Thunder v Strikers
Sunday, 13 January
Spotless Stadium – 2:45pm local (2:15pm ACDT)
Head to head
Adelaide Strikers: 6
Sydney Thunder: 3
The Strikers extended their perfect New Year’s Eve record with a 20-run victory over the Thunder in their first home win of BBL|08.
A returning Peter Siddle put the squeeze on the visitors with figures of 3/20 while Rashid Khan bravely played on despite the recent loss of his father to take two important wickets.
Opener Alex Carey (59 from 40 balls) and stand-in captain Colin Ingram (75 off 43) did the bulk of the damage with the bat as the defending champions closed 2018 on a winning note.
Sunday’s clash will say a lot about the depth of both squads.
The Strikers regain speedster Billy Stanlake but are still missing Peter Siddle and Alex Carey to Australian ODI duties, while the Thunder have bid farewell to England duo Joe Root and Jos Buttler, who remains the leading runscorer of the tournament.
Former Striker Chris Jordan and New Zealand batsman Anton Devcich have come into the Thunder lineup with New South Wales wicketkeeper Jay Lenton also set to debut for the hosts on Sunday.
The Strikers have won the last four matches between the two teams, including two huge victories by 77 and 53 runs back in 2017.
But there’s little separating the two teams on the BBL|08 table such is the evenness of this summer’s competition.
The second-placed Strikers boast four wins from seven starts while the Thunder are only one win further back, yet sit down in sixth place. Neither team can afford a slip up as we enter the business end of the season.
Striker to watch – Ben Laughlin
The BBL’s all-time leading wicket-taker returned in style in Friday night’s dominant victory over the Melbourne Stars at Adelaide Oval.
Laughlin was back to his best with outstanding figures of 3/19, utilising his deft change of pace and pinpoint accuracy to undo his opponents.
The Thunder pack plenty of power in their batting lineup, including captain Shane Watson, South Australian Callum Ferguson and young gun Jason Sangha, meaning Laughlin’s experience with the ball could prove key in Sunday’s clash at Spotless Stadium.
Danger man – Shane Watson
The Thunder captain has been below his best in BBL|08 but cannot be underestimated at the top of the order.
Watson was his side’s top runscorer last season with 331 runs from 10 matches at a strike rate of 139 but hasn’t passed 28 this summer from seven starts.
The Strikers will be keen to keep the veteran quiet on Sunday afternoon.
Travis Head (c)
Shane Watson (c)