It’s do or die for the Sydney Thunder on Wednesday as they welcome the already eliminated Adelaide Strikers to the Spotless Stadium.
Can the Sydney franchise sneak into the semi-finals via the back door or will the Strikers pick up a consolation win in their last match of the season.
Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide Strikers | Wednesday 18 January | Spotless Stadium, Syndey| 10:30
To Win Match
Thunder 72/100 | Tie 35/1 | Strikers 23/20
The Thunder will need a big win against the Strikers if they are to have a chance at defending the title that they sensationally won last season. They’ll need a similar performance to last season’s rout of the Adelaide franchise in which the Thunder cruised to an eight-wicket win.
Even after losing Andre Russell to injury, the side have done well to claim three wins on the trot. Shane Watson’s return as well as the form of Russell’s replacement, Carlos Brathwaite, who’s been most effective with the ball thus far.
The real key to the Thunder’s continuing success, however, has been the form of Fawad Ahmed. The leg-spinner has been one of the shining lights this season, with an economy of 6.30 and nine wickets to his name in seven games. The Pakistani-born Australian will be tasked with shackling the Strikers’ dangerous middle order.
All in all, the Thunder look to be in a pretty good space at the moment. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t get a few more points earlier in the season. As it stands, the pressure is all on Shane Watson’s men – this should make for very interesting viewing.
It’s been a rather disappointing season for the Strikers who are likely to finish bottom of the pile following two successive semi-final appearances. They’ve simply not put enough runs on the board this season and have seen their totals chased down pretty easily.
The side have leaned far too hard on Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge to score their runs with little to no support coming from anyone else. You’re always going to struggle to compete when two of your batsmen are averaging in the 40's while the remainder are battling in the mid-low teens.
If the Strikers are to do well here, Ben Dunk will need to be at his brilliant best. The Queensland-native has enjoyed his best season since BBL 03 where he was named as the competition’s MVP. He’s averaging a shade under 50 and striking at 164.28 for his 299 runs this season.
I’m not sure how competitive the Strikers will be tomorrow. They’d have had the wind knocked out of their sails after the Renegades beat them and might well throw a few youngsters and fringe players into the mix.
Verdict: Sydney Thunder 72/100
The Thunder have it all to play for and are currently the form team in the competition. They have the personnel as well as the incentive of a possible semi-final place: back them to put the Strikers away under the Spotless Stadium's lights.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.