More group stage matches.
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Saturday 13th January
Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers
The Strikers scored only a par 157 against the Thunder on Sunday but bowled exceptionally to restrict the home team to 133 in reply. The result took Adelaide to the top of the league ladder again, a position they confirmed when they beat the Stars on Monday, when they chased 157 comfortably to beat the Stars at home
Adelaide now have 5 wins out of 6 and this is a key game for knockout stage seedings as Perth the defending champions also had won five games out of 6 before their loss to the Sydney Thunder on Thursday.
Perth chased 175 and very nearly won with Bancroft (76off 56) and Cartwright (56 off 41) combining for 10 fours and six sixes and falling three runs short from achieving the target
At 10/11 each of two my preference here is for the Strikers with what looks like the best bowling attack in the competition to come out on top.
Saturday 13th January
Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
Sydney Thunder hosted the Strikers on Sunday and fell short of the 157 target by 24 runs despite a good start but unable to counter the Adelaide slow bowlers from mid-innings onwards
Usman Khawaja then came back from Ashes duty and hit 85 off 51 balls opening the batting to set up Thunder’s total of 175 against the Scorchers on Thursday.They hung on to win by three runs to remain in contention for a top four place.e
The Sixers lost to Hobart at the weekend and go into this match with six defeats out of six games in this year’s competition
Despite the fact this is a Derby match, the Thunder are and should be good favourites to beat a winless team and can be backed at 8/11 to do so.
Monday 15th January
Hobart Hurricanes v Brisbane Heat
Hobart played the Heat in Brisbane on Wednesday and it was D’Arcy Short who was the start again, hitting an excellent hundred 122*, the highest BBL score ever on a perfect pitch and Short now has over 400 runs in this Big Bash, only the second player ever to achieve this
The Heat chasing 180 to win fell three runs short. Hobart Hurricanes have won four matches in a row – all of them when batting first. They have scored 22% of their runs in those four matches in the last three overs: 43-1, 34-1, 38-1, 42-1. Explosive late order hitting has lifted them to scores of 189, 183, 170 and 179
The two teams now move to Hobart for the reverse fixture with the bookmakers unable to separate the pair, 10/11 each of two for the win in what could be very different conditions than the very flat pitch the teams encountered in Brisbane. Hobart traditionally offers the bowlers more help. My modest preference is for the Heat at 10/11
Tuesday 16th January
Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers
The Stars fell to their fifth successive defeat in Adelaide on Monday, their eighth loss in succession across two seasons and are virtually out of knockout stage contention. They followed up with a Melbourne Derby on Friday and defended 167 against the Renegades thanks to Pieterson’s 74.
The Sixers lots to the Hurricanes in their most recent game, and remain winless in this year’s competition then play the Thunder in the Sydney Derby on the 13th, previewed at the start of this report
The battle of the two basement teams then, both finding wins almost impossible tocome by. At home we can favour the Stars at 5/6