Adelaide Strikers v Brisbane Heat
Friday 25 January, 08:15
TV: live on Sky Sports
Strikers strong with ball
Strikers squeezed into the play-offs despite losing their final match of the group stage and ending with a 7-7 record. Their strength and weakness is crystal clear. With an average economy rate for the tournament of 7.7 they are inferior only to Perth Scorchers with the ball. But a run rate of 7.6 makes them comfortably the worst batting unit.
They might have solved the latter, however, by shuffling their order. Using Alex Carey and Jake Weatherald as fast-starting openers is long overdue and the return of Travis Head has bolstered the middle-order.
Rashid Khan is unavailable, of course, but Michael Neser has returned from Australia duty and alongside Peter Siddle and Wes Agar Strikers boast a brilliant pace attack
Possible XI Carey, Weatherald, Salt, Head, Gibson, Renshaw, Neser, Briggs, Siddle, W Agar, O’Connor
Heat bubbling nicely
Heat are the surprise package this season. On individual talent alone, they should not have had enough to make it into the top five. But due to a lack of nous and work ethic at the Stars and Hurricanes (shame on you) respectively, they are in the mix.
And good for them. Instead of relying on big names, they have developed good plans and are extremely competitive. Their victory over Perth Scorchers in their final match, which they had to win, bears testament to that.
With bat and ball they are solid, rather than spectacular. And that is a major improvement on previous incarnations. Marnus Labuschagne, a run machine, adds much-needed batting power to a line-up which has been overly reliant on Chris Lynn. He has also proved himself as a genuine all-rounder claiming three wickets against Perth. Morne Morkel and Mitch Swepson are dangerous with pace and spin respectively.
Possible XI Lynn, Bryant, Labuschagne, Denly, Gregory, Peirson, Wildermuith, Steketee, Swepson, Morkel
The Gabba is a pretty fair wicket for bat and ball. There is no toss bias to get excited about, 55% of sides batting first bust 160 and the average score batting first is 163. Twice 186 have been chased at the venue and the wickets holds true and Heat have twice chased impressively this term ( 174 and 165) to beat Thunder and Sixers respectively.
Strikers beat heat earlier in the tournament on this ground, defending 150 by just two runs. Given the personality of the two teams, another close encounter cannot be ruled out. It may pay to lay 150 and 160 or more first up. The weather forecast is good.
Strikers have edge
The match odds market is struggling to split the pair - Heat are 1.9420/21 with Strikers at 2.0421/20. One suspects both teams will be keen to bat first.
Strikers won both the head-to-heads this term (making it three in a row) and man for man they appear to have the edge. The crushing defeat last time out against the Heat, who were razed for 115 after conceding 197, could be significant.
A likely attritional contest makes Sportsbook’s 7/4 that no fifty is scored although on win rate at the venue in the last two years we can’t call in a wrong price.
Chris Lynn has an incredible top-bat record this term. He has won seven times in ten so it is no surprise to see Sportsbook go as short as 2/1. He has a poor record against Strikers, though, averaging 17. It is tempting to go go against the tide and bet under 26.5 runs with Sportsbook at 20/21. He has busted the mark once in his last five against Strikers.
Labuschagne is 16/5 and his big-game temperament stands him in good stead. We note the 8/1 for man of the match.
Carey, who smashed a ton in that destruction of the Heat, is 12/5 jolly for top Strikers bat. Weatherald is 3/1.
Wes Agar is now 11/4 jolly for top Strikers bowler. He has been brilliant all term and Sportsbook have finally caught up with him. We had hoped his staple 4/1 would have been around - particularly with Neser returning - but no luck.
The Bash title contenders analysed on Cricket…Only Bettor