Man of the Match: Josh Philippe
High-flying Sydney Sixers look to pull away from Adelaide Strikers and co with their fourth consecutive win!
Adelaide Strikers to win the match!
It is expected to be a super Sunday when Sydney Sixers take on Adelaide Strikers at the Coffs Harbour in the 23rd match of the ongoing Big Bash season. Like mentioned earlier, Sydney Sixers have been in very good form in the last few matches. On Thursday, Sydney registered the fourth win of their season against Melbourne Renegades.
On a traditionally tricky Docklands wicket, it was Melbourne who batted first to score 153-6 with the help of the forties from Sam Harper and Shaun Marsh. The explosive Dan Christian also played an important role with his 17-ball 32 in the end. All the bowlers with the exception of Tom Curran were superb while the duo of Jackson Bird and Lloyd Pope stood out for Sydney.
In return, Josh Phillipe and Daniel Hughes put on a steady if not threatening opening stand with English Batsmen James Vince also coming up with a delightful 41-run knock at No.3. Although the match went the full distance, Jordan Silk used all his experience to guide Sydney home with just a ball to spare.
On the other hand, their opponents Adelaide Strikers ended up on the bad side of their own thrilling match against Sydney Thunder with Rashid Khan's superb cameo going in vain. After opting to bat first, Sydney Thunder rode on the back of two superb half-centuries from Callum Ferguson and Usman Khawaja to post an impressive 168-5. While this was always going to be a tricky chase, Adelaide got off to the worst possible start with the team being reduced to 36-3 inside the powerplay overs. It was the only opener Jake Weatherald who stood firm at one end with a neat fifty while Alex Carey and Jonathan Wells flattered to deceive.
With a flurry of wickets following Weatherald's dismissal in the 14th overs, the game looked done and dusted until Rashid Khan came up with his innovative shots to give a mighty scare to Sydney Thunder. Although Rashid did survive an LBW call, the Thunder bowlers were left short of ideas until the Afghan ran himself out in the penultimate ball of the match. In the end, Chris Morris held his nerve to eke out a slender three-run victory for Sydney Thunder.
Predictably, Sydney Sixers' batting depends a lot on their Top 3 which includes Josh Phillipe, Daniel Hughes, and James Vince. While Phillipe hasn’t been at his fluent best in the last few games, he is still Sydney Sixers' highest run-scorer with 173 runs from four matches. While Tom Curran has also come up with handy cameos, it is imperative that the likes of Moises Henriques and Jordan Silk contribute with the bat. In that regard, Silk showed some positive signs with a mature knock against Melbourne Renegades.
Meanwhile, the bowling is in safe hands with a host of wicket-takers being part of Sydney's arsenal. Even though Sydney's highest wicket-taker Sean Abbott has been ruled out due to a side strain, the likes of Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshius and Jackson Bird ensure that Sixers have a lot of quality. Additionally, young leg-spinner Lloyd Pope has emerged as one of the silent stars of the BBL with six wickets at an economy rate of 5.94.
Josh Phillipe (WK), Daniel Hughes, James Vince, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Tom Curran, Jack Edwards, Ben Dwarshius, Ben Manenti, Jackson Bird, Lloyd Pope.
Jack Edwards, B Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird, Justin Avendano, Josh Hazlewood, Tom Curran, James Vince, Jordan Silk, Josh Philippe, Daniel Hughes, Lloyd Pope
Just like Sydney Sixers, Adelaide Strikers are also top-heavy with their batting line-up. At the same time, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Adelaide probably has the better set of batsmen in Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald and Jonathan Wells. The run-charts also justify the same with Adelaide having two Batsmen (Carey and Weatherald) with more than 200 runs in the tournament so far. It has only been English recruit Phillip Salt who has been a massive disappointment with the Sussex player only managing 70 runs in five matches.
Others like Cameron White, Mathew Short and Cameron Valente have also been really short of runs and this has meant that Adelaide's middle and lower order wears a very thin look with the exception of Rashid Khan. Rashid Khan has also been on top of his game with the ball in hand with Peter Diddle being the only other bowler who has impressed until now.
The fact that Billy Stanlake, Cameron Valente and Wes Agar have been expensive will put more pressure on Rashid and Siddle to deliver every time.
Jake Weatherald, Phillip Salt, Mathew Short, Alex Carey (C & WK), Jonathan Wells, Cameron White, Cameron Valente, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Wes Agar, Billy Stanlake.
Michael Neser, Harry Conway, Philip Salt, Matthew Short, Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, Peter Siddle, Rashid Khan, CL White, Billy Stanlake, JW Wells
Given that this will be the first ever Big Bash League match at this venue, the tracks at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium are a bit of an unknown commodity. However, generally it is common to see new pitches being sticky and tough to bat on. This might be the case at Coffs Harbour too. Meanwhile, sunny skies are expected on Sunday with just a 10 % chance for rain.
The Coffs Harbour International Stadium is a multi-purpose venue that hosts a wide array of sporting events including soccer, Rugby League, Australian rules football and cricket. This upcoming fixture between Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers will be historic considering that Sixers never played a home match outside of the more famous Sydney Cricket Ground.
When captains are not too sure with respect to the pitch, they generally tend to bowl first in order to gauge the wicket in the first inning. This should be seen in this match too as chasing will remove any challenges that the pitch might pose to the batsmen in the first inning.
In a battle between two very good teams, it is always difficult to predict but we will go with the Adelaide Strikers instead of sitting on the fence.
On paper, Adelaide seems to have the kind of batsmen who could play well on any kind of track while Rashid Khan will, as usual, be a potential game-changer. A Sydney Sixers win, on the other hand, might require vital contributions from the trio of James Vince, Tom Curran, and Lloyd Pope.
Adelaide Strikers to win the match!