Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers
Big Bash League Qualifier, January 22
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne (8.15am UK)
The BBL big guns go head to head in a blockbuster in Melbourne.
Not only have these two sides shared 20 victories in this season’s Big Bash (Perth 11, Sydney nine), but they have both won three titles apiece in the competition’s 10-year history.
The Sixers are the reigning back-to-back champions, while the Scorchers finished top of this season’s ladder by five points.
As a result, they have earned the right to take home advantage for a clash which sees the winner advance directly to the final. The loser gets a second chance next week.
Unfortunately, Coronavirus restrictions prevents the Scorchers from playing in Perth, so they have nominated Marvel.
This season, they have won all three games there so far and have also beaten the Sixers twice on the Gold Coast and at Coffs Harbour.
The Sixers will be able to call upon Nathan Lyon’s services following Ashes duty as they bid to reverse that trend.
Philippe back on course following a lean run
Sydney opener Josh Philippe has had a decent tournament, scoring 424 runs in 13 innings, including four fifties with a best of 99 not out. It is the third best haul of anyone in this season’s BBL.
Three of those fifties came in the first four games of the competition – 83, 72 and that unbeaten 99.
He then went on a run of posting three ducks in six innings.
However, in the last three games, the signs have been encouraging that he is returning to form at just the right time, posting scores of 57, 22 and 18.
He is playing against his home city, with him playing state cricket alongside many of the Scorchers for Western Australia.
If any extra motivation was needed on top of advancing the Sixers’ cause, that is it.
With William Hill, he is the 11/4 favourite to be the Sixers’ top run-scorer in the match.
Josh Inglis also due for Scorchers
The Leeds-born wicketkeeper batter has had a bit of nightmare Australian summer, and he is certainly due a big score. This could be his day.
Since returning from the the T20 World Cup in early November, where he was a member of the victorious Australian squad without playing, he has posted five single-figure scores in seven games, including a four-day game against England Lions. In all, he hasn’t bettered 23.
But he has so much quality, is highly rated by the likes of Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, the latter his coach in last year’s Hundred with London Spirit.
Here, rather than picking him out as Perth’s top run-scorer, which could be beaten by someone like a Mitch Marsh even if Inglis has a good day, I quite like the look of bet365’s 4/1 on him to score a fifty in the match.