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There's been already a lot of flak over the length and lack of excitement due to it in this year's Big Bash League and finally, the business end of the tournament is just around the corner. Brisbane Heat & Perth Scorchers are already out of the contention and Melbourne Renegades & Hobart Hurricanes have already sealed their semifinal berths leaving the competition for the last two slots between the four teams. The two teams from Sydney, Thunder & Sixers are set to lock horns on 2nd February at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.
Placed at the third spot in the points table, Sydney Sixers have had a mixed tournament so far. They have won seven of 12 matches played so far and looking for yet another win to ascertain their place in the next round.
Sydney Sixers have really stepped up their game in the last few matches. After a massive win against Brisbane Heat a few days ago, they steamed past Hobart Hurricanes and then punished Strikers with a similar kind of treatment in their last match.
Despite bowling first on a reasonably good surface to bat, Sixers had a terrific start which was set up by Ben Dwarshius. Edwards set the tone for them with a brilliant run-out to send Alex Carey back into the hut. Post that, Ben Dwarshius exhibited an outstanding spell of left-arm pace bowling and registered his career-best figures of 4-0-7-3. The likes of Abbott and Steven O' Keefe played their role to perfection and so perfect was the Sixers' bowling effort that a slightly under par performance from Curran was barely felt.
Adelaide Strikers needed something magical to defend the total of 124 and started off well by sending Josh Phillipe and James Vince, the heroes of Sydney's night against Hurricanes, back to the pavilion. However, Moises Henriques and Daniel Hughes then combined to stitch an unbeaten partnership of 106 to power their side home. Up until now, Henriques was struggling to score runs and it was exactly the kind of innings to needed to get his confidence back. He'd like to take the momentum from this innings into the ones to come and with Moises Henriques back in form, Sixers' batting looks even more solid.
Daniel Hughes, Josh Philippe, J Vince, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Steve O'Keefe, B Dwarshuis, Lloyd Pope.
The Thunder have only two games left and they desperately need a couple of wins unless they want to relinquish their fate into the hands of other teams in the competition.
In their last encounter, the Thunder were effectively beaten by one man, Cameron Boyce, which resulted in their eighth loss in nine matches against Melbourne Renegades. Under the closed roof of Melbourne Cricket Ground, the two teams were greeted by a sluggish surface which was utilized perfectly by the Thunder after winning the toss. That, however, was only until the 18th over as Cameron Boyce smashed Sixers' bowlers all over the place to provide his team with a competitive total to defend. The pair of Fawad Ahmed and Chris Green worked wonders as the duo tightened the screws over Renegades and picked up two wickets in the process.
Thunder didn't really learn how to approach the target in the first innings which resulted in the early loss of Shane Watson whose wicket was accounted for by Kane Richardson. Jason Sangha and Callum Ferguson struggled to time the ball as the required rate kept creeping up. Although there were small partnerships in between, the Thunder never really went faster than the Snail's pace. They lacked an innings similar to Boyce's which eventually became the difference between the two sides. Thunder eventually lost the match by 27 runs.
SR Watson, Jason Sangha, Callum Ferguson, Anton Devcich, Christopher Green, Baxter J Holt, Daniel Sams, Chris Jordan, Gurinder Sandhu, Jonathan Cook, Fawad Ahmed.
Both the teams will be fighting for a win albeit for different immediate goals. The Sixers will be looking to secure a home final with a win whereas for Thunder it is a matter of survival. Going by the points table, the Sixers have clearly performed better than the Thunder in the competition so far. However, the Thunder will draw confidence from the last meeting between the two sides wherein they won by 21 runs. Sixers are playing this upcoming match at their home ground and are on a terrific three-match winning streak. They have an in-form batting lineup coupled with an experienced and varied bowling attack. Playing at home will certainly be advantageous for the Sixers and we think they are better placed to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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