There’s plenty of storylines in Thursday night’s BBL action at the Gabba as the Heat take on the Sixers. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are both likely inclusions for their respective sides after touring India. The Heat are in a world of hurt after a woeful collapse at home against the Renegades and as a result, they’ve fallen to 6th on the table. Meanwhile, the Sixers squad will be feeling good after knocking off the Stars at the SCG and could seal up a top 2 spot with a victory here. As usual, we have a full betting preview of the game below.
Brisbane Heat Squad (13): Chris Lynn (c), Joe Burns, Ben Cutting, AB de Villiers, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, Jimmy Peirson, Matt Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Sydney Sixers Squad (13): Jackson Bird, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis, Moises Henriques ©, Dan Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Ben Manenti, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith, James Vince
As mentioned, the Heat are now 6th and that makes this is a must-win game after losing 2 on the trot. They continue to be a hit or miss team in what has been a frustrating season for Heat fans. It was compounded on Sunday night when they were somehow bowled for 120 after they lost their first wicket at 1-84. They proceeded to lose their next 9 wickets for just 36 runs and ended up losing by 44 runs! Their middle-order batting simply needs to be better and the addition of Labuschagne will hopefully fix their issues. On paper, they have a great batting lineup with the experience of Lynn, de Villiers, Burns and Renshaw. But the question is whether they can build enough momentum together or it’ll be season over very quickly.
Lost in the Heat’s epic batting collapse on Sunday was the impressive half-century by Sam Heazlett. He top-scored in the Heat’s 120 total with 56 off 37 balls with 7 fours/1 six. Batting in the powerplay will help his chances of scoring over 20.5 runs again and the Sixers have struggled to contain opening batsman of late. So he should look to take advantage of Bird, Dwarhuis and Curran with the new ball.
The Sixers bounced back after a few poor performances with a massive victory over the Stars on Monday night. Moises Henriques starred with the bat after his 72 off 31 balls and James Vince also enjoyed an aggressive time at the crease with 41 not out. They will be keen to get Josh Philippe back in form but the inclusion of Steve Smith is a huge bonus for this lineup. With Smith, they now have a ton of experience in this middle order that can stabilise the innings if early wickets fall or take on the bowlers in the middle/death overs. In the bowling department, they should be licking their lips with this matchup against the inconsistent Heat batting lineup. O’Keefe and Lyon offer an experienced spin bowling duo and should be looking at how Cam Boyce bowled at the Gabba on Sunday. Tom Curran is the 3rd leading wicket-taker in the competition and could potentially rip through this Heat lineup.
After a total of 10 sixes against the Stars, the 4.5 total seems a tad low for this matchup. Henriques added 8 of those 10 sixes and his good form should continue against this Heat bowling lineup. The Heat gave up 7 sixes to the Renegades on Sunday, which included 4 by their 5th bowling option in Ben Cutting. Outside of Henriques, they have plenty of stars that can clear the ropes on multiple occasions when needed, such as Philippe, Smith, Vince and Avendano.
It’s pretty hard backing the Heat at the moment because we really have no idea which side is going to turn up. So we’ll be happy to back the Sixers with Steve Smith in their batting lineup and the fact that they’ve won their last 6 meetings with the Heat in QLD.
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