As the Big Bash League regular season winds up to a close, the Sydney Sixers get the chance to book top-two place as they close out their season against Melbourne Renegades at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday.
The Sixers are second in the table with 17 points, but with Strikers just two points behind with a game in hand that could change before the start of this encounter. The Renegades are bottom of the table with four points and will remain there irrespective of this result.
The Sixers welcomed Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon to the playing XI, but they were hardly required in the eight-wicket demolition of the Brisbane Heat. The form of Josh Philippe (340 runs, SR 123.18) remains their driving force, although the likes of James Vince and Moises Henriques need to be a bit more consistent.
As has been the case throughout the season, there are no worries with the ball for the Sixers. Tom Curran (19 wickets, ER 9.26) remains their most effective bowler, who will look to sign his season off on a high before leaving for national duty. Thankfully, the likes of Ben Dwarshuis (14) and Jackson Bird (10) have been amongst the wickets.
There isn’t much left in the season for the Renegades, except playing spoilsport for the others. They have won only two games all season long, and both have come in their last three matches. Shaun Marsh’s injury-induced loss will leave a massive hole in their batting. The pressure will now be on Beau Webster (404 runs, SR 137.88) to continue his good form.
The addition of Mohammad Nabi (102 runs, three wickets) gives the Renegades all-round options. Kane Richardson (ten wickets, ER 6.66) should also return along with Aaron Finch (191 runs, SR 132.63) giving a bit of extra edge to the Renegades.
The Sixers are nearly through to the playoffs, but will be eager to get a win and confirm their top-two spot which bring a double chance in the playoffs. Although they have the edge over Adelaide, the game in hand for the Strikers mean that the Sixers can’t sit easy. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Smith, Finch and Richardson will spice up the contest. The Renegades have struggled throughout, due to lack of cohesive efforts. They have been relying too much on individual brilliances and that remains their Achilles heel.
History & Statistics
- The Sixers have won six of the last nine H2Hs, although it is 2-2 at this venue.
- The Sixers have won four of five H2Hs, where they were chasing.
- The Sixers have won seven of the last nine matches at this venue, losing only once.
- The Sixers have hit the most 6s in seven of their 13 matches.
- The Sixers had the best power play in just four of their 13 matches.
- The Renegades had the best opening partnership in just two of their 12 matches.
Vince looked in cracking form for the Sixers against the Heat, batting with a sense of freedom and clarity. Will he build on the fifty?
Webster will have a lot of responsibility to shoulder for the Renegades, especially with Marsh out of the season with injury.