffered a loss on the same day at the hands of Adelaide Strikers. Just like Thunder, Perth Scorchers also leaked too many runs with the likes of Philip Salt, Jake Weatherald and Travis Head making merry to help Adelaide get a good total on the board. In return, although Liam Livingstone seemed in outstanding touch, the Strikers bowling line-up led by the young Wes Agar struck in regular intervals to ensure that Scorchers fell short of the 182-run target by a margin of 16 runs.
Sydney Thunder’s strength would obviously be their batting in spite of some disappointing performances from Usman Khawaja and the entire lower middle-order. English opener Alex Hales has led the way by scoring 402 runs in 13 games while Callum Ferguson has also contributed with three half-centuries in this season.
Middle-order batsman Alex Ross has also been a somewhat underrated player with him consistently scoring runs at important phases of an inning. Just like the batting, Sydney’s bowling has also depended heavily on a couple of key performers in the form of Daniel Sams and Chris Morris. The spinners, Arjun Nair, Jono Cook and Liam Bowe have performed decently but one still gets the feeling that Thunder another striker bowler.
Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Callum Ferguson (C), Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Jay Lenton (WK), Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Gurinder Sandhu, Jonathan Cook, Liam Bowe
Alex Hales, CP Tremain, Daniel Sams, Jonathan Cook, Arjun Nair, Jay Lenton, Chris Morris, Usman Khawaja, Gurinder Sandhu, Callum Ferguson, Alex Ross
If Sydney Thunder are strong with their batting, Perth Scorchers are even better in that department. After all, the BBL has witnessed some outstanding strokeplay from a number of Scorchers batsman in this season. Openers Josh Inglis and Liam Livingstone with them striking at 153.57 and 149.44 respectively.
Livingstone was also at his very best during his 79-run knock against Adelaide Strikers on Friday. If these two aren’t enough, Mitchell Marsh has also found his best form to score 371 runs in 13 matches. Cameron Bancroft who was pushed lower down the order has also tried to make the move work while Chris Jordan and Jhye Richardson also promise more fireworks during the end overs.
On the bowling front, the same Jordan and Richardson have done exceedingly well at different phases of an inning to pick 15 and 14 wickets respectively. The wily old Fawad Ahmed has also brought his best to the table to die down batsmen during the middle-overs.
Josh Inglis (WK), Liam Livingstone, Kurtis Patterson, Mitchell Marsh (C), Ashton Turner, Cameron Bancroft, Ashton Agar, Chris Jordan, Jhye Richardson, Matthew Kelly, Fawad Ahmed
Ashton Agar, CT Bancroft, Josh Inglis, Timothy David, Jhye Richardson, Fawad Ahmed, Morne Morkel, Mitchell Marsh, AJ Turner, Matthew Kelly, Liam Livingstone
The Showground Stadium in Sydney has traditionally been a ground which doesn’t produce really high-scoring games under normal weather conditions. The average scoring batting first has tended to be around 150-155. Due to the slow paced nature of the surfaces, spinners have always had a big role to play at this venue. Although the Australian Bureau of Meteorology withdraw a severe thunderstorm warning, there is still a big chance for rain on Sunday.
The Sydney Showground Stadium is a multi-purpose venue which has been used for various sports like cricket, Australian rules football, baseball and many other such events. Sydney Thunder have hosted most of their home games at this ground ever since 2015. However, the venue hasn’t fruitful in terms of results as Thunder have lost 13 of the 23 matches which have been played here until now.
The decision at the toss is heavily reliant on the overhead conditions. If rain is going to play a big part in the match, it would be wise to field first. However, if the sun beats down on the wicket, it could become really tough for the team batting second.
Not only because Sydney Thunder has a poor record at the Showground Stadium but also the fact that Perth Scorchers have more match-winners helps in tilting the scales in their favour.
Throughout the season, at least one of Josh Inglis or Liam Livingstone has gone berserk meaning that the opposition is put on the back-foot straight-away. Therein lies the key for Thunder too as their early wickets might disturb Scorchers’ batting plans.
Perth Scorchers to win!