It felt like some normality was restored in Round 4 with the Hurricanes and the Stars both inflicting devasting victories in contrasting fashion. The Hurricanes put in one of the great run chases to better the Heat’s 208 with an over to spare while the Stars bowled the Renegades out for a record low score of 57. Two of the giants of the competition are making some waves which means that we’re in for an exciting second half of the season!
Unfortunately our match betting struggled. We went 2-2 for the round on tips, but the two wins were no bet matches. So while we down on the season so far, we have quite a number of futures bets in good shape heading into the second half of the season, so all is not lost!
Let’s try and turn this around with Round 5!
Monday January 5th – Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers (MCG)
A blockbuster clash kicks off Round 5 of the Big Bash League with the Stars hosting the Sixers.
The Sixers started the season well with three strong wins before missing a great chance to go clear at the top of the table when they batted poorly and failed to chase down 135 against the Scorchers. They’ve had a nice little break to think about things and will be looking to restore the momentum.
The Sixers regain Steve O’Keefe who will bring great experience with he ball and some handy lower-order batting, however the availability of Mitch Starc remains in limbo after he was called into the Test squad for the Sydney Test. If he doesn’t make the starting XI, then he’ll be available for the Sixers which is crucial after he bowled superbly in the previous game.
The Stars have finally got a win on the board, but the most important thing about the win was the size of the victory. It was a record margin which has restored the net run rate of the Stars and given their season some life once again. A win here and they are right back in finals contention. After Rob Quiney missed the last game with a groin strain, they have an injury cloud over David Hussey after he was struck on the hand and retired hurt. He’s been named in the squad but you would think he is in doubt to play.
The difference for the Stars was the early strikes with the ball with Beer and Bird doing the early damage. They’ll be looking to do that again to get through the Sixers openers in Maddinson and Lumb who are the big dangermen.
Verdict: The Stars will be flying high after their big win and with confidence restored they will take some beating on their home turf. We fancy they will make it two in a row, but in such a big game against good opposition, there’s not a lot of value in their price.
Tuesday January 6th – Adelaide Strikers vs Perth Scorchers (Adelaide Oval)
These two teams played out a thrilling match in Round 2 when the Adam Zampa smashed a six in the final over to claim a dramatic one wicket victory. Now the undefeated Strikers are on their home turf in a vital clash for the prospects of the Scorchers this season.
Perth were hugely disappointing for us last round as we backed them to be too good for the Thunder, but they just failed to keep control with the ball and lost vital early wickets in their run chase. The Scorchers do have issues when their top order fails and the Thunder exposed that weakness beautifully.
They now sit 2-2 so a loss here will see them under pressure to maintain their spot in the top four. The Scorchers are likely to recall Brad Hogg who has recovered from injury which will be a great addition to their bowling line up.
The Strikers on the other hand are sitting pretty at the top of the ladder after a strong win against the Heat. They lost early wickets in their run chase but Travis Head and Alex Ross stood up to the challenge in the middle order with a match-winning partnership.
They will miss Kieron Pollard who has joined the West Indian national team, and Brad Hodge is out indefinitely with a fractured arm. However Shaun Tait will return after being rested from the game against the Heat while Dutchman Ryan Ten Doeschate will try to fill the big shoes of Pollard.
Both teams line up pretty similarly. They are both strong at the top of the order and potentially undermanned in the middle, but both have quality T20 bowling line ups.
Verdict: This game looks like a real coin flip, so with that in mind, I feel the price on the Strikers is a little short. If you’ve taken the value on the outsiders all tournament, you’d be doing pretty well, so we'll follow that trend and take the value offered on the Scorchers at $2.30.
Wednesday December 7th – Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Renegades (Bellerive Oval)
The Hurricanes pulled off the run chase of the season last round when they miraculously chased down 208 with an over to spare against the Heat. Ben Dunk led the way with great support from Tim Paine, George Bailey and Alex Hales who will play his last game for the Hurricanes this round. Throw in Jonathan Wells and Travis Birt and it looks a formiddable batting line up.
The batting has always looked the strength of the Hurricanes, and it was a great comeback into form after a shocker on NYE against the Strikers.
Three changes have been made to their winning team with Darren Sammy called up for national duties while bowlers Timm van der Gugten and Joe Mennie have been omitted as the Hurricanes battle to find the right bowling combination. Mennie’s exclusion is perfect for our futures bet on Cameron Boyce though! Ben Hilfenhaus has been recalled, Michael Hill is included in the squad, while Englishman Tim Bresnan is a decent replacement player for Sammy.
While the Hurricanes are riding high, it was the complete opposite for the Renegades who had the match from hell against the Stars. The tone was set in the first over from James Pattinson. The previous match, he rattled the stumps three times, but this time he bowled six wides in the first over alone! With the bat, they completely capitulated to be bowled out for a record low score of 57 with only one batsman in double figures. Just horrible.
It gets worse for the Renegades as they’ve lost their two gun West Indian recruits in Bravo and Russell. They’ve been replaced by Shakib Al Hasan and Ben Stokes who certainly have big shoes to fill, but perhaps they’ll breathe some fresh air into the side. James Pattinson has also been rested with Peter Siddle coming in after being released from the Test squad.
Verdict: How can you tip the Renegades? Quite simply, you can’t. The price of the Hurricanes doesn't offer a heap of value, but I thought they’d be even shorter for this match. This should be a very winnable game for the Hurricanes at home to get back into the top four, while its season over for the Renegades.
Thursday January 8th – Perth Scorchers vs Brisbane Heat (WACA)
The Scorchers are on fire and into second spot on the ladder after an amazing win against the previously undefeated Strikers. For the second time this season, the Scorchers gamely defended a 130’s score and they did it emphatically.
Adam Voges stepped up with the bat to get them to a defendable total, but questions still remain over the quality of their batting. Fortunately they have a sensational bowling line up with Brad Hogg, at the ripe old age of 43, stepping back into the fold in a match winning performance. He’s arguably still the best spinner in the country and he turned the game on its head, bamboozling his opposition.
While the Scorchers are looking the goods, it’s been a season to forget so far for the Heat. They’ve lost several games that they should’ve won, and couldn’t get the job done last round against the Strikers. Their batting looks formidable with incredible hitting power, but they lack any strike weapons with the ball, and this season has proven how valuable a good bowling attack can really be. Failing to defend 208 against the Hurricanes would've been demoralising.
Queensland has also had problems with Big Bash games being televised on 30-minute delay, which has greatly angered Big Bash fans, so it seems that they just can’t catch a trick at the moment.
This match will be Dan Vettori’s last with English fringe player Stephen Parry providing a somewhat like-for-like replacement for the rest of the season.
Verdict: The Scorchers are now primed for a strong defence of their crown and this is not a game they will want to drop. However Brisbane’s batting power is one to be feared and they are certainly capable of upsetting the apple cart, especially in the second half of the season as we've seen in previous years. The Heat’s price looks tempting from a betting perspective, which means that the Scorchers are probably a touch short to make a play.
Overall: -7.98 units
Melbourne Stars (vs Sydney Sixers) @$1.74 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Perth Scorchers (vs Adelaide Strikers) @$2.30 at Ladbrokes (1 unit)
Hobart Hurricanes (vs Melbourne Renegades) @$1.66 at Palmerbet (3 units)
Perth Scorchers (vs Brisbane Heat) @$1.70 at Luxbet (no play)
Think there's a bit of value about George Bailey for the Hurricanes this match. While he bats at five and the top order is strong, he's been in tremendous form, so if there's a couple of early wickets, then he's going to give us a chance. We'll also take advantage of money back if he hits a six through the Sportsbet promotion.
Leading run scorer Hurricanes - George Bailey @$6.50 at Sportsbet (0.5 units)
A quick look at our futures bets, and there were some good movers for us in Round 4.
Ben Dunk landed a big score to take the lead in the top Hurricanes run scorers. That was one of our main plays of the season, so we’re hoping he’ll continue that form.
Cameron Boyce also jagged 3 wickets in his last game to now lead the Hurricanes bowling. He’s one ahead of Mennie and two ahead of Hilfenhaus who was dropped last game, so things are looking good there.
Luke Wright’s consistency has seen him take a nice lead in the leading run scorers for the Stars and into the top 10 of the competition. He’s still let to score a 50, so if he can land a big score he’s still a contender to top the league.
Jason Behrendorff continues to lead the league for the most wickets and we hope he can continue that for us at the juicy odds of $23.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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