This is the closest to a shootout in the Big Bash League that we can have as Sydney Thunder and Perth Scorchers face off with the winner a great chance to make it to the playoffs.
The Thunder have 11 points from 13 matches (W5, L7, NR1) and are stuck in the group of teams fighting for the playoff places. A win might not guarantee a top-five spot, but a loss would eliminate them from the race. The Scorchers are slightly better with 12 points (W6, L7), but in all probability will be knocked out with a loss.
With just one win in their last four matches, the Thunder are beginning to show signs of losing their form at the wrong time. One of those losses was to the Scorchers by eight wickets in the reverse fixture. Thankfully for them, they have won their last two home matches at the Sydney Showground.
Alex Hales (402 runs, SR 141.05) has emerged their biggest bet with the bat, after Callum Ferguson’s early season form evaporated (326 runs, SR 128.85). Daniel Sams (24 wickets) can’t stop taking wickets, but there isn’t much support from the rest, barring Chris Morris (14 wickets).
The Scorchers are in the midst of some poor results too, with just one win in their last four matches – against the Thunder at home. With this being essentially a knockout, the Scorchers will hope that their away form will come good at the right time having won three of their last four matches away from home including neutral venues.
The form of Liam Livingstone (405 runs, SR 149.44) has picked up at the right time, while Josh Inglis and Mitchell Marsh are knocking on the doors of 400 aggregate runs. The duo of Fawad Ahmed and Jhye Richardson will be crucial for their chances, as Morne Morkel joins the side as overseas replacement.
Both the Thunder and the Scorchers are battling a drop of form at the wrong moment of time. The loser will be knocked out of contention, so it is going to be a fascinating contest between the two sides. Watch out for the battle between the overseas Englishmen as Hales and Livingstone will look to continue their good recent form. It will all come down to how cohesive the performances will be, because both teams have individual match winners in their ranks. The Scorchers edge ahead, ever so slightly, on that count.
History & Statistics
- The Thunder have won three of the last four H2Hs.
- The Thunder have won the last two H2Hs at this venue.
- The Thunder had the most 6s in just one of their BBL09 matches this season.
- The Scorchers had the best power play score in seven of their last nine fixtures.
The Thunder will keep their hopes banked on Hales. The England international has warmed up nicely with two 50s on the trot. Can he make it a hat-trick of key scores?
Livingstone is shouldering a similar responsibility for the Scorchers and has scores of 79 & 78 in his last two matches. He will be key to their hopes of securing the playoff place.