After halting Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League Eliminator, Sydney Thunder will take their season to Adelaide to take on the Strikers in the Knockout on Saturday.
The winner go on to play the loser of the Qualifier between the Stars and the Sixers for a place in the Grand Final.
The Strikers qualified third in the league season with eight wins out of 14. The Thunder, who have barely made it to the finals as fifth in the regular season, got their momentum back with a win over the Hurricanes.
The Strikers have won four of their last five league matches and are in good form coming into this match. During the regular season, one of the matches between these sides was abandoned due to smoke from the bushfires. In the other, the Thunder survived a mighty scare to end up winners by three runs at this venue.
The Strikers have based their season on strong starts, with Jake Weatherald (389 runs) leading the charge. Alex Carey (363 runs, SR 129.64) and Jon Wells (444 runs, SR 136.19) have been their pillars in the middle-order giving Strikers the scores they can defend.
And the bowling duties are carried out ably by Rashid Khan (18 wickets, ER 7.24) and Peter Siddle (17 wickets, SR 7.35). Wes Agar has joined the party with good performances in the recent matches giving the Strikers much-needed teeth in the middle overs.
It was Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja who led the Thunder’s brisk start against the Hurricanes. They never looked back from there and the duo will once again be crucial for the Thunder’s chances. Callum Ferguson also looked like he was ready to get back to some scoring form.
Daniel Sams continues to take wickets and now has 27 in the season, including two in the Eliminator. With Chris Morris (18 wickets, ER 8.28) also chipping in, there is sudden surge in Thunder’s charge this season.
There were serious doubts on the ability of this Thunder line-up to stand up in the playoffs. They did exactly the same, with Hales and Khawaja leading the charge with the bat. Then with the ball, it was the unheralded Jono Cook and Chris Morris leading the show. Playing the Strikers at this venue is a daunting task, although the Thunder went close in the regular season. The Strikers will be at full-strength for this encounter and should fancy their chances.
History & Statistics
- The Strikers have won six of nine H2Hs while batting first.
- The Strikers had the best powerplay scores in 10 of their 14 league matches this season.
- The Strikers have scored the most 6s in four of their last six matches at this venue.
- The Thunder had the best opening partnership in the last two H2Hs at this venue.
- The Thunder have won both the H2Hs where they batted first.
Alex Carey has been in consistent scoring form for the Strikers this season. He comes into this fixture with scores of 41,19, 29, 32, 33, 25 and 39 in his last seven BBL matches.
Usman Khawaja loves playing in the playoffs and has 2X50 and 1×100 in three BBL playoffs. Can he make it four in a row?