Sydney Thunder v Perth Scorchers
Thursday January 7, 7:40pm
It’s the clash of second vs third when the Perth Scorchers travel to Spotless Stadium to take on the Sydney Thunder on Thursday.
The Thunder will be looking to get their title tilt back on track after consecutive defeats to the Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes, following on from three wins to open the season. In the last two games their previously excellent bowling attack has faltered, conceding 163 against Hobart and failing to defend 186 against Brisbane in the pouring rain on Sunday. The continued poor form of talisman Gurinder Sandhu will be of particular concern with the wily quick having taken only one wicket in the competition so far whilst conceding over 10 runs an over – against the Heat his four overs cost 55 which could see him dropped for Alister McDermott. Thunder will have a big hole in their batting line-up with captain Mike Hussey to miss with a hamstring injury. The 40-year old can’t stop scoring runs this Big Bash campaign after adding another half-century with a classy 56 against Brisbane, his third in five games.
Perth had their run of three consecutive victories interrupted by the Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday, who overturned the Scorchers for the second time this season. Perth’s star-studded bowling attack failed to restrain Adelaide’s top-order who racked up 2/174, with the Scorchers falling 36 runs short despite some fireworks from David Willey who belted 31 off only 17 balls. It was the first time this season that one of Perth’s openers didn’t top-score and coach Justin Langer will be hoping that inexperienced middle-order trio Marcus Harris, Ashton Agar and Ashton Turner can step up to the plate with Shaun Marsh heading off to national duty with the Australian ODI side.
Spotless Stadium has been a tough ground to gauge this year with the Thunder comfortably defending 158 against the Sydney Sixers then effortlessly chasing 117 against the Strikers. The pitch does appear to suit the home side’s varied bowling attack, in particular medium-fast seamers Clint McKay, Shane Watson and Jacques Kallis, who have combined for nine wickets in the opening two games at Spotless at an average of just 9.56 and economy rate of 5.43.
Despite two wins from two at home the Thunder have been installed as marginal underdogs at 2.18, with Perth favourites for the match at 1.83. Whilst one could argue the Thunder deserve more respect at home there’s not enough value in those prices to be getting involved.
While both bowling attacks have floundered in recent games, they remain two of the highest quality attacks in the competition and the value looks to be with getting against the batsmen to find the boundary. Although ostensibly a football ground, Spotless Stadium is a venue where batsmen have found it difficult to clear the ropes, with an average of just 5.25 sixes a game over the last two seasons and no single match seeing more than nine maximums. Both the Thunder and Scorchers have also had nine or less sixes salute in three out of their five games this season so I’ll be looking for that to occur again at a price of around the 2.50 mark.