Sams key to Thunder win

Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes
Monday 18 January, 08:15
TV: live on BT Sport

Thunder closing in on Top 2 finish

The Thunder have had an excellent season so far and their priority will be to secure a Top 2 finish. Fellow Sydney side, the Sixers, look certain of securing one of those two spots and a win here would just about make them favourites to finish above the Scorchers into second.

They were well beaten by the Sixers the other day and the one thing they need to do is not throw away the good starts that Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales have given them. With their batting line-up there’s no excuse for clogging things up in the middle overs and they have to avoid losing momentum once their openers get out.

They’ve played Alex Ross the last couple of matches, a more conservative run accumulator than the explosive youngster Oliver Davies and it will be interesting to see which way they go here.

Daniel Sams is having a fantastic season with both bat and ball. His 50 off 37 balls against the Sixers was what got them to a competitive total but fellow all-rounder Ben Cutting has been a bit quiet of late and could do with a game-changing cameo somewhere ahead of the Playoffs.

Hurricanes losing the plot

After a fast start to the campaign, the Hurricanes are going through a really poor run of form. They’ve now lost their last three and are second from bottom, having been right up at the top for most of the campaign.

An injury to the evergreen James Faulkner robbed them of their most potent wicket-taker but their batting has been poor, as well. Peter Handscomb, the new skipper after moving from the Stars, has had a shocking tournament with bat in hand and if he wasn’t the skipper he’d surely have been dropped by now.

Dawid Malan, the world’s top T20 batsman, has consistently made starts but has passed 50 just once in six attempts, which is below his usual standards. They’ll need plenty more from him.

Jos Buttler Dawid Malan England T20.jpg

Thunder stronger in all areas

This one’s at Canberra, where the Scorchers scored 163 against the Sixers on Saturday and where the Thunder themselves got 166 against the Sixers. Both teams lost defending that total so that tells you that chasing could be easier and that you’re likely to need at least 175 if you get first digs.

It’s 1.84/5 on the Thunder and we can make a case for that price.

They’re much better off in the table, the Hurricanes are on a poor run with three straight losses and the Thunder simply have a far better side on paper. Anything less than 170 batting first and the Hurricanes probably don’t have the bowling to defend that and if the men in purple chase, they could be chasing 180 and probably don’t have enough in-form batters to get over the line.

That may all sound a bit simplistic but we’re not talking about a 1.51/2 chance here, we’re talking about a 1.84/5 shot giving you an 80% return on your investment and all things considered, that’s a very decent price on a team who seem to be stronger than the Hurricanes in all departments.

Short too long

D’Arcy Short has had a poor season by his standards with just 195 runs in 10 games. But he’s not a man to let a poor run get into his head and affect his batting the next game. This is one of the Bash’s three or four most explosive opening batsmen we’re talking about who was the BBL’s top runscorer a couple of years ago. We’ve seen how opening the batting is your best chance of getting a big score here at Canberra and quite simply, 3/1 is too big a price on a man with his CV.

D'Arcy Short.jpg

Sure, Ben McDermott(also 3/1) has 100-odd more runs than Short this season and Malan is obviously a threat as well (13/5) but if he weren’t somewhat out of form, you’d have been lucky to get 2/1.

Besides, he did get 54 last time out so maybe he’s finding some form after all.

Sams a contender for MOM

Our ploy of going with a classy, seasoned Big Bash all-rounder paid off last week when we won on Dan Christian at 12/1 for man of the match against the Heat. A player with similar characteristics (and also a Dan) who can impress with either bat or ball is Daniel Sams, who would surely have got MOM last time out if they’d beaten the Sixers after that quickfire 50 and a couple of wickets. Any sort of repeat of that performance and a Thunder win will have him right in the mix for the match gong at 10/1.

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