Sydney Thunder, who are currently stationed at the number second position in the points table, will take on Hobart Hurricanes on January 18 (Monday) at Manuka Oval in Canberra. This will be the 43rd match of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21.
Sydney Thunder have won against Hobart Hurricanes in the first meeting, which was their third-last match. After putting an undaunting 167 runs target, Thunder halted Hurricanes for just 128 runs at the loss of two wickets.
Here, let’s take a look at Sydney Thunder’s predicted XI:
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 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. Against Hobart Hurricanes, he again fell short of one run to register 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, 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 one of the leading scorers for his side, scoring 247 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 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 hasn’t scored big. In the last match, he scored 15 runs off 15 balls. The English cricketer hasn’t found the rhythm so far which makes Sydney Thunder’s middle-order a bit weak.
Ben Cutting, who has returned to play for Sydney Thunder, has given massive contributions with bat and ball in past 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.
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.
In the last match, he produced a similar knock, scoring explosive 50 runs off 37 balls.
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.
Adam Milne, who has played so far seven matches, has not been a constant wicket-taker but has been economical. In the last rain-curtailed match, he bowled only two overs but could not pick a wicket.
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. He redeemed against Hobart Hurricanes as he went on to pick two wickets.
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.