Cricket: Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers BBL Preview

Sydney Thunder v Adelaide Strikers 

Big Bash League Knockout, January 23

Melbourne Cricket Ground (8.15am UK)

The winner of this Knockout tie advances to Wednesday’s Challenger tie, where they will face the loser of Saturday’s Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers tie in an affective semi-final.

The winner of the Scorchers v Sixers clash advances straight through to Friday’s final.

Outsiders Adelaide look good to continue remarkable run

The Thunder are marginal favourites at 8/11 with William Hill to win Sunday’s clash at the MCG, or the ‘G as the locals call it, while the buoyant Strikers are 6/5 outsiders with Betfred.

Rewind a week or so and I would have had no hesitation in saying ‘Thunder should win that’. Now, it is an entirely different matter.

The Strikers have won five games on the bounce, including the opening game of the finals against Hobart Hurricanes.

Boosted by the return of Test batting duo Alex Carey and Travis Head, English overseas replacement Ian Cockbain has hit the ground running and their bowling looks very potent at the moment, led by the evergreen captain Peter Siddle.

Seamer Siddle is the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 27 from 15 games.

Thunder, meanwhile, lost two of their last three group fixtures. Even though in-form Test star Usman Khawaja is available, they will miss key English overseas duo Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood due to international duty in the Caribbean.

I would be fancying the Strikers to advance once more and with it gain revenge for two group stage defeats against Thunder.

G-Man Sandhu’s recent record with the ball is hard to ignore

Tall Sydney Thunder fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu, nicknamed G-Man, has been in red hot form with the ball of late. 

In his last six games, starting on January 6, he has taken 14 wickets, bowling with the new ball and at the death.

He has struck at least twice in five of those games, including a hat-trick against Perth Scorchers when taking 4-22 and then 3-33 last time out against Melbourne Renegades at the MCG.

Sandhu, the first man to take three hat-tricks in Australian domestic cricket, is an appealing 10/3 with bet365 to be the Thunder top wicket-taker – second favourite behind 13/5 shot Daniel Sams. 

Sandhu would be my choice on current form.