About the Match
Sydney Thunder squeaked past the Sydney Sixers by the closes margin imaginable but will be happy to get on the board. They now face the Adelaide Strikers who are going to be unrecognizable from last season due to the massive changes in their squad. Can Thunder build on their momentum or will the new-look Strikers be able to strike the right balance straight away?
The Adelaide Strikers had a tough season last year as they finished 6th
and failed to qualify for the knockouts yet again. It was enough for the management to change the team's core and go for some changes that people may call controversial.
The Strikers were unable to keep their most two most prolific batsmen, Ben Dunk and Brad Hodge, they also let go of their gun death bowler, Kane Richardson, and a few other important players as well. It is a big risk from the team management which will be hoping that its newest recruits will be able to change the team’s fortunes.
Batting up the order will be Colin Ingram, the former South African international that just had an absolutely amazing NatWest T20 Blast in England where he scored centuries for fun. He has an amazing ability to clear the field but there is a big question mark on him being able to repeat the same success in the much higher level BBL.
The Strikers retained Travis Head, their skipper, who will be absolutely essential to his team until he is called up for national duty. Travis Head will have the responsibility of being the main batsman, a handy bowler, and making sure that his tactics are on point at all times.
Head has played some remarkable innings in the past and will need to be at his best this season for the Strikers to have a chance.
Another new exciting addition to the Strikers will be Rashid Khan, the Afghan leg-spinner. Even this early in this competition, it has been clear that spinners will be playing a major role. With his experience of playing T20 cricket around the world and a difficult to pick googly, Rashid Khan might just be the ace in the pack for the Strikers this season.
Shane Watson turned back the clock and played a vintage inning of 77 as he kept the Sydney Thunder in the game almost single-handedly against the Sydney Sixers before some heroics from Arjun Nair and Aiden Blizzard won them the game off the last ball.
It was not something that looked likely when they were bowling as the Sixers got off to a flier but a phenomenal performance by the Thunder spinners brought them back in the game.
There is plenty to ponder for the Thunder unit before this game, however, they can be very pleased with the form that Fawad Ahmed and Arjun Nair showed. Chris Green had an unusual off day but he too is usually very effective giving the Thunder an excellent slow bowling lineup.
Shane Watson looked out of sorts in the bowling department, Mitchell McClenaghan was excellent, and Andrew Fekete had a tough outing. The bowling unit that the Thunder have assembled is not looking half-bad.
The batting, though, is looking slightly thin. Kurtis Patterson was timing the ball well but kept hitting the fielders and put pressure on his batting partners. Jos Buttler and Shane Watson will need to do the bulk of the scoring because there is only Ben Rohrer, Aiden Blizzard, and Ryan Gibson to follow after them that can be expected to provide something with the bat.
There is a clear dependence on Shane Watson in the batting department which makes the Thunder vulnerable. The good thing for them is that Shane Watson has continued his brilliant form from Sydney grade cricket into the BBL and could just have another fantastic season.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather is expected to be perfect with no threat of rain and the pitch should aid in exciting strokeplay as well.The Adelaide oval offers very little to the bowlers in T20 cricket although the spinners could be slightly more difficult to get away then the fast men.
The head to head between these two teams stands at 3-3 from 6 completed matches with another being a washout. The two matches at the Adelaide Oval have also been shared 1-1 and while the Strikers won the most recent encounter, the Thunder has won two out of the last three.
These are two imperfect teams that are going at each other, however, we have a feeling that the Strikers will just edge out their opponents in this one.
Back the Adelaide Strikers to win
Winner: Adelaide Strikers, 1.81 @ Bet on Adelaide Strikers now