The two best teams of BBL12 so far – the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers – will face off in The Qualifier on Saturday night at Perth Stadium.
For the winner, The Final awaits, while the loser will have to progress the hard way, so expect both sides to attack this game at full throttle.
Josh Nevett provides his full match preview and BBL12 betting tips below.
BBL12 Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers Betting Tips
Perth Stadium, Saturday 28th January, 7:15pm (AEDT)
Predicted XI: Stephen Eskinazi, Cameron Bancroft, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Ashton Turner, Nick Hobson, Cooper Connolly, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, David Payne, Lance Morris
The Scorchers will deservedly host The Qualifier after topping the table with 11 wins from 14 matches.
Perth have been a cut above this season with both bat and ball, and it’s hardly surprising considering that the Scorchers are the most successful team in BBL history.
Aaron Hardie (434 runs) and Josh Inglis (405) have led the way with the bat, providing a consistent base at the top of the order. Openers Stephen Eskinazi and Cameron Bancroft have also had their moments, both topping 50 in matches over the course of the campaign.
On the bowling front, veteran Andrew Tye is the second top wicket-taker for the tournament with 24 to his name. Tye will be pivotal to Perth’s fortunes on Saturday night, as their typically plentiful bowling stocks are looking uncharacteristically thin.
Ashton Agar has been sent to a spin bowling camp ahead of Australia’s tour of India, while quicks Matt Kelly (concussion), Lance Morris (illness), and Jhye Richardson (hamstring) are all in doubt for this clash. As such, the Scorchers may call on Hardie to bowl some overs or invest faith in young all-rounder Connolly to fill the void.
Regardless, Perth are well placed to add another trophy to their cabinet, and a win at home in this one will render them hot favourites to take out the BBL12 title.
Predicted XI: Josh Phillipe, Steve Smith, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Hayden Kerr, Dan Christian, Ben Dwarshuis, Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Steve O’Keefe
Like the Scorchers, the Sixers have continued their BBL dominance with another stellar campaign.
Sydney lost just three matches on their way to second position, with no defeats coming in their final five matches.
While the Sixers were playing great cricket through the middle of the season, the addition of Steve Smith has given them a bigger boost than anyone could have imagined.
The dynamic batsman has tallied 328 runs in just four innings, including two sensational tons. As such, he will be Sydney’s most important player on Saturday night.
Elsewhere, Jordan Silk has shone in the middle order with 306 runs, rescuing a top order which has been fragile at times.
While the Sixers have been solid with the bat, their excellence stems from elite bowling.
Abbott has topped the wicket-taking charts with 25 scalps, ably supported by Hayden Kerr (16 wickets), Ben Dwarshuis (14) and Steve O’Keefe (12). Those four will be crucial to restricting the Scorchers on Saturday night.
While the Sixers will enter The Qualifier as underdogs, if any team is to beat the Scorchers to glory it will be the men in magenta.
The two best teams in the competition are set to put on a fantastic show in Perth.
Both the Scorchers and Sixers will field strong XI’s on Saturday with an eye to automatically qualifying for the decider, and on paper it seems as if Perth have the upper hand.
The Scorchers have won 11 of their last 12 games in Perth and four of their last five against the Sixers, history that bodes well for their chances here.
However, it certainly won’t be easy. Smith is a huge wildcard for Sydney as he addresses their weakness with the bat, while the absence of some key Scorchers bowlers could shift the balance further towards the Sixers.
Despite that, I believe that Perth’s home ground advantage and batting consistency will get them over the line in a close one.
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Hardie has starred this campaign for the Scorchers, tallying the second-most runs in the league. Perth Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the powerful hitter – he has score 15+ in his last five games at the venue.
Tye has taken 24 wickets this year and led the Scorchers attack with aplomb. As our BBL12 Data Tools show, the skilled seamer has taken 2+ wickets in each of his last six games against the Sixers, so it’s not a stretch to expect the same in The Qualifier.
Behrendorff has been a fantastic strike bowler for Perth this season, regularly taking wickets at the top. The left-armer has struck in four of his last five games, and while Smith is in scintillating form for Sydney, Phillipe has been vulnerable away from home.
Player to Score 15+ Runs – Aaron Hardie
Player to Take 2+ Wickets – Andrew Tye
Player to Take 1+ Wickets – Jason Behrendorff