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The race to the semifinals is getting more intense with every passing match in the Big Bash League. Adelaide Strikers no longer have an outside chance to qualify for the semifinals, but they will still want to register a win in their upcoming contest against Perth Scorchers. It will be the first time in the history of the competition that the Perth Scorchers will not be a part of the semifinals. Adelaide Strikers will take on Perth Scorchers on 9th February at Adelaide Oval where they'll not only need to win big but also win with a considerable margin and wait for the other results to fall their way - which, in fact, is a highly unlikely scenario. Although the result of the upcoming contest will be insignificant as far as qualification for the next round is concerned, the result could govern the bottom of the table spot.
The Strikers are placed at the seventh spot in the points table with five wins in thirteen matches. The Strikers are coming into the next game with a few forgetful results in their last few games. Out of the last five, they've registered only one win - against Hobart Hurricanes.
They were toppled by Brisbane Heat in their last where despite being in a position to dictate terms on numerous occasions. They got off to a horror start after being put in by Chris Lynn on a hot night at Adelaide. They lost Jake Lehmann and Jake Weatherald inside the first two overs which rocked their plans of getting to a good total. However, thanks to a brilliant innings by Colin Ingram combined with a few little but useful contributions from their lower order batsmen, they somehow managed to get a respectable total of 176 runs on the board.
The momentum which Strikers took into the second innings paid off rich dividends as they claimed two wickets at a pace greater than they had lost. Max Bryant was soon dismissed by Peter Siddle as the Heat found themselves in a state of bother with three down for just 18 on the board. However, their bowlers failed to cope up with the counter-attacking innings by Brendon McCullum and Matt Renshaw eventually ending up on the losing side with eight deliveries still to spare.
Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, TM Head, JW Wells, Harry Nielsen, Cameron Valente, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, Ben Laughlin, Billy Stanlake, Liam O'Connor.
Scorchers' fans had something to cheer for in their last home encounter of the season which was against Melbourne Stars a couple of days ago. Their win against Stars was after a losing streak of four games. They not only celebrated Klinger's farewell match in style but also denied Stars a semifinal spot for yet another game.
Batting first on a decent batting wicket, Perth Scorchers appeared to be at their perceived best as they racked their best score of the season. Their tall total was mainly set up by Ashton Turner who found his brutal best after having a spell of relatively dry games. Turner's 42-ball 69 played an instrumental role in Scorchers' win as he never allowed the momentum to die despite struggling Klinger alongside him.
There was never a doubt about Scorchers' on-paper bowling strength, but they failed to reproduce the same perceived strength many times in this season. However, their inspired bowlers bowled well during all stages of the game. Jason Behrendorf troubled the pair of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis during the earlier part of the innings. Coulter-Nile and Kelly were the picks of the bowlers for hem as they picked six wickets between them at the expense of 61-runs in their eight overs combined. Although Tye was expensive, he picked up two wickets including that of Glenn Maxwell which helped Scorchers turn the tide in their favor.
Josh Inglis, Nick Hobson, CT Bancroft, AJ Turner, Mitchell Marsh, SP Terry, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, AJ Tye, Matthew Kelly, Jason Behrendorff.
The match is of no consequence as far as the qualification for the next round is concerned, but for the two teams involved, it will be the matter of finishing on a high. Perth Scorchers will be pumped by their last match's win against Melbourne Stars. Their lineup looks better balanced with the return of Mitchell Marsh in the mix and the knocks of Cameron Bancroft and Ashton Turner will certainly have boosted their confidence. They have a settled bowling lineup which is rich in experience and will look to exploit vulnerabilities in the Strikers' bowling department. Although the threat from Rashid Khan will loom large over the Scorchers, we think that their batsmen will be able to negotiate it and register a win in their upcoming match.
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