Season 5 of the Big Bash League has reached the finals! The Strikers, Stars, Scorchers and Thunder are the finalists this year with one of them set to claim the BBL05 title!
It’s been a thrilling season with some incredible stroke play, but nothing has topped the incredible 12-ball fifty scored by Chris Gayle in the final match of the season. It was an equal world record and you are unlikely to see something as good as that ever again. Incredible stuff.
However it wasn’t enough for the Renegades to get into the finals, with the Strikers holding firm to finish on top of the ladder.
It was a very disappointing end to the regular season for us with Round 8 of BBL05 proving to be our worst betting round all year. The Stars played havoc with us – first by losing to the Heat which meant that Brisbane somehow avoided the wooden spoon. The Stars then rolled the Scorchers to see us lose our first best bet of the year.
Despite taking a hammering last round, we’ll still take almost eight units of profit into the finals.
Our pre-season BBL picks also took a battering with our outright and wooden spoon bets both failing to land. The Sixers were smacked with injuries as they take the wooden spoon while the Hurricanes were beyond disappointing and our faith in the purple army has proven costly.
Even though our team bets missed the mark we still have a couple of nice sweats with the player markets. We have Chris Lynn to be the leading tournament run scorer at $21 and he’s well in front with 378 runs for the season, but he won’t play finals. We have to fade Mike Hussey (277), Travis Head (276) and Tim Ludeman (254) as the main opposition in order to secure a nice payout. If you followed our tips we also have a small 0.1 unit spec bet on Hussey at $67 and Ludeman at $34 so that’s a little safety net.
We also have Michael Klinger on track to score the most runs at the Scorchers ($3.25), Luke Wright should win the Stars ($5.00), and Mike Hussey will win at the Thunder ($8.00), so we should end up in good shape.
Let’s close the season strong with our preview of the BBL05 semi-finals!
BBL05 Overall Profit/Loss: +7.08 units (16-10) (updated 22nd Jan)
Adelaide Oval, Thursday January 21st 7:40pm AEDST
This will be a massive contest with the Strikers hosting the Thunder in front of a packed house at the Adelaide Oval. Two talented teams who have played some of the best cricket this season, should produce a cracking semi-final.
The Strikers have been a model of consistency. They have only lost one match all season, but that was against the Thunder! In that match, the Strikers were restricted to just 117 runs after being rocked early by the pace of Andre Russell. The Thunder then cruised to victory for the loss of just three wickets with Jacques Kallis and Aiden Blizzard leading the charge at the top of the order.
That match was held in Sydney at Spotless Stadium, so this will be a little different at the Adelaide Oval where the Strikers are undefeated this season.
The Strikers have shown strength in all facets of the game. They will welcome back Mahela Jayawardene from injury to open the innings with Jono Dean likely to slip down the order with Jake Lehmann making way. Tim Ludeman is producing runs at the top of the order, while Travis Head and Brad Hodge have been excellent in the middle order. They entire batting line up has made runs and are capable of taking an attack apart.
With the ball, the Strikers have the leading wicket taker of the competition in Adil Rashid, while Ben Laughlin isn’t far behind. However it’s Michael Neser who has stepped up in the absence of Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake with 3/26 and 2/15 in his last two games. They are a smart bowling unit and will put the squeeze on the Thunder batting.
The Thunder will be buoyed by making their first finals series, and they have a line up to do some damage. Usman Khawaja will be straight back into the top of the order while Jacques Kallis looks unlikely to have recovered from his groin injury in time to play. Kallis is a huge loss for the Thunder with both bat and ball. It means that Kiwi Henry Nicholls will maintain his place in the squad. Throw in Mike Hussey, Shane Watson and the power hitting of Andrew Russell and it’s a dangerous batting line up. A decision for the Thunder will be whether include Aiden Blizzard or Ben Rohrer at number six or go for another bowler. You would think that if Kallis misses, that Blizzard will get the nod.
The inexperience of Chris Green and Nathan McAndrew could be exposed with the ball, with a lot of reliance on Andre Russell, Clint McKay and spinner Fawad Ahmed. Shane Watson will also be vitally important with the ball.
Odds: Adelaide Strikers ($1.72) vs Sydney Thunder ($2.15) at Ladbrokes
Verdict: There’s plenty of experience in that Thunder batting line up, but the Strikers do look to have a strong bowling line up that could put pressure on. What happens if Khawaja gets going early? The Thunder scored 202 in their last match, and if the Strikers don’t strike early, then the depth of batting of the Thunder may be the difference. I also question if the young guns of the Strikers batting line up can stand up to the pressure of a semi-final? It’s going to be a great final and you could make a case for either team. Therefore at the price, I’ll take the Thunder.
Bet: Sydney Thunder to win at Ladbrokes at $2.15 – 1 unit
MCG, Friday January 22nd 7:40pm AEDST
The second semi final should see another massive crowd fill the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground to see the Stars host the Scorchers.
These two teams have a rather epic rivalry over the years, and even in the final round of the BBL05 season, there were plenty of twists when these two met. We were very confident on the Scorchers being too strong but they were rolled for a paltry 94 chasing a gettable target. Can they turn their fortunes around in the semi-final?
The Scorchers bowling unit are a strong one, and keeping the Stars to 146 was a good effort, although the lower order did wag a bit after they got through the danger men at the top of the order rather cheaply. Matt Dixon was a good inclusion with three wickets but he won’t hold his spot in the team with two huge inclusions for the Scorchers in Joel Paris and Jason Behrendorff. They are two of the best young bowlers in the country, and when you include Andrew Tye, David Willey and the wily Brad Hogg, it’s the best bowling line up in the competition by far. If anything, Hogg is the one who has struggled this season. He’ll need to bring his best for the finals, or this may be the last time we see him play in Australia.
However it was the batting performance of the Scorchers which was most disappointing. They have relied so heavily on their top order, that when they failed, there was just no support from below. Adam Voges was the only batsmen to stand up, scoring almost half their runs by himself. They do look a batsman short when Willey is sent up the order to open the innings. He’s more than capable but it definitely changed the batting dynamic. Maybe the Scorchers will be better served with Michael Carberry opening, pushing Cameron Bancroft to four as he has looked really good this season, and dropping Willey back to six or seven where he can be very dangerous with his hitting power.
On paper, the Scorchers have the edge for me against the Stars line up. The good form of imports Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen has masked some of the other performances with Marcus Stoinis badly out of form and Peter Handscomb also struggling. Dave Hussey has always done his part, while Rob Quiney hasn’t had too many opportunities. The form of Evan Gulbis would be pleasing as he has propped up their batting in the last two games while also sending down some useful overs.
After getting belted by the Heat, Daniel Worrall and Ben Hilfenhaus were he heroes with the ball against the Scorchers, taking six wickets between them. They got some assistance from the pitch, and bowled very well, but otherwise their performances this season haven’t been anything too great. They really are missing Scott Boland and John Hastings, and that lack of bowling depth may be exposed in this match. Michael Beer and Adam Zampa have been useful as spin options, but I don’t have a lot of faith in Gulbis and Stoinis as the fifth bowling options.
Odds: Melbourne Stars ($1.90) vs Perth Scorchers ($1.90) at Bet365
Verdict: If this match was a week ago, the Scorchers would be warm favourites. Now they also have two crucial inclusions in Paris and Behrendorff, yet we are still getting $1.90? Yes, the Stars beat them last match, but I’m happy to put that down as an anomaly for the Scorchers. Look at the form before that, and all season, and the Scorchers have been very consistent.
They will really want Michael Klinger to stand up with the bat. He’s a little out of form but he is the key. If the Scorchers bat first and can set a score, I think they can really squeeze the Stars and make life tough for them chasing.
One consideration is the weather. There is rain predicted for Melbourne on Friday, and if it’s a washout the Stars will advance. If it’s a shortened game, it suits the more dynamic batting team and I think that’s the Scorchers.
I know we got burnt last week on the Scorchers, but I feel the price here is huge value.
Bet: Scorchers to win at $1.90 at Bet365 – 2 units
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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