Back Thunder to edge tight contest

Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder
Saturday January 9th, 08:15 GMT
Live on BT Sport

Perth scorching up the table

The Scorchers may sit second from bottom but a three-game winning run has put Ashton Turner’s team within touching distance of the playoffs. Perth have a game in hand over the teams above them and a win here on Saturday, with or without a bonus point, will take them into the top five.

The change has come as key top order batsmen such as Jason Roy and Colin Munro have found form while, against the Sixers last time out, Mitchell Marsh’s 57 outlined the Scorchers’ batting depth. The one concern is Liam Livingstone who has yet to replicate his returns from BBL 09 but, with the bowling unit restricting their opponents to 97 on Wednesday, Perth are in good overall shape.

Sydney strike at the top

A day after their cross-city rivals, the Sixers, lost to Perth, Sydney Thunder marked their first visit to the Optus Stadium with a comfortable win over Hobart. In doing so, Callum Ferguson’s side claimed top spot and their place in the postseason has seemed guaranteed for some time.

Ferguson made the early running in the race for the Golden Cap but has since been overtaken by Alex Hales and, with Usman Khawaja finding his touch, Thunder have three batsmen in the run scoring top ten. Like Perth, Sydney’s bowling attack is also in good shape but, unlike most franchises, it’s the spinners that hold the key. Seam may dominate elsewhere but Sydney’s slow men Tanveer Sangha and Chris Green have the ability to take wickets and strangle the run rate in the middle overs.

Bat first and bat big

All three BBL 10 games at the Optus Stadium have gone to the side taking first knock and that’s in keeping with last season’s overall trend. Perth have made winning totals of 185 and 183 on this surface while Thunder’s 167 was enough to beat Hobart by 39 runs. That leaves us with an average first innings score at this stage of 178 which is in excess of last year’s 169.

Interestingly, sides winning the bat flip have inserted on all three occasions to date but it must surely be a case of taking first use of the facilities. There’s been some rain around Australia in the last few days but not in Perth where another dry, warm evening is in prospect.

For the second time in four days, Perth Scorchers take on league leaders and, once again, they start as favourites. The prices are similar too with Perth available at 1.834/5, followed by Sydney Thunder at 2.1211/10.

We’ve talked about the bowlers to an extent but I suspect this will come down to whichever of the two explosive batting units fires on the day. The bat flip could also be vital with the trend for wins going with the side taking first knock. Trends have to end but so do winning streaks and maybe it’s time for Perth to regroup. I’m torn on this and would prefer to wait until after that bat flip but if pushed will back Ferguson, Hales and Khawaja to claim the points for Sydney Thunder.

I’ve covered Sydney Thunder twice so far this season and have taken a top batsman profit on Alex Hales while losing out on Callum Ferguson. England international Hales is third in the battle for the Golden Cap and that’s notable considering that he’s made two first ball ducks at BBL 10.

Statistics suggest that I should tip Hales again at 12/5 but he’s now become a shorter priced favourite while Ferguson offers some value at 7/2. Sandwiched in between is Usman Khawja at 11/4 while Sam Billings at 9/2 and Alex Ross at 5/1 are additional options. We need all of Thunder’s key batters to contribute but I’ll back the consistent captain Ferguson as the recommended bet here.

Daniel Sams is the 3/1 favourite to convert as Sydney Thunder’s top bowler but he may sit this one out as the team continues to monitor his concussion. His absence would be unfortunate but it does leave some potential value in the remainder of this market.

At the time of writing, Tanveer Sangha is the joint leading wicket taker at BBL 10 with 15 victims while his spin partner Chris Green makes the top ten with 12 scalps. Both men are available at 9/2 in Thunder’s top wicket taker market and are clearly worth considering based on those returns.

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