Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat
Saturday, 26 December 19:10
The Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat will be both be looking for their first win of the competition when they do battle at the WACA on Boxing Day.
The Scorchers suffered a four-wicket defeat to the Adelaide Strikers at the “Furnace” in their opening fixture after their star-studded batting line-up failed to fire, compiling a below-par total of 6/151 which their highly-rated bowling attack couldn’t manage to defend. Perth will have to do without Australian representatives Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh, while injury has ruled out Nathan Coulter-Nile for a prolonged period. In more positive news the Scorchers may welcome back spearhead Jason Behrendorff while the likes of Ashton Agar and Ashton Turner will also push for inclusion.
The Heat are already fighting for survival in the tournament after two losses in high-scoring encounters against the Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes. Whilst scoring runs hasn’t been Brisbane’s primary obstacle none of their batsmen have yet gone on to score a half-century in the competition so far. However of most concern is the fact that their bowling attack has conceded over 180 in consecutive games with even star recruit Samuel Badree coming in for punishment against the Hurricanes, leaking 37 from his four overs. The Scorchers batting line-up may not pose as many threats as Brisbane’s earlier opponents, however they will still need to improve significantly with the ball if they are to trouble the home side.
As previously mentioned in the preview for the Scorchers v Strikers match, Perth have a very strong record at the WACA with last Monday’s loss being only their third in their last 11 home games. Meanwhile the Heat have lost their past six games away from the Gabba, with their last win on opposition soil coming against Adelaide in January 2014.
Given those respective records it is no surprise that the home side are firm 1.65 favourites, however considering their opening performance, team changes and the fact that Brisbane’s batting hasn’t been disastrous, that price is really too short to be backing. However nor could I back the Heat at 2.48 with serious concerns over their bowling attack and ability to win away from home.
Earlier I mentioned that Brisbane’s batsmen have failed to score a half-century in both opening fixtures and this trend was fairly prevalent last year with the Heat’s top scorer coming in under 50 in half of their matches in the 2014/15 campaign. Perth’s batsmen also failed to raise the bat against Adelaide and last season they failed to score a 50 in three games. Furthermore Perth will be without two of their strongest candidates in Shaun Marsh and Voges, while the Heat batsmen will be up against the arguably the strongest attack in the competition. Therefore there is some value in backing no batsman to score a half-century at 4.75 or bigger.