Looking at the BBL 07 standings, this match looks lopsided at best. A twist in this fascinating clash at Spotless Stadium tomorrow night sees the Thunder gain two massive additions though, so much so that they’ve become the favorites due to some key omissions from the Scorchers squad.
After making a great start to their BBL campaign against the Sydney Sixers at home, it’s been tough going ever since for the Sydney Thunder who have drifted a fair way from the pack leaders. Having lost their past two matches, help has arrived just in time for the weary-Thunder who will gain Ashes duo Usman Khawaja and James Vince. That should really bolster the batting order, the reliance on Shane Watson was taking its toll on both him and the team which should see these two batting inclusions do wonders for the Thunder for the remainder of the tournament. Australian test No. 3 Usman Khawaja will be a huge asset in particular, the left-hander is a scoring beast in the BBL recording two centuries in a single tournament in 2015/16. The Thunders middle order just wasn’t performing, the likes of Ryan Gibson and Ben Rohrer particularly struggling to contribute on a regular basis which allowed opposition teams to pounce. The Thunder will lose Jos Buttler to the England ODI squad set to take on Australia in a five-match series soon, so they’ll be relieved to be filling the void with two just as destructive & skillful batsmen at the top of the order.
Seen as one of the recruits of the tournament in his first four outings in the lime & black attire, Black Caps seamer Mitchell McClenaghan has found out just how quickly you can be brought back to reality after being on the receiving end of some expensive bowling spells. McClenaghan had eight wickets to his name in just four BBL appearances, but his next two have resulted in 0/70 in a dramatic turn of events. Spinner Arjun Nair has also been on a downward slide in recent times, but that should all change with the presence of two accomplished batsmen in the side who will give the Thunder a red-hot crack to win the match no matter how many runs are conceded. That should give McClenaghan a lot more confidence to experiment with his line & length which can often catch batsmen unaware at times. Fawad Ahmed is coming off an impressive exhibition of leg-spin bowling against the Strikers claiming 3/31, he seems to be quite successful with the ball at Spotless Stadium and should trouble the Scorchers line-up yet again. Used as a part time option when he first joined the side, 24-year-old Chris Green doesn’t spin it a lot with the new ball, but he does get the ball to slide on which has made him hard to target so far in BBL 07.
A team that has surprised many by their never-say-die attitude in 2017-18, the Perth Scorchers have already exceeded all expectations after being deprived of numerous key players suffering injuries & representing Australia in the Ashes. It shouldn’t come as any great surprise though, their coach Justin Langer was a fighter in his career as an Australian cricketer, and that’s seemed to rub off on the entire Scorchers squad who have already recorded five wins in the competition and currently sit second on the BBL 07 points table. Just as Perth seemed to be building a strong structure heading into the remainder of the tournament, they lose three more players due to International selection which could set them back significantly. They’ll lose David Willey, Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson which especially leaves a massive hole in their bowling attack, although they do gain some overseas experience along with the return of wicketkeeper-batsman Cameron Bancroft. English all-rounder David Willey was influential the another night scoring a pivotal half-century at the top of the order for the Scorchers, so he’s a huge loss for tomorrow nights clash. Thankfully for Scorchers fanatics, you have the pleasure of watching Ashton Turner going about his business again. It was entertainment-plus against the Renegades in a run chase that looked beyond them, but Turner’s six-hitting marathon gave Perth the upper hand, scoring a scintillating 32-ball 70.
It’s not very often you see the ever-consistent Michael Klinger dismissed for a golden duck either, so he’ll be eager to repay the team with a big knock in this upcoming clash against the Thunder. We all know how dangerous Ashton Agar can be with the bat, but his spin bowling might play a crucial part in restricting the Thunders massive inclusions on a flat-Spotless Stadium deck. Losing Andrew Tye couldn’t have come at a more worse time, Khawaja and Vince coming into the side which will undoubtedly put the bowlers under more added pressure which can often turn ugly quite quickly. That’s where Mitchell Johnson comes into the picture, he’s been damaging at times with the new ball getting it to move off the seam early resulting in some huge dismissals, he can still produce fireballs capable of giving the likes of Khawaja, Vince and Watson grief. As good as he is, Johnson isn’t a one man show which means that Joel Paris and English all-rounder Tim Bresnan will have to sneak some wickets in while Johnson is chipping away at the top order.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Sydney Thunder | BBL | 25th match | Sydney (Spotless Stadium)
- Usman Khawaja
- Fawad Ahmed
- Shane Watson
- James Vince
Wildcard pick – Arjun Nair
Top 4 fantasy picks | Perth Scorchers | BBL | 25th match | Sydney (Spotless Stadium)
- Mitchell Johnson
- Ashton Turner
- Cameron Bancroft
- Ashton Agar
Wildcard pick – Joel Paris
Sydney Thunder (possible) – 1. Kurtis Patterson 2. Usman Khawaja 3. James Vince 4. Shane Watson (c) 5. Callum Ferguson/Ben Rohrer 6. Arjun Nair 7. Jay Lenton (wk) 8. Chris Green 9. Gurinder Sandhu 10. Mitchell McClenaghan 11. Fawad Ahmed.
Perth Scorchers (possible) – 1. Michael Klinger 2. Cameron Bancroft (wk) 3. Hilton Cartwright 4. Ashton Turner 5. Adam Voges (c) 6. Ashton Agar 7. Tim David 8. Tim Bresnan 9. Matthew Kelly 10. Joel Paris 11. Mitchell Johnson.