The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips as the Sixers and Thunder square off in the season’s second Sydney Smash.
History: Played 21: Sixers 14 V Thunder 7
Last meeting: December 26, 2021: Sixers d Thunder by 30 runs (DLS method) at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: As the BBL|11 regular season winds down, the battle for playoffs seeds heats up. This Sydney Smash could have a major bearing on the post-season placings. The 8-4 Sydney Thunder are currently in second spot, four points clear of the third-placed, 7-3-1 Sydney Sixers.
The Sixers won a 16-over-a-side clash at Spotless on Boxing Day. Daniel Hughes (50 off 26) and Dan Christian (41* off 17) produced outstanding knocks to steer the Sixers to 4/168. Jason Sangha (47 off 30) and Daniel Sams (28 off 11) were the only Thunder batters to fire. Hayden Kerr (3/29) was a standout as the Thunder were dismissed in the final over.
The Thunder subsequently went on a sizzling six-match winning streak, culminating in rollicking victories over the Renegades (129 runs) last Saturday and the Hurricanes (9 wickets) on Monday. Daniel Sams smashed an unbeaten 98 off 44 balls against the ’Gades, while English opener Alex Hales (63 off 28 and 80* off 56) roared into form with brilliant back-to-back knocks.
The Thunder’s run was halted by a 9-run loss to the ’Canes on Thursday. Chasing 178 for victory, the Thunder were in good shape but slumped after Hales (38 off 17) and Jason Sangha (31 off 19) departed.
Sixers put the brakes on recent slide
The depleted Sixers bounced back from consecutive losses to the BBL-leading Scorchers with a 45-run victory over the Renegades on Tuesday. Skipper Moises Henriques (49 off 35) top-scored in the Sixers’ total of 6/150. But Ben Dwarshuis (5/26) was a resounding Player of the Match as the ’Gades were skittled for 105.
The Sixers will be hoping for a return to form from Josh Philippe. The explosive opener produced three 70-plus scores in his first four innings of BBL|11 but has been dismissed for a duck in three of his last four.
The Thunder’s batting line-up has been on fire in recent weeks. Hales’ belated surge has negated Sam Billings’ call-up to the England Test side. In what shapes as one of the season’s top showdowns, the Thunder are the value pick as slight underdogs.