The Sydney Thunder and the Perth Scorchers will go head to head in a crunch BBL tie at the Spotless Stadium on Thursday morning.
Time is running out for the Sydney Thunder who need to start putting together a good run of form if they want to make the semi-finals of BBL07.
The Scorchers on the other hand have no such worries at the moment, sitting pretty in second place on the standings as we near the business end of the tournament. Who will come out on top when the two clash at the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium? Let’s take a look:
Thunder vs Scorchers | Thursday 11 January | Sydney Showgrounds Stadium | 10:35
To Win Match
Thunder 5/4 | Tie 35/1 | Scorchers 66/100
With Jos Buttler having played his last game for the Thunder this season, Joe Denly comes into the Sydney side’s ranks. You might remember the Kent opener who played a couple of ODIs and T20s for England in 2009 and 2010.
He comes into this tournament off the back of some excellent showings in both the NatWest T20 Blast – 567 runs at an average of 43.61 – and the BPL – 187 runs at 31.16. Whether or not he’ll be able to carry that form over into a much tougher tournament remains to be seen.
Much – if not all – of the responsibility with the bat will fall squarely on the shoulders of Shane Watson. The burly all-rounder has been sensational with the bat this season and sits third in the run scoring ladder with 236 at an average of 39.33. Kurtis Patterson is the only other batsman still with the squad who has scored more than 70 this season which points to a pretty big problem for the Thunder.
Their saving grace in this fixture could be the Scorchers equally dodgy batting line-up. Paddy Upton can call on some of the best bowlers in the tournament tomorrow with Fawad Ahmed Arjun Nair and Mitchell McClenaghan all on eight wickets for the tournament.
The Perth Scorchers gave the proverbial middle finger to everyone – myself included – who thought that they’d not be able to chase down scores of 170+ with their severely depleted batting line-up in their five-wicket win over the Renegades on Monday.
Ashton Turner (70) and David Willey (55) were the heroes for the Perth club on the day as Ashton Agar and Hilton Cartwright also contributed with scores of 26 and 22 respectively. The fact that this side is still churning out results is incredible when you consider how many players are missing through injury or national duty.
They have of course been carried for the last few seasons by their bowlers and this year is no exception. Andrew Tye, Mitchell Johnson, Jhye Richardson and Ashton Agar have all been immense this season and will need to continue putting in big performances as we head toward the play-offs.
Michael Klinger also needs to start coming to the part more consistently now. His 83 against the Sixers and – to a lesser extent – his 37 against the Renegades have been his only two meaningful contributions. He’s a player of undoubted quality and needs to step up consistently in the latter stages of the competition.
Verdict: Sydney Thunder 5/4
One feels that the Thunder are better suited to the conditions at the Spotless Stadium where the spinners typically find more joy than the seamers. This coupled with the fact that I still think the Scorchers are a bit light on batting has me leaning just toward the home side at 5/4.