Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat
Sunday January 10, 7:25pm
Sunday night sees the clash of two teams looking to avoid the wooden spoon when the Sydney Sixers welcome the Brisbane Heat to the SCG.
The Sixers have tasted victory just twice this season from six games and are without a win since prior to Christmas when they overcame the Melbourne Renegades. The Sixers’ campaign has been cruelled by injury and unavailability due to national selection with that theme continuing on Sunday as stand-in skipper Nic Maddinson has been ruled out with an ankle injury. That comes on top of the continued absence of regular captain Moises Henriques, while veteran ‘keeper Brad Haddin will have to pass a fitness test after missing the last match against the Perth Scorchers. Sydney will regain the services of Nathan Lyon from the test side, however Steve O’Keefe with miss out with a calf injury while Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood will stay on with the national one-day side. The Sixers are still a mathematical chance of making the top four but will need to win both of their remaining games.
Unfortunately for the Heat they are out of contention for a finals birth with just the solitary win this season from their six encounters. On Friday the Adelaide Strikers comfortably accounted for Brisbane with an eight-wicket win at the Gabba as the Heat’s bowling attack suffered the common problem of failing to contain the opposition top order. Brisbane have taken an average of only three wickets per game and conceded more than nine runs an over on five out of six occasions. The batting has been much more fluid with wicket-keeper batsman Jimmy Peirson impressing in recent times, scoring 40 and 51 in his last two outings. The Heat will also be boosted by the availability of test opener Joe Burns for just the second time this season.
Sydney Cricket Ground
The SCG has produced mixed results for the Sixers with the first game a thumping win over the Hobart Hurricanes followed shortly after by a relatively convincing loss to the Melbourne Stars. The pitch has generally suited the slower bowlers so the home side will be happy to have Lyon on board while the Heat will look to West Indian leggie Samuel Badree to spark their attack.
In the battle of the cellar-dwellers the Sixers are very marginal favourites at 1.87 with the Heat priced at 2.14 to capture their second win of the season. If Haddin is fit to play the I think that price for the hosts is well worth backing, however we won’t know confirmed team news until the toss.
Irrespective of whether Haddin plays the Sixers are light on for quality with the bat and so will look to their more established players at the top of the order for a significant contribution. English opener Michael Lumb is the Sixers’ highest run-scorer this season and has top-scored in half of their matches. When playing against Brisbane, opening the innings gives you a distinct advantage as they take so few wickets – openers have top-scored on four out of six occasions against the Heat this year. With all that in mind I’ll be looking to back Lumb to top-score for Sydney at around 3.75 or better.