On January 24 (Sunday), Sydney Thunder will face Adelaide Strikers for the first time in the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21. This will be the 50th match of the season and will be hosted at Strikers home ground, Adelaide Oval.
Syndey Thunder have almost locked their place in the playoffs considering they are currently stationed at the number third position in the points table. Also, they are coming off a thumping victory against Sydney Sixers after putting the highest total, 223 runs, of this season. To maintain their spot, they will have to win the match against Strikers.
Here, let’s take a look at how Sydney Thunder’s 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 11 matches, he has scored 264 runs at the strike rate of 134.31. But he hasn’t got a half-century in his name. Against Adelaide strikers, he will like to get his maiden half-century of this season.
The English cricketer Alex Hales, who has been sidelined by his national team after being banned two times for taking restricted drugs, is the highest scorer for Syndey Thunder. In 11 matches, he has scored 462 runs at the strike rate of 165.59. He also scored a powerful maiden century (110 off 56 balls) against Syndey Sixers to prove his case to the England team.
Thunder will hope that he set up another match-winning partnership with his opening partner.
Callum Ferguson (c):
Sydney Thunder captain Callum Ferguson is also one of the leading scorers for his side, scoring 312 runs. He scored his third half-century of this season 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 Adelaide Strikers.
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 scored big against Hobart Hurricanes but it ended up in the losing cause. In the last match as well, he accelerated the innings with his power-hitting and amassed 33 runs off 21 balls.
He will look to play a similar knock against Adelaide Strikers.
Ben Cutting, who has returned to play for Sydney Thunder, has given massive contributions with bat and ball in all the wins.
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. In the last match as well, he smacked two fours and three sixes to score 33 off just 14 balls.
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.
The spin bowling all-rounder Chriss Green’s best performance has come against Melbourne Stars. He gave an overall contribution to guide his side to victory. He sent back the two openers Andre Fletcher and Marcus Stoinis early while picked the wickets 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.
As Daniel Sams has been ruled out of three matches after sustaining an injury in the last match against Hobart Hurricanes, Chris Tremain is likely to come back in the playing XI. He has played three matches this season but was benched after being expensive. The pacer is expected to play against Sydney Sixers although he could not fill the gap of Sam’s batting prowess but, the franchise will expect him to give breakthroughs.
Adam Milne, who has so far played eight matches, has not been a constant wicket-taker but has been economical. Against Hobart Hurricanes, he gave away 36 runs in his four overs and picked up only a wicket. As a result, Sydney Thunder could not defend their target and ended up on a losing side. He will look to bounce back stronger against Adelaide Strikers.
Nathan McAndrew, who had missed two matches because of injury, returned in the playing XI against Melbourne Renegades. In the last match against Sydney Sixers, he went too expensive as he was hit for 10 boundaries. Overall, he leaked 57 runs in his four overs while didn’t pick a wicket.
Against Adelaide Strikers, he will have to give big breakthroughs to guide Sydney Thunder to victory.
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. He is the highest wicket-taker of the side, picking 20 wickets in 12 matches at the economy rate of 7.86.