The Sydney Sixers will find out their opponents in the Big Bash League final on Monday when the Challenger takes place in Carrara as the Brisbane Heat welcome the Adelaide Strikers to that part of the world.
This is the second chance for the Brisbane Heat to make the final while Adelaide will be looking to do it at the first and only opportunity that they have. Both have played good cricket recently so we should be in for a great contest.
The Brisbane Heat were the best team in the regular season but they joined a growing list of teams around the world to find out that the early stage record counts for nothing in these franchise tournaments as they bungled their first chance to reach the final. The one thing that the early form does do though is give a second chance to make the final and were the Heat not to take this one you would have to say this will ultimately result in a disappointing campaign.
The problem Brisbane are having is that they have lost a lot of talent between the end of the regular season and now and the second string players didn’t get much game time and are coming in cold. Those losses have tended to come with the bat though. Their bowling has largely been unaffected and that unit will need to carry them to the final but if someone can have a day out with the bat in this match it would certainly help.
The Adelaide Strikers did it the other way around. They flew home with a wet sail in the regular season and then when it was do or die in the Knockout they kept on with their good form. That win in the Knockout came against the defending champions Perth Scorchers and there is no better form guide in the Big Bash League than that so you would have to think that Adelaide are certainly playing well enough to win this match.
Much like their opponents in this Challenger, Adelaide lost some big players at the end of the regular season, including their leading bowler Jamie Overton but that didn’t stop them from beating the Perth Scorchers. The Adelaide batting struggled initially in Perth but they got up to a competitive score and then defended it brilliantly. That is something else which will give them confidence as Matt Short failed but the Strikers still won. That is no bad thing.
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Xavier Bartlett was the leading wicket taker for the Brisbane Heat in the regular season and he has been called into the Australia ODI squad next month as a result of that. The Heat need him to show why he is in there here first.
Cameron Boyce has bowled brilliantly in this tournament so far and if he has another big night in him here then he could lead the Strikers to the final which would be on a ground where Adelaide would like their chances.
I think we’re in for a good game here and a competitive one at that but the Brisbane Heat will be well aware what carrying momentum into the postseason can do for a team as they had it last year and made the final from it and I think that the Adelaide Strikers might suffer the same luxury. In truth, there isn’t much between these two sides but Adelaide are the outsiders and if I want to be on either of them it would be the Strikers.
If there is a difference between these two teams it would be that the Strikers have Matt Short, who is probably going to be the best player on the field, in good form while Jake Weatherald is in good touch too and D’Arcy Short has enough class to come alive. I fear much more for the Brisbane batting. The other thing I like about the Strikers is they can bowl 12 overs of quality spin should they wish to and Australian batters don’t play spin well, especially inexperienced ones like the Heat have one or two of. Brisbane have had a great campaign but they might have lost a senior player too many at the wrong time so I’ll take Adelaide in this one.
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