Two of the strongest sides in the BBL will go head-to-head as the Sydney Sixers head to Adelaide to take on the Strikers this Thursday night.
Adelaide started the season on a high with a two-game winning streak before succumbing to the Thunder on Monday night, whilst the Sixers will be looking to get themselves back in to the winners circle after falling to the Melbourne Stars at home.
The loss of skipper Moises Henriques soured Sunday night’s encounter with the Stars, and Nic Maddinson will likely fill the void left by the all-rounder at the coin toss.
LAST TIME WE MET
Nic Maddinson catapulted the Sixers to one of the most famous wins in BBL history, launching 85 from 48 balls to send his side in to the BBL|04 Final.
Highly-fancied Adelaide cruised through the regular season to finish first on the ladder, but an imposing Sixers total of 4/181 proved too much for the hosts, as Strikers campaign finish in the semi-final stage.
Doug Bollinger (3/21) led the bowlers as the Strikers were skittled for 94 in front of a record-breaking crowd of 52,633.
Johan Botha will front up against his old side for the first time after joining the Sixers ahead of the BBL|05 season.
Economical bowling coupled with the potential to do serious damage with the bat makes the former South African international a dangerous prospect for the opposition. One feels that it is only a matter of time before Botha fires on all cylinders – and what better place to do it than his old stomping ground.
Adelaide arguably boasts two of the best Twenty20 batsmen in world cricket in Brad Hodge and Mahela Jayawardene, meaning the magenta bowling attack have a big task ahead of them.
Hodge blasted an unbeaten 56* in the Strikers’ first clash of BBL|05 and backed it up by top-scoring again for his side on Monday against the Thunder, while the Sri Lankan great crafted a match-winning 42 in the side’s second hit-out.
Nic Maddinson has showed glimpses of what he is capable of in the Sixers’ first three games of the season, but to date has only posted a top score of 25 in BBL|05.
Maddinson is likely to assume the captaincy reigns against the Strikers, and the added responsibility will see the number three batsman take his game to another level. He’s shown glimpses of brilliances so far in BBL|05 without stamping his authority, and the Strikers will be on notice knowing well and good what the left-hander is capable of.
Strikers batsman Alex Ross has captured the attention of rival players and supporters alike after smashing 65 (31) and 38 (29) in Adelaide’s opening two matches. Dubbed the “sweep-ologist” by Channel Ten’s commentary panel, he’s got a simple yet effective game plan at the crease, and also is a superstar in the field.
Ross’ sheer match-winning potential cannot be denied, and the blazing right-hander looms as a key wicket for the Sixers bowling attack.
Like the Sixers, the Strikers possess a number of bowling threats. Alongside the reliable pairing of Kane Richardson, the signing of England International Adil Rashid was a shrewd move, and one made no-doubt easier given his connection with Head Coach Jason Gillespie.
Rashid is, in all likeliness, the best leg-spinner in the competition – and no mug with the bat either – and could prove a game-changer.
For the Sixers, we need to start talking about the form of Michael Lumb. He’s the Sixers leading run-scorer this season to-date whilst also is tracking way in front of his career strike-rate and is up over 150 – the man is in the zone.
The big Englishman has formed a career with the Magenta men by being one of the best support players in the league whilst rarely grabbing the headlines. He’s already top-scored for us twice in four matches, whilst two of his dismissals have been shown to be unlucky per DRS, so should the ball bounce his way on Thursday night he could be sending the Kookaburra flying to all parts once more.
The Sixers come in to the clash off the back of a five-wicket defeat at the hands of the Stars, and will be raring to go ahead Thursday night’s blockbuster.
Prior to that, the magenta outfit blew away their opposition to collect back-to-back wins against Hobart and the Renegades.
The Strikers were on a roll in the early stages of BBL|05, having collected two wins on the trot before a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the Thunder on Monday night. They carry the underdog tag well, and we be pushing hard to turn around their fortunes and bring in the New Year with a win.
STORY FILED FOR THE SYDNEY SIXERS