Scorchers vs Sixers (Optus Stadium)
Sunday 13th January, 6.35pm WST
With the Sixers sitting in the top four and the Scorchers bottom, you would think picking a winner would be straight forward.
The Sixers were not expected to challenge for this year’s title but their bowling has been a highlight with Tom Curran, Steve O’Keefe and Sean Abbott all amongst the top wicket-takers. Each played an important part in restricting a powerful Strikers batting line-up to a score their batsmen were able to chase down for a surprise victory on the weekend. Joe Denly was outstanding and he was ably supported by Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques and Josh Philippe.
Unfortunately for the Sixers, Joe Denly returns to England so a batting line-up adjustment is necessary. There is talk of James Vince being a late overseas replacement but I believe young Philippe may be promoted to open the batting. This exciting prospect has opened before and is a natural stroke-player, well suited to taking advantage of the field restrictions in place during the power play. He is experienced with the bouncy, quick WA wickets, which often prove difficult for the opposition.
The Scorchers may be on the bottom, however they will come back to Optus Stadium full of confidence after a great win against the Stars. Another positive start by Cam Bancroft (59) and Michael Klinger (29) set the basis for a comfortable run chase. Without the Marsh’s, Behrendorf, Richardson and possibly Ashton Turner (international duties) the success of this opening combination becomes vital. Hilton Cartwright must be given more responsibility and respond accordingly, as must Ashton Agar and David Willey. Sam Whiteman may be called upon or uncontracted Jarrod Morgan could get a surprise start if Turner doesn’t return.
A quick Optus Stadium pitch will suit the Scorchers attack. Andrew Tye (4/18) was outstanding against the Stars and Nathan Coulter-Nile has proven really effective in taking early wickets in the power play. Either Matt Kelly or Cameron Green could replace Usman Qadir, and Willey loves the stadium bowling conditions. With a weakened batting line-up the Scorchers bowlers will yet again be asked to perform above the call of duty.
A full-strength Scorchers would be short-priced favourites, but with all the outs the contest is now a toss of the coin. The Perth pitch has been a lot quicker and more difficult than those in the East and I think the advantage the Scorchers have with playing at home will give them a slight edge. Scorchers to win!
Winner: Scorchers ($1.85)
Scorchers Most Runs: Ashton Turner ($4)
Sixers Most Runs: Josh Philippe ($15)
Scorchers Most Wickets: Andrew Tye ($3.20)
Sixers Most Wickets: Sean Abbott ($3.50)
Odds correct as at 11am, 11th January 2019.Market Market