Australia Day kicks off with a massive BBL clash between the Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers at the Sydney Showground from 2:45pm (AEDT). It’s simply a must-win game for the Thunder as their tournament will be over with a loss. Meanwhile, the Scorchers will secure a spot in the finals with a win but a loss could also mean season over. As usual, we have a full betting preview for the big clash below
Sydney Thunder Squad (13): Callum Ferguson ©, Liam Bowe, Jonathan Cook, Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Chris Tremain
Perth Scorchers Squad (13): Mitch Marsh ©, Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Bancroft, Tim David, Joshua Inglis, Matthew Kelly, Liam Livingstone, Morne Morkel, Joel Paris, Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner
The Thunder come into this clash on the back of two straight defeats and they were easily outclassed by the Hurricanes in Hobart on Friday. Starting with their batting, it’s really reliant on Alex Hales hitting 50+ as Khawaja/Ferguson have struggled for runs lately. Their middle to lower order batting is pretty weak considering Morris and Sams haven’t shown much with the bat in hand. So if the Scorchers get early wickets, this contest could be over very quickly. While Sams has struggled in the batting department, he’s been easily the most impressive bowler in the competition with 24 wickets at an impressive average of 14.75. Chris Morris is also important with the new ball and in the death overs. Spinner Liam Bowe has struggled lately and he’ll need a big game against the likes of Livingstone / Marsh.
With Khawaja and Ferguson out of form at the moment, Alex Ross has benefited from the extra batting time and that should be the case once again on Sunday. He’s coming off 4 straight scores of 20+ runs and a 36 against the Hurricanes in Hobart on Friday night as the Thunder collapsed. The good part about Ross is his ability against spin, which will be key against Ahmad and Agar in the middle overs of this game. So he looks good value in the 20+ runs market at Sportsbet.
A huge inclusion for the Scorchers will be the experience of Morne Morkel and he could be very dangerous on this usually tough batting deck at Spotless. While they are coming off a home loss against the Strikers, they’ll take confidence in the fact they smashed the Thunder by 8 wickets last week at Optus Stadium. In pursuit of 154, Livingstone and Inglis both finished with half-centuries in an easy victory. Livingstone is in serious touch after 78 against the Thunder and 79 against the Strikers. They’ve also added Agar and Turner from International duty, which shores up their lower-order batting and Agar offers another good spin option. After D’Arcy Short took 5fa against the Thunder, Fawad Ahmed and Agar should be licking their lips in this matchup.
The English import is hitting peak form before a potential finals campaign after back to back blistering half-centuries. He smashed 79 against the Strikers on Friday night and previously scored 78 against the Thunder in Perth. So if he gets past Daniel Sams in the powerplay, there’s no reason why Livingstone can’t top 23.5 runs. He’ll get favourable matchups against Bowe and Nair in the middle overs and should enjoy the shorter straight boundaries on offer at the Sydney Showground.
The major problem for the Thunder, which will likely occur on Sunday, is when their top 4 batting doesn’t fire, they’re a pretty easy team to beat. Perth have now added Morne Morkel to their bowling lineup so it doesn’t bode well for the home side when they have to face Richardson / Morkel in the powerplay. Considering the Scorchers just beat the Thunder recently in Perth and need to win for a spot in the finals, they look too good on paper in this matchup.
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