The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips as the in-form Perth Scorchers host the table-topping Sydney Thunder.
History: Played 12: Thunder 7 V Scorchers 5
Last meeting: December 22, 2020: Thunder d Scorchers by 7 wickets
Final Thoughts: Second-last Perth Scorchers are suddenly on an impressive roll, but BBL ladder leaders Sydney Thunder present a formidable Saturday night challenge at Optus Stadium.
After losing their first three completed games (along with a no result), the Scorchers have chalked up three straight resounding victories.
Jhye Richardson (3/19) and Jason Roy (49 off 32) helped get Perth off the mark on New Year’s Eve with a seven-wicket defeat of the Strikers. Josh Inglis (72* off 41) stole the show in a 96-run demolition of the hapless Renegades last Sunday.
The Scorchers’ best so far in BBL|10 came against the Sixers on Wednesday, however. Mitch Marsh (57* off 27 and 1/12), Colin Munro (50 off 34), Andrew Tye (4/20) and Richardson (3/15) were irresistible in a stunning 86-run win, with the defending champs skittled for just 97.
Perth are now just three points off fifth spot with a game in hand.
The 6-2 Thunder bounced back from their five-wicket loss to the Heat on Monday with a 39-run victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday. Usman Khawaja (49 off 33) set a solid platform, before Alex Ross (44* off 33) and Ben Cutting (31* off 14) lifted the Thunder to a total of 5/167.
The Hurricanes were looking good until Nathan McAndrew (2/25) removed openers Ben McDermott and D’Arcy Short in the fifth over. Tanveer Sangha and Chris Green also picked up two wickets as the Thunder restricted the Hurricanes to 8/128.
Thunder draw first BBL|10 blood
These teams met prior to Christmas, with the Thunder running down the Scorchers’ total of 5/152 with three balls and seven wickets to spare.
Ex-Test duo Mitch Marsh (52* off 41) and Cameron Bancroft (34* off 26) put on an unbeaten 61-run stand for the Scorchers. But Callum Ferguson (61* off 53), Oliver Davies (36 off 22) and Ben Cutting (29* off 16) steadied the Thunder after a sluggish start to their chase.
The Scorchers’ red-hot recent performances see them head into this vital clash as $1.76 favourites. I’m prepared to back them in against the BBL’s front-runners, with Jason Roy – who has scored 21, 49, 27 and 27 since coming out of quarantine – to play a dominant role.