The fifth edition of the KFC Big Bash gets underway this week with a number of mouth-watering fixtures. And with some of the most talented limited overs players in the world set to take part in the competition, we're set for two months of absolutely fascinating cricket.
Thursday 17 December
Sydney Thunder 29/20
Sydney Sixers 11/20
The eyes of the cricketing world will be firmly fixed on the Spotless Stadium in Sydney for the first game of this season’s KFC Big Bash. The encounter will pit last year’s runners-up, the Sixers against perennial underachievers, the Thunder in a Sydney derby on Thursday morning.
The Sixers head into their first game of the season looking like one of the teams to beat at BBL05. They’ve maintained most of the squad that saw them get to the final last season whilst enlisting the services of former Protea T20 capatian, Johan Botha and the exciting Jason Bird. Both will add considerable venom to an already potent bowling attack. They’re no mugs in the batting department either, with the likes of Michael Lumb, Moises Henriques and Brad Haddin all able to hit the ball a mile.
Their opponents have made some pretty shrewd acquisitions in the off-season bringing in the likes of Shane Watson, Ben Roher and Fawad Ahmed. However, it's the signing of Andre Russell that really has the Thunder’s fans excited. The mercurial West Indian is easily one of the best T20 players in the world. His ferocious batting, viscous brand of fast bowling and unmatched dexterity in the field make him the most feared T20 cricketer in the world behind the likes of AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.
Verdict: Sixers 11/20
I really like the look of this Thunder side, and I feel that if their big players all fire they could push this Sixers side all the way on Thursday. One feels though, that with the Sixers’ pedigree in this tournament, it’d take a brave punter to go against them. Back the men in pink to get the job done on Thursday.
Friday 18 December
Adelaide Strikers 14/10 (EXPECTED ODDS*)
Melbourne Stars 13/20
The second game of the tournament will pit the Adelaide Strikers against the much-fancied Melbourne Stars. The Stars have never failed to reach the semi-finals but have never managed to progress into the final either. The Strikers, on the other hand reached the play-offs for the first time last season and will be looking to repeat the trick in this campaign.
I genuinely think that the Strikers will struggle in BBL05, especially when I look at their squad on paper. Their overseas players – Adil Rashid and Mahela Jayawardene – don’t exactly jump out at you while none of their local players, with the exception of Brad Hodge, look as though they’ll set the world alight this season.
By contrast, the Stars are packed full of world-class match-winners. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, James Faulkner and Luke Wright are all very capable of taking the game away from the opposition in the blink of an eye. Pietersen will be especially dangerous, he comes into this tournament in magnificent form. The big Englishman set the Ram Slam T20 Challenge alight scoring 401 runs in just seven games for the Sunfoil Dolphins at an average of 80.20. If he can produce the form he showed in South Africa on Friday morning, the Strikers’ fielders will be reduced to spectators as KP dispatches the ball to all parts of the Adelaide Oval.
Verdict: Stars 13/20
The Stars possess way too much quality to be worried by this Strikers outfit. Expect them to secure a straight-forward enough victory on Friday.
*Please note that this match had not been riced up at the time of publishing. As such, we've used expected odds.
Bet on these matches now at Hollywoodbets.net! Haven’t got an account? Open one here now