Sitting right in the middle of the BBL08 points table with three wins-apiece, tomorrow night’s clash at the Adelaide Oval will be the perfect opportunity for one these teams to join the Renegades and Sixers in the top half of the standings. Some big outs for the Strikers could make things a bit more interesting, although the return of their skipper Travis Head might just be enough to get them over the line in front of his home crowd.
As strange as it sounds, the Adelaide Strikers might not have to be at their very-best to win tomorrow’s game in the city of churches. The reason being that the opposition has lost some of their biggest match winners in Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, two highly skilled & talented all-rounders that have the ability to turn a match on its head when the odds seem stacked against them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always satisfying when a team is performing at its full potential, but given how the Melbourne Stars approached the game on Wednesday against the Scorchers, there’s plenty of holes in their game to exploit. Shifting our focus back to the Strikers, the question on everyone’s mind is who will open the batting with Jake Weatherald in Alex Carey’s absence. Well, it’s likely to go one of two ways. On his return to the BBL, skipper Travis Head could potentially place himself alongside Weatherald, or Victorian all-rounder Matt Short may find himself facing the new ball.
Jake Weatherald happens to be the Strikers leading run-scorer in BBL08, but the fact that he’s run out his fellow-opener Alex Carey twice has meant that he’s had no other option but to score bulk of the runs. An issue Adelaide has is how inconsistent their middle order has been, apart from Jono Wells who is averaging 67 due to his unbeaten efforts in four matches, the likes of Colin Ingram and Matt Short just haven’t scored regularly enough. Losing both Billy Stanlake and Peter Siddle to the Australian ODI squad, the bowling attack will have to be readjusted ahead of tomorrow’s game as well. Ben Laughlin is expected to return, while Jake Lehmann also looms as a potential inclusion after sitting out last match. Just about the hardest bowler to score off in the competition, Strikers leggy Rashid Khan has been the standout bowler of the BBL yet again with his deceiving-wrong’un’s. There isn’t a whole lot to the Stats batting line-up, so the Afghani leg-spinner could make an absolute mess of them.
This is where their campaign could completely fall apart, the Melbourne Stars are just one loss away from completely capitulating in this seasons BBL. You wouldn’t know looking at their record, three wins & three losses sitting fourth on the points table looks pretty circumspect. Don’t be fooled though, Melbourne had the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa getting the job done for them, all of a sudden the Australian ODI trio are missing and the Stars go down convincingly to the Scorchers at the MCG. Coincidence, I think not. If there were any positives to take out of the loss to Perth, it was the clean-striking of Ben Dunk who finally found his range at the top of the order. Dunk’s 62 off 47 deliveries was highlighted by his three boundaries clubbed straight back over Ashton Agar’s head in a single over, showing everyone that he hasn’t lost touch just yet. Dunk’s time at the Strikers could see him star with the bat in Adelaide tomorrow as well, he was on fire in the 2016/17 season.
It may take Nic Maddinson a couple matches to return to his destructive-best, that’s where Nick Larkin, Seb Gotch and Dwayne Bravo must start contributing a significant amount of runs for the Stars. On this Adelaide surface, 21-year-old spinner Liam Bowe could be a bit of an X factor with the ball in hand despite just 7 career wickets to his name. As always, the cool kid on the block Dwayne Bravo will be working overtime with his variations alongside his pace attack, both Scott Boland and Liam Plunkett were disappointing with their execution in the Stars last match and can’t afford to bowl in the wrong areas a second time. Fortunately for the visitors, they have two extra seamers in their squad in the form of “the wild thing” Lance Morris and Tasmania’s Jackson Bird if they feel the need to shake up their attack. As the pressure slowly starts to mount on this Melbourne Stars outfit, they’ll start to feel the walls closing in on them which is where panic sets in. Can they tame the Strikers at home? Only time will tell….
Top 5 fantasy picks | Adelaide Strikers | BBL | 27th match | Adelaide
- Rashid Khan
- Travis Head
- Ben Laughlin
- Michael Neser
- Colin Ingram
Wildcard pick – Matt Short
Top 5 fantasy picks | Melbourne Stars | BBL | 27th match | Adelaide
- Dwayne Bravo
- Ben Dunk
- Nick Larkin
- Liam Bowe
- Nic Maddinson
Wildcard pick – Jonathan Merlo
Adelaide Strikers (possible) – 1. Jake Weatherald 2. Matt Short 3. Travis Head © 4. Colin Ingram 5. Jono Wells 6. Michael Neser 7. Cameron Valente 8. Harry Nielsen (wk) 9. Rashid Khan 10. Ben Laughlin 11. Wes Agar.
Melbourne Stars (possible) – 1. Evan Gulbis 2. Ben Dunk 3. Nic Maddinson © 4. Nick Larkin 5. Seb Gotch (wk) 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Jonathan Merlo 8. Liam Plunkett 9. Scott Boland 10. Michael Beer/Jackson Bird 11. Liam Bowe.
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.