We’re into the final round of the Big Bash League with the line up of the final four still to be determined. The Thunder blew a perfect opportunity to shut the door on the other contenders when they went down to the Renegades, while the heartbreak of Round 7 of the Big Bash League was the Hobart Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes had two opportunities to try and win their way into the finals and lost it on the final ball in both matches. Darren Sammy couldn’t hit a six against the Scorchers to leave the Hurricanes one run short, and then in Adelaide Jake Lehmann was able to hit a six off the last ball to give the Strikers victory. It’s made a mess of our futures bets which is disappointing but our season bets have been going strong with a 15-6 win-loss record and +12.96 units of profit.
If you followed our Big Bash League pre-season bets, then you would’ve felt even more heartbreak when Tim Paine foolishly ran himself out on 45. If you were like me, you were counting down the runs until he made 46+ in order to take over the lead for most season runs at the Hurricanes. The run out left Paine one run short of George Bailey and was an effective swing of 5 units for us. Brutal.
We’re looking to close the regular season strong and build our profits even further. Most games should be live contests, with positions on the ladder up for grabs, but always be careful of matches where one side has nothing to play for.
BBL05 Overall Profit/Loss: +7.93 units (15-9) (updated 19th Jan)
MCG, Thursday January 14th 7:40pm AEDST
At first glance this match may not appear to have too much significance but there is a fair bit to play for when the Stars meet the Heat at the MCG.
The Heat are coming off a good win against the Thunder, and if they can win here then they will avoid the wooden spoon which is a fair achievement for this side after the horror start to the season. The best thing about their win against the Thunder was that it wasn’t on the back of Chris Lynn. It was Lendl Simmons and Joe Burns who set up a decent target of 162 before the leg spinning duo of Samuel Badree and Mitch Swepson restricted an undermanned Sixers side. As we mentioned last article, Swepson was a great inclusion and certainly makes their attack a little more dangerous than the monotony of medium pacers they’ve used for the past two seasons.
I expect the Heat to put up a strong fight but do they have the class to match the Stars?
The Stars are gunning for their fifth win in a row as they cement their finals spot and eye off a home semi-final. They cruised home against the Renegades losing just two wickets in chasing down 155. Luke Wright is back to his best form and leads their run scoring, while Kevin Pietersen looked back to his best with a damaging 67 from 43 balls. If those two are firing, it takes pressure off the remainder of their batting line up, which does look a lot thinner without the international reps.
The Stars will miss John Hastings who has joined the Australian ODI squad as cover for Mitch Marsh for the second ODI on Friday. He’s going to miss this match and maybe even their clash with the Scorchers. With Scott Boland already on national duties, along with James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell, this is a real test of the depth of the Stars list. Jackson Coleman has been added to the squad, along with Daniel Worrall who is yet to play a game this season. Evan Gulbis came in last match to replace Faulkner in the all-rounder position, while Seb Gotch is also in the squad.
Odds: Melbourne Stars ($1.57) vs Brisbane Heat ($2.45) at Luxbet
Verdict: If you believe the Brisbane Heat twitter account, then the Heat can still make the finals. It’s mathematically true, but logically impossible. The Stars will definitely want to ensure they win this match, but perhaps the pressure of not losing might cause them to tighten up a little bit.
There’s one other factor to consider here. There’s a bit of weather around Melbourne today. It’s been gloomy with some scattered showers throughout the day. If it’s a reduced match, I think that strongly favours the Heat who have a more dynamic batting line up and weaker bowling line up. Check the conditions closer to the game, and if it looks rainy, I would be making a spec bet on a Heat upset with some value in their price. As it stands, I think the Stars are too short to make a play at the current odds.
Bet: NO PLAY
SCG, Saturday January 16th 6:10pm AEDST
A Sydney derby with a huge prize on the line is what greets us in the first match of a BBL double-header this Saturday. The stakes couldn’t be bigger. A win for the Thunder and they lock up the first BBL finals appearance in their history, and the Sixers will take the wooden spoon. However a win for the Sixers and they are still incredibly a chance to play finals. It’s a remarkable scenario and should provide us with a thrilling contest.
After winning the first three matches of the season, the Thunder have lost four on the trot to find themselves precariously placed. It’s not a position they would be happy to be in after their start to the season.
Crucially they will go into this do-or-die contest without their two opening batsmen. Usman Khawaja has been called up to the Australian squad after Dave Warner went on paternity leave. It’s a great reward for Khawaja’s recent form and hopefully he can maintain a spot in the Australian side in the shorter forms of the game. Also on the sidelines will be Jacques Kallis who is battling a groin injury. He has been replaced by New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls who played five ODI’s for NZ earlier this year so he's no slouch. While Nicholls will sure up the batting a little, Kallis’ bowling will also be missed.
It will put pressure on the Thunder bowlers with Andre Russell struggling last game after copping a blow to the shoulder, and Gurinder Sandhu continuing his terrible season.
The Sixers will be disappointed with their season, and with the Heat winning their last two matches, the Sixers are now one loss away from the wooden spoon. Their season has been in disarray largely due to injuries. They also have a number of national representatives in their squad who won’t play any matches (eg Starc, Hazelwood, Smith) so you would have to question their squad selection and how it affects their depth.
Michael Lumb and Brad Haddin remain the core of the Sixers batting, and you would hope that Nic Maddinson will be recovered from his ankle injury to come back for this vital clash. He’s the sort of player who can get over a shit season with a one-off match-winning knock. Cowan, Larkin, Abbott, Silk and Botha just aren’t good enough T20 batsmen at this level.
If the Sixers are to win they need to do some damage with the ball and keep it low scoring. Bird, Bollinger, Dwarshuis and Lyon are a decent attack so they will need to take early wickets to contain the Thunder batsmen. If it’s a high scoring match, I don’t think the Sixers have the batting power to stay in it.
Odds: Sydney Sixers ($2.40) vs Sydney Thunder ($1.57) at William Hill
Verdict: What a game this will be! The Thunder have lost four in a row but none of those matches have been terrible losses. However without two of their key batsmen, it does leave them a little exposed with so much reliance on Mike Hussey. I think the Sixers will be right in this, and if they bowl well, then a finals berth might be within reach! The price looks a little value so we'll go for the upset.
Bet: Sydney Sixers to win at $2.40 at William Hill - 1 unit
WACA, Saturday January 16th 9:15pm AEDST
The second BBL match of the day is a potential semi-final clash with the Scorchers hosting the Stars.
The Stars were bitterly disappointing in the match just a few days ago against the Heat. You’ll see in my comments above that I thought it was a danger game with the Heat in form and the Stars missing several of their stars, and that proved to be the case.
There won’t be any relief for the Stars with those ODI players still unavailable, so the Stars are forced to take an unchanged squad to Perth. Their bowlers let the Heat get away from them with Dan Worrall and Ben Hilfenhaus hardly looking threatening, although Hilfy did recover a little from getting spanked for five sixes off one over by the rampaging Chris Lynn. Expect those bowlers to be targetted again by their opposition.
Once the Stars lost early wickets in the run chase it was going to be impossible to chase down that total. It proved that there is huge reliance on Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen to perform with their middle order exposed. The only shining light was the form of Evan Gulbis in the all-rounder slot. He top scored and bowled pretty well, so that was good to see.
The remarkable thing is that the Stars can still miss the finals completely if the Thunder and Renegades both win. That would be a disastrous result for this franchise, but do they have the personnel to challenge the Scorchers?
The Scorchers are also missing several players to the national side, but they were further struck down earlier this week when it was announced that Jason Behrendorff would miss the game due to soreness. He is a tough one to replace, with Matt Dixon the likely choice, while Travis Birt has been added to the squad for some batting depth. Behrendorff’s absence will mean that Ashton Turner and Ashton Agar will have to bowl some important overs in this match.
The Scorchers depth has been on show this season with their side still looking relatively strong despite all of the missing players. Klinger continues to lead from the front while Agar and Carberry have played useful innings.
A win here and the Scorchers will lock up a home semi-final, and possibly top spot on the ladder.
Odds: Perth Scorchers ($1.65) vs Melbourne Stars ($2.25) at CrownBet
Verdict: The Stars are coming off their worst game for the year and now face the toughest road trip in the competition. It’s a mighty ask for them to take on the Scorchers at home. Behrendorff is a huge out, but I think the Scorchers can cover the holes in their line up better than the Stars. Expecting a strong victory here for the Scorchers, and the price is good enough for our best bet of the round.
Etihad Stadium, Monday January 18th 7:40pm AEDST
The final match of the round, and the regular season, will see the Strikers head to Melbourne to take on the Renegades. This season has been action from go to whoa and this match won’t disappoint with plenty on the line for this contest.
The fate of the Renegades is in their own hands. To make the finals they will need to win, and by enough to increase their net run rate to climb ahead of the Thunder into the top four.
Their season looked shot a few games ago, but an upset win over the Thunder has given them a sneaky chance. The mistake the Thunder made was allowing the Renegades to chase. The Gades have been unable to defend scores all season with a fragile bowling attack, but with a target to chase they had contributions from all of their batsmen for a strong win. Chris Gayle is in good form, even if he appears a little disinterested, while Cam While and Darren Bravo were superb.
There was talk of James Pattinson being available for this match which would be a huge boost to their bowling line up, however Cricket Australia have ruled him out due to shin soreness to rest him up for future Australian matches.
With the upset loss for the Scorchers on Saturday, the Strikers have now locked up top spot on the ladder regardless of what happens in this match. That means they will not only host the semi-final but also the final if they make it that far.
The Strikers pulled off a remarkable win against the hapless Hurricanes when Jake Lehmann hit a six off the final ball for victory. It was the first, and only, ball he has ever faced in the BBL!
While their batting has produced excitement all season, I must say that Tim Ludeman batting all innings for 57* at less than a run a ball wasn’t exactly a highlight. Fortunately they were only chasing 143, because that sort of ball consumption can cost games.
They haven’t shown any real weaknesses this season, with all of their batsmen making contributions while their bowlers have also performed well. Adil Rashid is the equal leading wicket taker in the competition, while our pre-season BBL tip for most wickets, Ben Laughlin, isn’t far behind either. Hopefully he has a big match or two at the end of the season and can snag us a profit.
The key for the Strikers is early wickets against the big guns of the Renegades. If Gayle and Bravo can be held, it will go a long way to securing a victory. But is a victory what the Strikers really want here?
Odds: Melbourne Renegades ($1.91) vs Adelaide Strikers ($1.91) at William Hill
Verdict: The motivation factor will definitely be with the Renegades here. They will be desperate to make finals, while the Strikers have zero to play for. In fact, it throws up an interesting scenario which they should consider.
Would the Strikers rather face the Thunder or the Renegades in the semis? For me, it would most definitely be the Renegades. The Thunder are a dangerous side full of talent, with a full squad to choose from, whereas the Renegades are missing key players from their squad and have obvious weaknesses with their bowling and batting depth.
I don’t think that any result would ever be manufactured, but I genuinely think a loss here might be in the best interests of the Strikers. With that in mind, how to they approach this game? They might experiment. They may change their batting around.They might play a bit more loosey-goosey. Of course winning is a habit, so the Strikers won’t want to try anything that may hurt them either, but I can see them lacking intensity here.
The different levels of motivation make this a really tricky match to get involved with from a betting perspective . The bookies can’t split them.
For me, there are some underlying factors that lean towards a Renegades win, and with the odds saying it’s a coin flip, I think that makes it a spot to bet.
Bet: Renegades to win at $1.91 at William Hill – 1 unit
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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