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BBL Playoffs Tips & Preview – Challenger: Sixers V Strikers

The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips as Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers square off for the remaining spot in Friday’s Final. 

BBL Tips – Sydney Sixers V Adelaide Strikers

19:25 (AEDT), Wed 26th Jan @ Sydney Cricket Ground

History: Played 16: Sixers 10 V Strikers 6

Last meeting: January 17, 2022: Strikers d Sixers by 8 wickets (15 balls remaining) at Adelaide Oval

Final Thoughts: The market is struggling split the Challenger combatants, with two-time defending champs Sydney Sixers and the streaking Adelaide Strikers near-equal favourites to win their way through to a Final showdown with Perth Scorchers.

The second-placed Sixers are regrouping from Saturday’s heavy Qualifier defeat to the Scorchers. The ladder leaders powered to 3/189, with Dan Christian (0/14 off 2 overs) the only Sixers bowler to go for less than 9 an over. In a disastrous chase, the Sixers slumped to 7/55 in the 12th over with Moises Henriques (17 off 30) the only batter in the top seven to make more than 7. Ben Dwarshuis (66 off 28) added a late flourish from No.9 but the Sixers still fell 48 runs short.

Strikers’ surge continues

The fourth placed Strikers – who won only two of their first 10 games – are now on a six-match winning streak. They held off the Hurricanes in a 22-run Eliminator win as Matthew Short (89 off 48), Alex Carey (67 off 45) and Peter Siddle (4/32) stepped up.

Adelaide then won a Knockout thriller against the Thunder on Sunday by 6 runs. Ian Cockbain, who has only been in the Strikers’ line-up for five games, top-scored with 65 off 38 as they set a target of 185. Siddle (2/41) was expensive but took two match-turning wickets in the 17th over, before Harry Conway (2/33) clinched the victory with wickets on consecutive balls in the final over.

The addition of Test stars Carey and Travis Head has provided the Strikers with a crucial edge. Conversely, the Sixers were left reeling by a controversial decision that ruled Steve Smith ineligible for the playoffs.

Season series split but Strikers snag recent bragging rights

The Sixers chalked up a four-wicket win over the Strikers at the SCG on December 21. Sean Abbott (3/24) chewed through the Strikers’ top order and Christian (3/8) stymied a middle-order rally as the visitors struggled to 8/147, Thomas Kelly (41 off 34 top-scoring). Jordan Silk (36 off 24) and Abbott (19* off 10) led a streaky chase, getting the Sixers home with four balls to spare.

But the Strikers’ late-season charge includes an 8-wicket thrashing of the Sixers at Adelaide Oval last week. Justin Avendano (52 off 29) came in at No.6 to steer the Sixers to 7/161 after Fawad Ahmed (3/16) tore up the top order. Opener Matt Renshaw (50 off 31) and first drop Cockbain (71* off 42) ensured the Strikers got home comfortably with 15 balls remaining.

The Sixers are laced with experienced match-winners who have produced pockets of blistering form this season: Josh Philippe, Henriques, Christian, Abbott, Dwarshuis, Silk and Hayden Kerr. Their playoff record in recent years is also another trump card.

But the Strikers’ momentum is irresistible. Their big names and role-players and firing at the right time and I like their chances of steaming into their first Final since taking out the 2017-18 title.

Tip: Result – Strikers @ $1.93

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