The Adelaide Strikers will host the Sydney Thunder tomorrow night in what is set to be a tight arm wrestle. The Thunder are coming off a spirited-victory in their BBL 07 opener against the Sixers, so the Strikers can’t afford to let their guard down despite the home ground advantage.
The amount of talent that has come & gone for the Adelaide Strikers is mind-baffling, they seem to lose a lot of players to interstate clubs which hasn’t done them any favors in the past. Having gained a couple newbies, the Strikers lost Ben Dunk, Tim Ludeman, Kane Richardson and Brad Hodge just to name a few including a handful of others in previous years gone by. The loss of Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge in particular has left two huge voids to fill in the batting line-up, this may just be the Strikers most inexperienced line-up they’ve fielded since the BBL was established. That’s not to say they’re going to fall flat on their face, there’s some exceptional talent on display in BBL 07 which should give us a chance to see what some of these Adelaide young guns are made of. Top order duo 23-year-old Jake Weatherald and 26-year-old Alex Carey both intrigue me, they’ll likely pair up as the opening batsmen and have both shown what they can achieve in domestic cricket for South Australia. Having been given a license to hit by coach Jason Gillespie, we should see some exciting stroke-play from the two Redbacks batsmen which could shock a few opposition attacks. The excitement is always built around their skipper Travis Head though, having already represented his country in ODI & T20I cricket, the Strikers gun batsmen is always a threat when he walks out to the middle. Heads unbeaten 101 against the Sydney Sixers on New Years Eve in 2015 was one of the greatest BBL innings of all time, and his profile went through the roof after that heart-stopping innings.
Joining Head in this clash with the Sydney Thunder are Jono Dean, Jake Lehmann, Jonathan Wells and South African Colin Ingram. Not all of these batsmen are a certainty to feature in tomorrow nights clash, but one of them who is a near-certainty to take his place in the top order is Colin Ingram who has been drafted in from South Africa after some promising performances in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Naturally an aggressive batsman, Ingram should fit right into this Strikers set up on a brilliant batting deck at the Adelaide Oval. As we shift our attention to the bowlers, the whole of Australia as well as the sub-continent are on the edge of their seats to see how Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan will go. A extremely talented 19-year-old leg-spinner, he’s already represented teams in the IPL, CPL & BPL which is a phenomenal achievement given he’s not even 20-years of age yet. A T20 specialist with the ball, Ben Laughlin has been one of the biggest success stories for the Adelaide Strikers with his uncanny knack of picking up wickets, this will be his 100th twenty20 appearance as well. The Strikers have also obtained Peter Siddle from the Renegades and will be hoping that Billy Stanlake can deliver some fiery spells on the hard & bouncy Adelaide deck.
The Sydney Thunder have started their tournament off with a thrilling last-ball victory against a stunned Sydney Sixes outfit that didn’t play to their potential on the night. The Thunder took advantage of it as did skipper Shane Watson who struck a match winning 77 that certainly turned back the clock back to when Watson was at his dynamic best representing Australia. Batting at No. 3, Watson took accountability for his on-field contributions and did what many have struggled to do in the past, producing a captains knock in a fairytale finish for the Thunder at Spotless Stadium. Now it’s onto the next challenge, the Adelaide Strikers are always a tough team to beat at home no matter how inexperienced the team is, the Adelaide crowd gets behind them and creates an enormous atmosphere like no other. Although it was a huge upside winning the Sydney Smash, Watson wasn’t supported very-well by his fellow batsmen which is a area of improvement that needs to be dealt with in this next match. England’s Jos Buttler has scored England’s top three fastest ODI centuries for his country, indicating just what this man is capable of. Both Kurtis Paterson and Ryan Gibson were slugging with the bat, particularly Gibson who just couldn’t find the boundary at all. Ben Rohrer isn’t the most reliable option despite his experience, so pocket-rocket Aiden Blizzard might be promoted up the order ahead of him if the Thunder are looking to improve on their scoring.
More interestingly, the decision to give South Australian Callum Ferguson a gig on his home turf might be an option worth exercising given the experience & local knowledge he has of the ground, he’s a classy batsman with all the cricketing smarts but is currently under an injury cloud. As far as their bowling goes, New Zealand seamer Mitchell McClenaghan and leggy Fawad Ahmed were among the Thunders most impressive bowlers against the Sixers, Arjun Nair also chipped in with a couple wickets which was just what you’re looking for in an energetic 19-year-old. McClenaghan bowled with good pace and executed some change ups that really kept the Sixers batsmen on their toes and restricted their scoring significantly. As for Fawad Ahmed, he produced one of the best leg-spin performances the BBL has to offer with an economical 2/11 from his four overs. The Adelaide Oval wicket has a little bit more to offer for the batsmen, so Ahmed will have to be brave and pitch the ball up again, anything short will be dispatched to the boundary in an instance on a lighting-quick outfield. Unlike his batting, Shane Watson got it wrong with the ball conceding 15 runs off his one over. He’s usually a reliable option, but that would have shaken his confidence a bit. The Thunders bowling attack has it’s weaknesses, but hopefully they can patch them up through their inform bowlers in this next match.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Adelaide Strikers | BBL | 4th match | Adelaide
- Travis Head
- Rashid Khan
- Jake Weatherald
- Ben Laughlin
- Colin Ingram
Wildcard pick – Jono Dean
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sydney Thunder | BBL | 4th match | Adelaide
- Shane Watson
- Mitchell McClenaghan
- Jos Buttler
- Fawad Ahmed
- Aiden Blizzard
Wildcard pick – Callum Ferguson
Adelaide Strikers (possible) – 1. Jake Weatherald 2. Alex Carey (wk) 3. Colin Ingram 4. Travis Head (c) 5. Jono Dean 6. Jake Lehmann 7. Jonathan Wells 8. Rashid Khan 9. Peter Siddle 10. Ben Laughlin 11. Billy Stanlake/Nick Winter.
Sydney Thunder (possible) – 1. Kurtis Patterson 2. Jos Buttler (wk) 3. Shane Watson (c) 4. Ryan Gibson/Callum Ferguson 5. Aiden Blizzard 6. Ben Rohrer 7. Arjun Nair 8. Chris Green 9. Andrew Fekete/Gurinder Sandhu 10. Mitchell McClenaghan 11. Fawad Ahmed.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.