Big Bash League 2016/17 Final: Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers

Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers

Saturday 27 January 7:15pm AEDT

The showdown for the BBL06 title will take please on Saturday at the WACA when minor premiers Perth Scorchers welcome the giant-killing Sydney Sixers.

Perth Scorchers

The Scorchers cruised into their fifth final in six seasons when they comfortably accounted for the Melbourne Stars at home on Tuesday night.

Winning the toss and electing to field, the Scorchers could not have asked for a better start with Mitchell Johnson claiming the wickets of openers Rob Quiney and Luke Wright in the first over, before picking up the key scalp of Kevin Pietersen in the fifth to leave the Stars reeling at 3/21. The veteran quick bowled his four overs straight through to finish with a phenomenal 3/3 off four overs in arguably the spell of the tournament. The conclusion of Johnson’s spell offered little respite for the Stars as they eventually spluttered their way to a mediocre 8/136.

After Perth lost the experienced Michael Klinger for 7 in the second over of their reply, fellow opening batsman Sam Whiteman rode his luck on the way to a punchy 31 off 26 balls, before the talented Shaun Marsh steadied the ship with a typically classy 56 not out off 44 balls to guide the Scorchers home with seven wickets in hand and 19 balls to spare. Englishman Ian Bell also chipped in with a rapid 26 off 15 balls to contribute his first runs in his last three matches for Perth.

It is expected that Bell will have a more important role to play in the final with Marsh ruled out due to his selection in the Australian ODI side to tour New Zealand. Cameron Bancroft has been added to the 13-man squad, along with left-arm pace ace Jason Behrendorff who could make his first appearance of the season.

Sydney Sixers

The Sixers took a much more convoluted route to the final, overcoming the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Wednesday night in a dramatic Super Over.

Winning a crucial toss and sending the Heat into bat, the Magenta Men looked to have the home side well under control at 6/110 after 15 overs, however Brisbane’s long batting line-up kept their side in the game by taking 57 off the last five overs to elevate them to a competitive 9/167. For the Sixers, off-spinner Nathan Lyon was simply outstanding, claiming 4/23 off his four overs, while all-rounder Sean Abbott also picked up four wickets, although his four overs cost 40.

A stunning knock of 64 off 34 from captain Moises Henriques, supported by a steady 46 off 44 from Daniel Hughes lead the Sixers to brink of victory, requiring just 39 off 36 balls with eight wickets in hand. However from there the Heat launched a stunning comeback, taking 6/31, and the Sixers needed a desperate last-ball two from Ben Dwarshuis just to force a tie.

In the Super Over Henriques picked up from where he left off, smashing two sixes and a four to help the Sixers plunder 22, before Abbott kept the Heat to 15 to secure victory in one of the most theatrical BBL matches of all-time. The Sixers have also been impacted by national selection, losing Colin Munro to the New Zealand ODI set-up with Jordan Silk expected to slot in as his replacement.

WACA Ground

The side batting second has won the last three matches at the WACA, with the Scorchers winning three out of five at home in this season’s tournament. It’s also worth noting that seven out of ten opening partnerships have failed to make it to 20 at the WACA in BBL06, as evidenced by the uncharacteristic returns of Michael Klinger who has averaged just 12.60 at home this season.

Key Stats

  • The Scorchers have won 11 of their past 17 matches.
  • The Scorchers have won eight of their past ten matches when batting second, including all three this season.
  • Six of nine matches involving the Scorchers this season have featured no more than nine total sixes.
  • The Sixers have won four of their past five games away from home.
  • The Sixers have won only one of their past seven matches against the Scorchers.
  • The Sixers have won six of their past eight matches when batting second, including their last four straight.

The Verdict

The Scorchers have been installed as favourites to claim their third title in four years, with the Sixers unfancied to complete a remarkable transformation from wooden spooners to champions in the space of one season.

The Scorchers have been not just the most consistent side this season, but the most consistent franchise in the history of the BBL with five finals appearances in six years, garnering two titles, whilst never finishing outside the top three in the regular season. That sort of pedigree is unmatched and no doubt a big reason why they were able to overcome injuries to key bowlers Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Joel Paris to finish top of the table in BBL06. Remarkably it has been their bowling that has once again formed the cornerstone of their performances, conceding runs at just 7.45 an over when every other side has leaked in excess of eight, with new acquisition Mitchell Johnson (12 wickets at 15.66) proving particularly deadly, alongside T20 specialist Andrew Tye (10 wickets at 24.90). Their batting has been less convincing and the loss of the in-form Shaun Marsh on top of the continued absence of his brother Mitchell is certainly a blow, however with talents such as Ashton Agar and Tim Bresnan coming in below the top six they at least boast admirable depth. Playing at home their favouritism is well earned, however I would question whether they provide any value at this price.

The Sixers have not displayed the same stability as their opponents, however somehow managed to finish on the same number of wins during the regular season, and have made a habit of overcoming more highly-fancied opposition. That is borne out by the fact that the Sixers have not lost to any fellow top four opponents this season, although it should not be forgotten that they also suffered humiliating losses against the three bottom sides, most recently going down to the last-placed Thunder inside just ten overs. Throughout the season they have scored runs (7.60) at a slower rate than they have conceded them (8.35), which just highlights their ability to win the big moments. Outside of the reliable Daniel Hughes (296 runs at 49.33) and top tournament wicket-taker Sean Abbott (20 wickets at 14.50) their campaign has not been littered with spectacular individual performances, with the wider squad all contributing at different times. Importantly the Sixers have built their strategy around batting second, with all six victories coming this season when they have chased a total, while their only attempt at batting first resulted in that disastrous defeat to the Thunder.

There is no doubt in my mind that the toss will again be absolutely crucial in this one, particularly for the Sixers who have now won six of their past eight matches when batting second but only one of their past six when batting first.Although the Scorchers have built a reputation for being masters at defending a total, their record when using their potent bowling attack up front is as good as any with eight victories in their past ten, including three from three this season. Perth also hold a convincing record against the Sixers, losing just one of their past seven against the Magenta Men, however that one loss did come this season, and having come out on top every time they have faced a top four opponent I think the visitors look an attractive proposition here, provided that they bat second. If the Sixers do gain that advantage of chasing then the market will readjust, however I believe it will not grant enough weight to the benefit of batting second and I will therefore be backing Sydney if that scenario materialises.

Whoever bats first, one thing I am not expecting is for several balls to disappear over the fence. This season matches involving the Scorchers have averaged just nine total sixes, with six of nine games producing nine or less. The Sixers have also proved in BBL06 that they are not so aptly named, with their matches averaging 8.6 total sixes and five of nine featuring no more than nine sixes, including their last four straight. The match between these two teams earlier in the season cultivated only two sixes and with big hitters such as Shaun Marsh, Jason Roy, Mitchell Marsh, Colin Munro and David Willey all no longer available for their respective sides, I’m happy to back that this will be a final low on maximums and invest in the 9 and Under total sixes option.

Betting Strategy

BACK – If they bat second, Sydney Sixers at 2.10 or better for 2 units.

BACK -Total Sixes 9 and under at 2.5 or better for 1 unit.

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