Our Big Bash scribe previews Saturday's fixture between the Strikers and the Sixers.
Game 11 of the BBL sees the bottom placed Strikers take on the Sixers, who sit comfortably in the top four. The Strikers need a win desperately after being outplayed in their first two outings while the Sixers can climb up a place in the rankings with a win.
Big Bash Game 11 | Strikers v Sixers | Saturday 31 December | 10:10 | Adelaide
To Win Match
Strikers 4/5 | Tie 35/1 | Sixers 21/20
StrikersSimply put, the strikers have not been good enough so far. They have not been able to put a complete performance together, and look as though they need some inspiration. In their opener, they came very close but ultimately fell short of their target of 206, set by the Heat; losing by 10 runs. In their second game, they were completely outplayed by the Scorchers and went down by 48 runs. Players such as Kieron Pollard, Jake Lehmann and Travis Head have failed to make any difference with the bat and bowlers such as Michael Neser, Kane Richardson and Chris Jordan have been well below par. The players will all need to step up against a very good Sydney Sixers side.
Positives have been the form of the openers Jake Weatherald and Ben Dunk. They may have combined for scores of 0 and 1 in their most recent match but before that they opened up with a partnership of 133 that almost won the game for the Strikers. There is no doubt that the openers are crucial but the vastly experienced middle order of Pollard, Head, Hodge and Lehmann need to contribute a lot more. The bowlers need to start hitting their lengths as well after going for scores of 206 and 197 so far. Keep the bowling tight and teams can’t score many runs, it’s simple really. The Strikers need to start getting their basics right.
The Sixers have enjoyed a decent start to the competition winning two games quite comfortably with a bad loss to the Hurricanes between them. They saw off the defending champions and local rivals the Sydney Thunder in their first game and most recently they did away with the tournament’s most successful team, the Scorchers. They will be wary not to repeat the performance against the Hurricanes, a much less fancied side, here against another team they should be beating comfortably.
Jason Roy, who sat out against the Scorchers, following a series of back spasms, should be back which is good news for the Sixers as they have now used three different opening partnerships in as many games. Expect Roy to open with Sam Billings who looked very good against the Scorchers at the top of the order. Other crucial players in this Sixers side who will look to make a difference are Steve O’Keefe who is expected to shortly be playing for Australia in their third test against Pakistan and Johan Botha whose performances may see him get a call-up to Australia’s T20 squad. Sean Abbott and Ben Dwarshuis have also been very good performers for the Sydney side so far.
Verdict: Sixers To Win at 21/20
The Strikers just don’t seem to be able to pull off a complete performance so far. The bowlers and batsmen will need to both click and I just don’t see that happening against a very good, experienced Sixers side who will feel that they can take advantage of the lack of confidence within the Strikers bowling ranks. Back the Sixers to win their third game.
Written by Dale Vos for @Hollywoodbets.