Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder
Sunday January 3, 7:10pm
The struggling Brisbane Heat will play host to the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba on Sunday night.
Having lost all four of their opening fixtures the Heat will be desperately hoping they can get off the mark in this season’s competition and somehow avoid a second consecutive wooden spoon. They did come close to notching a first win in their last match against the Hobart Hurricanes where an incredible century from Chris Lynn had them on track to chase down 195 before they ultimately fell 15 runs short. Lynn has been the shining light for Brisbane with the bat this season, scoring 137 more runs than the next highest run-scorer (Nathan Reardon) at an impressive strike-rate of 161. Sadly there has been no stand-out with the ball for the Heat, conceding more than nine an over in three out of their four games in this year’s competition.
The Thunder can probably sympathise with Brisbane’s plight, having finished in the bottom two in every previous edition of the BBL, however this season they find themselves at the right end of the ladder with three wins from four games. Their most recent clash also resulted in a loss to the Hurricanes, despite a brilliant captain’s knock from Mike Hussey (71 off 51) and four wickets to Clint McKay. After being named player of the series last season, star all-rounder Jacques Kallis isn’t having quite the same influence at the crease with no half-centuries to his name and, most worryingly, a strike-rate under 100.
The two games at the Gabba this year have seen plenty of runs with 180 chased down and 194 only narrowly defended. However one of the key trends in Brisbane this season has been the varying success of pace bowlers and spinners. The quick men have averaged 45.08 at an economy rate in excess of 10 an over, while the tweakers have averaged 21.83 whilst conceding just 6.24 runs an over.
The visitors are 1.62 favourites to bounce back from their last-start defeat, leaving the Heat outsiders at 2.34. With only two wins from their last 12 encounters I’d be wanting a bigger price to get involved with the home side, however I also can’t see significant value in backing the Thunder following their last performance.
As previously mentioned Chris Lynn has been in outstanding form for Brisbane this season but that also stretches back to last year’s competition. Since the start of last year’s tournament Lynn has scored more than a quarter of the Heat’s runs and has top-scored on five out of 12 occasions, including three out of four this season. The explosive right-hander has been particularly effective at the Gabba, top-scoring in four out the last six games and with none of his teammates having got past 50 this year I see no reason why Lynn won’t top-score again on Sunday night.