The Big Bash League continues on Saturday when another team gets their campaign underway when the Adelaide Strikers enter the competition. They play host to the Brisbane Heat in the first game of the season at the Adelaide Oval.
The Heat have already got their season underway and did so in emphatic fashion when they demolished the Melbourne Stars in the opening game of the competition and Adelaide will look to emulate them in this one.
The Adelaide Strikers missed out of the playoffs last season when they could only come in seventh of eight in the regular season. Their immediate aim will be to challenge for a spot in the postseason once again and then from there they will hope to take the title down once again. I think they were the team most affected by international call ups and things last season so they will be hoping to have no such issues this term.
The big issue for the Strikers is that Rashid Khan has pulled out of the competition with a back injury which is going to put a bit of pressure on Cameron Boyce and Matt Short to deliver the goods. Peter Siddle has been a mainstay of the bowling attack and he has left for pastures new. The marquee signings for the Strikers are D’Arcy Short and Jamie Overton so the batting looks to be strongly stocked but the questions come over whether they have enough with the ball.
The Brisbane Heat got their campaign off to the perfect start on Thursday when they cruised past the Melbourne Stars. They made full use of a very good pitch with the bat and it was evident from an early stage that they had more than enough runs on the board and then when they had the ball in hand they held their nerve when some of the stronger Stars batters were looking like they might threaten to get on top of them.
One issue that the Heat might have here is that their two Test stars have left for the Test side which means that Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne, who played without having a massive impact on the opening game, will be missing for this one so Brisbane will need to call deeper into their batting resources, especially with Jimmy Nielsen and Matt Renshaw away with the Prime Minister XI. You would imagine that the Heat will have a competitive edge on their opponents here though.
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D’Arcy Short seemed to fade away in the last couple of seasons for the Hobart Hurricanes but he has been given the chance to revive his Big Bash career and Jason Gillespie has confirmed he will open the batting. This ground should suit him perfectly.
Colin Munro showed his class in the opening match when he finished 99* and now he has been given the Brisbane Heat captaincy with Usman Khawaja away on international duty. He’ll be looking to pick up where he left off on Thursday.
We’ve seen a couple of good pitches in the tournament so far and I don’t see any reason why we won’t get another one here and so I’m expecting to see some sixes in this match. The Adelaide Strikers have reinforced their batting with a couple of clean hitters in D’Arcy Short and Jamie Overton along with the likes of Matt Short, Adam Hose, Chris Lynn and Harry Nielsen who can hit a decent ball, especially on these shorter square boundaries.
Brisbane Heat showed what they have to offer with the bat on Thursday and it might be that Max Bryant gets shoved up to the top of the order to open the batting in which case the likelihood of big shots from the Heat will only grow. There is more than enough batting depth in their unit that they can play with freedom at the top of the order and when you pair these two sides together I expect the sixes to flow. A line of 10.5 sixes doesn’t look big enough to me here.
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