What looks to be a disastrous start to the Sydney Sixers BBL 07 campaign could be turned around in this next outing against the Adelaide Strikers. On their home deck, the Sixers must show some fight after two disappointing losses & look to put the visiting team on the back foot from the word go.
The Sydney Sixers are looking more shaky than your granddad’s walking stick, two straight losses have really put them under the pump heading into tomorrows match at the SCG. Last years BBL finalists haven’t been able to back up their lofty standards from the previous tournament which has them in danger of sinking to the bottom of the standings in the early stages of the competition. Having done some damage for Surrey in the NatWest T20 Blast, England opening batsman Jason Roy has struggled to assert himself at the top of the order for the Sixers making it difficult for the rest of the line-up to carry dead weight as well as their own struggles at the crease. Roy is a match winner, there’s no doubt about it, but he looks nowhere near as dangerous as some of the other big ball strikers in the competition which remains a small problem for the Sixers & Roy personally. Sydney captain Moises Henriques has also had a tough time of it so far, battling some of his own demons out in the middle which seem to have got the better of him so far. On the flip side, the dangerous Nic Maddinson has given us a taste of what he’s got in store for BBL 07, he’s scored back-to-back 31’s and shouldn’t be far away from a big innings that sets the standard for the rest of the tournament. They have the talent, but do they have the courage & confidence to take the Strikers head on tomorrow night?
The batting has been a struggling occurrence in the Sixers past two games, but one area they really need to find form in is their bowling. After he was held wicketless against the Thunder in the Sixers BBL 07 opener, seamer Sean Abbott fired back against the Scorchers at the SCG with a valiant 3/28 which wasn’t enough to get the Scorchers over the line. BBL 06’s leading wicket taker of the tournament, Abbott is the Sixers most efficient wicket taker in the bowling attack and really does play his role to perfection and rarely has a poor game. As impressive as Abbott was against the Scorchers last week, the likes of Doug Bollinger and Daniel Sams couldn’t keep it together and paid the price for their average efforts as Ashton Turner went on a hitting-frenzy against the Sixers fast bowlers at the back-end of the innings. Spinners Steve O’Keefe and Johan Botha were outstanding though, they kept it tight which allowed the quicks to be more aggressive, but it didn’t quite go to plan. After a four-wicket haul on debut, Daniel Sams should hold his spot in the side, while Ben Dwarshuis is likely to replace the outgoing Doug Bollinger for more variety in the pace department. If the Sixers can’t get over the line in this one, their chances of making the finals reduce significantly.
Having played just the one match, it’s hard to predict what the Adelaide Strikers are capable of in BBL 07. Losing Ben Dunk, Brad Hodge and Kane Richardson, they once again face the difficult task of replacing star players such as that outgoing trio with another group of guys up who are up for the challenge. What did we take out of their first match against the Thunder? Well, we got to see wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey make a name for himself in the competition with an aggressive 44 off 26 deliveries at the top of the order, and Travis Head did what he could with a fluent 36 before being caught behind brilliantly by Jos Buttler. Those were the main highlights with the bat, but they have so much more excitement in that line-up with the likes of young gun Jake Weatherald and South African T20 dynamo Colin Ingram both missing out in the first game, there’s just something interesting about this “unknown” and fresh-looking Strikers batting combination. With the SCG boundaries a lot shorter than the Adelaide Oval, the likes of Head, Ingram and even Jono Dean should take a liking to the smaller-sized ground and tee off when the opportunity presents itself. There’s something special building with the Adelaide Strikers opening batting combination though, two very-talented cricketers (Carey & Weatherald) who have the ability to step it up a notch when required, it just remains to be seen if they can produce some destructive partnerships in BBL 07.
The Sydney Thunder clash was hands-down won with the ball last Friday, bundling over the opposition for just 110 in 17.4 overs. The home ground advantage might have been a factor, but you can’t take anything away from the Strikers bowling attack who attained ten wickets in just under 18 overs. Jumping across from the Renegades, Peter Siddle used his experience to the best of his advantage and gave nothing away while adding a couple wickets to his name, and the man of many variations Ben Laughlin had the opposition on a string as he ran riot through the Thunders lower order and finished with figures of 4/26. Afghani leg-spinner Rashid Khan impressed yet again, this time in a Strikers outfit as he did some damage in the middle order taking 2/22 and receiving the player of the match award. With Michael Neser fit & ready to go, the Strikers now have some handy options and might just be a wildcard pick for the BBL 07 title. The match up that should tickle everyone’s fancy is the Sixers Sean Abbott up against the Strikers Ben Laughlin, two deceptively smart bowlers who’s variations are extremely effective when the batsmen are itching to find the boundary.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sydney Sixers | BBL | 9th match | Sydney
- Nic Maddinson
- Sean Abbott
- Moises Henriques
- Jason Roy
- Daniel Hughes
Wildcard pick – Ben Dwarshuis
Top 5 fantasy picks | Adelaide Strikers | BBL | 9th match | Sydney
- Rashid Khan
- Travis Head
- Jake Weatherald
- Ben Laughlin
- Alex Carey
Wildcard pick – Jono Dean
Sydney Sixers (possible) – 1. Jason Roy 2. Daniel Hughes 3. Nic Maddinson 4. Moises Henriques (c) 5. Sam Billings 6. Johan Botha 7. Peter Nevill (wk) 8. Steve O’Keefe 9. Sean Abbott 10. Ben Dwarshuis 11. Daniel Sams.
Adelaide Strikers (possible) – 1. Alex Carey (wk) 2. Jake Weatherald 3. Travis Head (c) 4. Colin Ingram 5. Jono Dean/Jonathan Wells 6. Jake Lehmann 7. Michael Neser 8. Rashid Khan 9. Peter Siddle 10. Ben Laughlin 11. Billy Stanlake.