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BBL Preview: 28 December – 30 December

Teams will hit their midway point in the 2021-22 BBL campaign in the coming days. Here are our previews for the next set of matches. 

Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers (Tuesday December 28, 7:15pm) 

The Sydney Thunder will be out to prove their third-place on the BBL table is no fluke when they take on  

While Perth (and the Sydney Sixers) are the runaway leaders early in the new campaign, the Thunder currently hold third spot on the table through a mixture of bash bonus points and their net run rate, despite winning just two from five games. 

Their last start saw something of a demoralising loss to the Sixers in the Sydney Smash, and while they have recorded two wins over the Brisbane Heat, they are yet to beat anyone else, losing their other two games both to the Melbourne Stars. 

Their bowling has struggled severely to this point, conceding 140 or more runs in each of their five games and it shows with only Tanveer Sangha sitting in the top ten bowlers statistically. Daniel Sams and Saqib Mahmood have been solid, but are both going at more than eight and a half runs per over. 

That is a recipe for disaster against a side like Perth, who are undefeated from six games despite the impacts COVID continues to place on their team and ability – or lack thereof – to play games at home. Given Mitchell Marsh and Colin Munro have scored 249 and 204 runs respectively at strike rates of 149 and 140, playing against a bowling attack struggling to prevent runs should make all the difference here. 

Perth to extend their unbeaten run. 

 Our best bet: Perth Scorchers win $1.61 at PlayUp

Sydney Sixers vs Brisbane Heat (Wednesday December 29, 6:05pm) 

The Sydney Sixers will face a potential banana skin game as they attempt to keep themselves at the top of the Big Bash League ladder when they face the rapidly improving Brisbane Heat in Wednesday’s early game. 

The Sixers might sit second on the table with five wins from six appearances, but it has been anything but straightforward. Their single loss saw the bowlers blundgeoned by Matthew Wade, while they have won two games in the final over and had to go with plenty of big hitting against the Thunder last start in a rain-impacted match. 

They have been strong enough to keep winning, and a lot of that is down to their incredible experience with the likes of Moises Henriques and Daniel Christian standing up when it has mattered most, but that doesn’t mean they are certainties to knock over the Heat. 

The Sixers bowling has been something of a concern – if you could call it that. They have let in scores of 213, 177, 147 and 142 (off 15 overs) in their last four starts and will need to be better than that when it comes to playing the men from Brisbane, who scored 208 in their final game prior to Christmas against the Adelaide Strikers. 

Ben Duckett led the way on that occasion with 78 from just 47 balls, with the side flogging the Adelaide Strikers, while they also had a win against the Melbourne Renegades prior to Christmas. They have won two out of their last three at the time of writing, with a game against the Melbourne Stars to be played in between. 

Still, the Sixers, with their experience, and the form of Josh Philippe and Henriques with the bat, go into this one as favourites and rightfully so. 

 Our best bet: Sydney Sixers win $1.59 at PlayUp

Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars (Thursday December 30, 7:15pm) 

It has already been made fairly clear just how good the Scorchers form is in the run to the New Year, with the side failing to lose despite a lack of cricket at their fortress home ground. 

The Melbourne Stars, on the other hand, have been the season’s biggest disappointment thus far. They have won just two of their first five (with a game to be played against the Brisbane Heat on Monday night at the time of writing), and will be out to turn things around – and they need to desperately. 

From that dismal start to the tournament against the Sixers where they were rolled for just 61, to the inconsistency on display since, it’s been a rough beginning for Glenn Maxwell’s side. 

Speaking of Maxwell, it’s clear the Stars need a big score here, and his run of form – 175 runs at 35 with a strike rate of 150 – sees him in the top ten for runs so far in the tournament, and he will need to do more of that here. They will also need gun for hire Andre Russell to step up. 

It can’t be a one-man show with the bat given AJ Tye and Ashton Agar both have ten wickets, and Jason Behrendorff eight giving the trio the equal first, and equal sixth best bowling records for the tournament. The trio have been economical too with only Tye going at a tick over seven and a half per over, Agar and Behrnedorff either side of seven.  

It’s that bowling, and the lack of overall batting, which should see the Stars take yet another win here. 

Our best bet: Melbourne Stars win $2.32 at PlayUp


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