Strikers v Scorchers
Saturday 13 January
Traeger Park, Alice Springs – 2.40pm local (3.40pm ACDT)
Head to head
Adelaide Strikers: 5
Perth Scorchers: 5
The Scorchers were too hot to handle at home in a convincing 48-run win against the Strikers on their way to the BBL|06 title.
After setting an imposing 198 to win, Adelaide stumbled at the start of its innings to be 3/15 after four overs.
Former captain Brad Hodge gave the visitors some hope through the middle overs with an impressive 56-run stand from just 33 balls, while Kane Richardson showed his prowess with the bat with 45 from 28.
But Perth’s bowling attack proved too powerful led by firebrand fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who finished with figures of 3/33.
Saturday’s match is a massive occasion for the cricket community as a whole, but also in the context of the BBL|07 season.
The Strikers and Scorchers are first and second on the BBL ladder respectively and a win would all-but guarantee a semi-final spot for either side. On the other hand, a loss could leave either team vulnerable to the chasing pack, with just one win currently separating first and fifth spot on the BBL table.
The unique conditions in Alice Springs also presents a different challenge to the players. Will it influence match strategy? Who will adjust best?
The victor will not only take home the valuable two points, but will also earn the Jason Gillespie Trophy in honour of the current Strikers coach, who was the first man of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent to play Test cricket for Australia.
Striker to watch – Jake Weatherald
Weatherald could play a key role in the maiden BBL match played in his home state.
The 23-year-old is no stranger to Traeger Park. Originally from Darwin, Weatherald’s stunning display for the West End Redbacks in the 2015-16 Sheffield Shield Final in Alice Springs helped him cement his spot in South Australia’s side.
Fans haven’t seen the best of the lethal left-hander so far in BBL|07, but the 23-year-old showed some promising signs in Adelaide’s convincing win over the Stars on Tuesday.
The Strikers will be looking for someone to stand up in the absence of Travis Head, who is away with Australia’s ODI squad, and Weatherald could be the one to pick up the slack.
Danger man – Mitchell Johnson
Former Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson remains one of the most intimidating bowlers in the BBL.
At his best, Johnson can rip right through any batting order. He spearheaded Perth’s three-wicket win over the Melbourne Renegades late last year with 3/13 in a man-of-the-match display.
The 36-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down and will be crucial to a Scorchers bowling attack missing BBL|07 leading wicket-taker Andrew Tye and emerging quick Jhye Richardson.
Perth has added Englishman Tim Bresnan to bolster its bowling line-up in the interim. The 32-year-old, who claimed 72 wickets in 23 Tests for England, took 2/38 in his first match of BBL|07 against the Thunder on Thursday night.
Colin Ingram (c)
Alex Carey (wk)
Adam Voges (c)
Cameron Bancroft (wk)