Sydney Thunder will encounter Hobart Hurricanes on Thursday (January 7) in the 31st match of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21. This will be the maiden face-off between the two sides in the ongoing season.
Taking about the points table, Sydney Thunder is one point ahead of Hobart Hurricanes. They were topping the chart before being defeated against Brisbane Heat which also broke their five-match winning streak. It was a disappointing loss for Thunder’s considering they had more strong team than Heats, who have lost four out of seven matches.
Here, let’s take a look at how Sydney Thunder playing XI might shape in for the fixture:
Usman Khawaja, who is playing for Sydney Thunders since 2011, has returned into the groove after being out of form in the starting matches. In the last rain-curtailed match against Melbourne Renegades, he remained not out and scored 48 runs off 34 balls in which he struck six fours. Had rain not interrupted, he would have scored his fifty of the season.
But in the last match against Brisbane Heat, he was out for a duck. The southpaw will look to bounce back stronger against Hobart Hurricanes.
The English cricketer Alex Hales, who has been sidelined by his national team after being banned two times for taking restricted drugs, has also been impressive. Against Melbourne Renegades, he supported Usman Khawaja to share 70 runs stand with him against Renegades in the first meeting. He amassed 35 runs off 21 balls, striking four fours and two sixes, to fully utilize the powerplay.
The right-hand batsman scored his first half-century of the season against Melbourne Stars. He also stitched a crucial partnership of 89 runs. Syndey Thunder will hope that he set up another match-winning partnership with his opening partner.
Callum Ferguson (c):
Sydney Thunder captain Callum Ferguson is currently the leading scorer for his side, scoring 243 runs. He scored his third half-century of this season in the last outing against Melbourne Stars. Ferguson has always been there to make amends whenever the team has lost early wickets. He will look to get runs and guide his team to victory against Hobart Hurricanes.
The 20-year-old Oliver Davies is playing his maiden BBL season but has been outstanding. His power-hitting has helped the side to accelerate the innings and took the pressure from the captain’s shoulder albeit he hasn’t stayed longer in the crease. Against Perth Scorchers, he scored 36 runs off 22 balls, striking one four and three sixes.
He played a similar knock against Melbourne Renegades, scoring 48 runs off 23 balls which included five sixes and one boundary. Davies is the find of this season and is going to be the vital cog for Sydney Thunder.
The wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings played the maiden match of this season against Melbourne Stars. However, he could not score big and was out for 6 runs. In the last match against Brisbane Heat, he scored 22 runs off 16 balls, striking two sixes in his short innings.
As the English cricketer was in 14 days quarantine, it would take some time for him to get back into the groove.
Ben Cutting, who has returned to play for Sydney Thunder, gave a massive contribution in the win against Scorchers. He scored unbeaten 29 runs off 16 balls to take the side across the line. Apart from batting, he played a huge role with the ball, giving away 16 runs in three overs while picked a crucial wicket of Colin Munro.
Against Melbourne Stars, he scored unbeaten 20 runs in just seven balls, striking three fours and one six to take the team’s total past 200. He played a similar knock against Brisbane Heat, scoring 24 runs in 15 balls which includes one four and two sixes.
Having a mammoth experience of playing T20 cricket around the world, Sydney Thunder will hope Cutting to come out as the match-winner for them in this season.
Sams, who was the match-winner for them with the bat for Sydney Thunder against Brisbane Heat, replicated the similar innings in the second meeting with Heat but that knock ended in a losing cause. He scored 37 runs off 18 balls at the staggering strike rate of 205.56. His innings included three boundaries and two giant sixes.
The all-rounder will look to stage a similar performance against Hobart Hurricanes.
The spin bowling all-rounder, who has gone too expensive in the first three matches, notched four crucial wickets against Melbourne Stars. He sent back the two openers Andre Fletcher and Marcus Stoinis early while picked the wicket of Nic Maddinson and Ben Dunk in the middle-overs. Apart from bowling, he also fired one four and one six at the end to add 12 runs to Sydney Thunder’s total.
He had also impressed with the ball against Brisbane Heat, picking one wicket while gave away only 20 runs in his four overs.
In the absence of Nathan McAndrew, Chris Tremain got the opportunity to play against Melbourne Stars in the second meeting. He went on to pick two wickets, including one wicket of Glenn Maxwell. Because of his excellent performance, he was retained against Melbourne Renegades but picked only one wicket while went too expensive. But the pacer is likely to be given a place in the playing XI.
Nathan McAndrew, who had missed two matches because of injury, returned in the playing XI against Melbourne Renegades. He picked the wicket of Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Mohammad Nabi to halt Renegades for 166 runs.
Against Brisbane Heat, he got the wicket of Joe Burns but until then he had done the damage. His performance was disappointing and will want to take the game against Hobart Hurricanes.
Tanveer Sangha, who is playing the maiden Big Bash League season, was the main architect of the Sydney Thunder’s win against Melbourne Renegades and Melbourne Stars.
Against Renegades, in his four overs, he notched four wickets, including Aaron Finch, to all-out the opposition for 80 runs. The 19-year-old will want to continue his good form throughout the season to keep Sydney Thunder in a good position.