About the Match
The Thunders are in the 7th position with 5 points on board and will have to bow out of the competition if they don’t win the upcoming league match against Melbourne Stars, scheduled to be held on 17th Jan at Sydney. The visitors have 6 points from 6 matches played and currently in the 4th position but this match will be crucial for their chances too to move ahead with severe competition from others below them on the table. They won their last match against the Renegades by 3 wickets in a close finish but will have to pull up their socks and come out stronger here if they want to keep their hopes alive.
With the last match washed away by rain, the Thunders are left at the bottom of the table with just 5 points; they have 2 more matches to play, one on Saturday against the Stars, who are a much better performing team this season. In the previous game against Hurricanes, the batting line-up succumbed under pressure with players like Kallis, Blizzard, Hussey and Roy getting out for single digits; Cosgrove and Hughes were the only ones to put up some fight and take the total to a meagre 77 runs in a rain-affected contest. The bowlers did pretty well under the conditions; Sandhu and Kallis were successful with their variety bowling as they took 2 wickets each while Cummins claimed one wicket however it wasn’t enough to win the match. The batsmen had done well in the earlier games with Kallis scoring 70 off 49 against Scorchers and Blizzard and Hussey providing good support but in recent matches, their form has been declining; they will need to come out stronger if they want to keep the battle on for another day.
They too have two matches to go before the next stage and will be eager to continue with their winning momentum; chasing down 153 runs successfully against the Renegades, batsmen Pietersen and Maxwell united to post a 120-run stand for the 3rd wicket while the others fell like a pack of cards. While the latter scored a massive 66 off 44 balls, Pietersen missed his half century by 1 run; the duo had done well against the Sixers in an earlier game and look to be in good shape to take on the Thunders here. Faulkner, Hastings and Boland have been the leading wicket-takers and provide great depth to the bowling attack; Bird and Beer have also been effective in restricting the run-flow of the opposing team and will be key assets in the upcoming games. Overall, their performance has been good but need to come out with a better performance to make it to the semi-finals convincingly.
The T20 format of the game throws in a lot of surprises and the result could go either way on Saturday. Though the hosts have an uphill climb, they will certainly put their best foot forward to make a last effort; however, looking at their recent performances, Melbourne Stars clearly go in as favourites to win this match.
Melbourne Stars, 1.61 @ Bet365