Sydney Sixers will host the Sydney Thunder in the return leg of the Sydney derby and hope to finally break their losing streak that extended since the beginning of this tournament. Sydney Thunder, on the other hand, will arrive in excellent spirits having just beaten the Perth Scorchers in an exciting match. The first game between the Sixers and the Thunder was very exciting and we have a feeling that this one will be closely contested as well.
A brilliant inning by Sam Billings in his last match of this season of the Big Bash left the Sixers wondering what might have been had he shown such form earlier in the tournament. As things stand, though, both Jason Roy and Sam Billings will no longer be available for the Sixers as they have joined the England team for their international commitments.
The Sixers will be welcoming back Nathan Lyon and have drafted in Carlos Brathwaite to help fill the gaps in their lineup. We don’t think the entry of these two players is going to make much of a difference because the Sixers were lacking in their batting strength while their bowling was doing pretty okay.
Still, it cannot hurt to have a bowler of the capabilities of Nathan Lyon in the squad as well as the power-hitting option that Carlos Brathwaite brings.
The bulk of the runs for the Sixers will still have to be scored by Jordan Silk and Nic Maddinson. Silk has been the best batsman for the Sixers this season and has 156 runs from just four innings. We are unsure if Moises Henriques is going to be coming back into the squad anytime soon as he continues to take some personal time off from the game.
With Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott, Nathan Lyon, Ben Dwarshius, and Johan Botha, the Sixers should be able to compete quite well. Their bowling has the opportunity to really get into a lop-sided Thunder batting lineup but we fear if they fail to do that, then they may struggle to get the runs necessary to compete.
That is an extraordinary record for a team high in individual ability and with a track record of putting teams under pressure with good plans. What is going on behind the scenes is not clear but what is obvious is that big names have gone missing.
Moises Henriques has played only twice and has taken a leave of absence. Jason Roy and Daniel Hughes, their hard-hitting openers, may as well have done the same. They’ve barely been able to get it off the square.
Roy has joined up with England and is no loss. Instead Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies all-rounder, comes in.
A couple of seasons back when the Thunder won the BBL, one of their most memorable contributors was Usman Khawaja who scored more than 350 runs in four matches. He has once again started this edition of the BBL with an 85 to his name and must be wondering what all the fuss about scoring runs is!
His 85 included 4 sixes and was made in excellent time. No one else really scored any significant runs and even though Patterson, Watson, Ferguson, and Rohrer all got some starts, they must score more runs to support their bowlers.
Every opposition team knows that the Thunder depends heavily on Watson and now Khawaja to provide the bulk of the runs. Get these two out cheaply and more than half the battle has been won already.
Of course, scoring runs against the Sydney Thunder bowling has been pretty difficult as well. Their trio of spinners has done exceptionally well. Fawad Ahmed has been very difficult to score off and is giving away runs at less than 6 per over. That is astonishing for a leg-spinner in a T20 league and speaks volumes about his control.
Similarly, Arjun Nair and Chris Green have also had some very good days and should be able to help pile on the pressure on the opposition. With Mitchell McClenaghan and Gurinder Sandhu finding their grove, the Thunder are an excellent bowling unit.
We think that teams facing this bowling attack must factor in the difficulty of scoring against the spinners and target the fast bowlers from the first ball.
The conditions in Sydney are a little gloomy and some rain has been forecast for the match day. There is a high likelihood of some time being lost and maybe a truncated game being played. The pitch should favor the spinners like it always does but with some rain around it may be difficult to get the same amount of purchase from the surface.
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