KFC Big Bash League: Saturday 22 December Preview

Batsman hits ball

We preview the first double-header of BBL07 as the Sixers host the Scorchers before the Heat travel to Melbourne to face the Renegades. 

We’re in for an absolute treat this Saturday as the BBL07 dishes up its first taste of double-header action! The first match of the day will see the Perth Scorchers begin their title defence at the SCG against the Sydney Sixers.

That match will be immediately followed by a tantalising match-up between the Melbourne Renegades and the Brisbane Heat, both of whom were convincing winners in their first games.

Sixers vs Scorchers | Saturday 23 December | Sydney Cricket Ground | 07:10

To Win Match
Sixers 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Scorchers 5/4

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The big news coming out of the Scorchers' camp is that Michael Klinger indefinitely unavailable for the Perth franchise. This after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer which had already spread to her spine. Klinger will be massive miss for Justin Langer after a huge season last year in which he scored 334 runs an average of 37.11.

Along with Klinger, the Scorchers will also be without the Marsh brothers who are both with the national squad as they prepare for the fourth Ashes Test. Cameron Bancroft, too, is in the national side leaving the Perth franchise with very little proven experience with the bat.

They’ve had to bring in Will Bosisto, James Muirhead and Josh Philippe to replace their national players. Whether or not they’ll be able to make the necessary impact remains to be seen. Extra pressure then on Adam Voges to get runs at the top of the order.

The only way I see the Scorchers getting one over the Sixers is if their attack fires in a big way. Fortunately they can call on Mitchell Johnson, Jhye Richardson, AJ Tye, David Willey and Ashton Agar this weekend. There is more than enough talent there to worry the Sixers who looked vulnerable at times against the Thunder in their first match.

Speaking of the Sixers, they come into this match without any real injury concerns. Greg Shipperd will demand more from a talented squad who under-performed with both bat and ball in their opening encounter at the Spotless Stadium.

Only Daniel Sams managed to apply any sort of pressure on the Thunder batsmen, conceding just 14 runs in his four overs while also picking up four wickets. Expect him to open the bowling again as he looks to pile the pressure on a depleted Scorchers top order.

Indeed, more will also be expected from a very talented top order who largely failed to impress. Jason Roy and Moises Henriques both failed to get going with Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson and Sam Billings managing starts while unable to push on.

Verdict: Sixers 67/100
I just feel that the Scorchers have lost far too many key batsmen to compete against the Sixers. Back the Sydney side to bounce back from their opening day defeat with a pretty straight-forward win at 67/100. 

To Win Match
Renegades 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Heat 5/4

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Will Chris Lynn be available for the heat at the Docklands Stadium? Well, he’s been included in their 13-man squad for Saturday’s tie but a decision will only be made on the day of the match. Obviously if Lynn plays – and indeed fires – you’d fancy the Heat to score enough runs to trouble the Renegades.

The other issue the Heat face is the issue with Joe Burns that commentators described as an “upper leg injury”. Burns was absolutely magnificent for the Heat in their first match, helping himself to a half-century as the Brisbane franchise rocketed to a 200+ score against the Stars.

If these two are indeed missing, it’ll put enormous pressure on Brendon McCullum and Alex Ross to get the bulk of the runs. They did so against a pretty uninspired Stars bowling unit – whether or not they’ll be able to repeat the trick against a wily Renegades attack is another story.

The doubt surrounding the Heat’s line-up has obviously propelled the Renegades to odds on favourites for Saturday’s tie. The fact that they easily brushed aside the Hurricanes in Hobart most certainly helped.

Half-centuries from Marcus Harris and Cameron White saw the Melbourne franchise chase down 164 with nine balls to spare. Much of the groundwork for the victory, however, was laid by Dwayne Bravo. The West Indian all-rounder proved an absolute magician with the ball on his way to claiming a five-for to end on figures of 4-0-28-5.

Verdict: Renegades 67/100 
I think the Renegades do just shade it here. Although I wouldn’t have a strike until the morning of the match once the teams are announced. If Lynn is fit and ready to play, back the Heat. If not, I don’t see them scoring enough runs to trouble the Renegades.

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Written by Jason Dewey for Hollywoodbets

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