The eagerly anticipated debut of AB de Villiers in the Big Bash League takes place on Tuesday when his Brisbane Heat side host the Adelaide Strikers in a match everyone is looking forward to for very obvious reasons.
The South African has plenty of hype around him ahead of his debut and all eyes will be on him to see how he delivers, but the Strikers are not a side to be underestimated so this one is beauty set up to be a great game.
Despite running up three wins on the trot heading into the match at Perth over the weekend, defeat there and results going against them over the remainder of the matches, they find themselves outside of the playoff spots going into this one. Therefore they are in need of a victory here if they are going to maintain control of their own destiny, which is something everyone craves as we begin to see the finish line of the regular season in sight.
The strength of their side this season has been with the bat. Generally when they have batted well they have won matches, so they will need to make sure they continue to do that. What they won’t want to do is put in another bowling performance like they did in Perth, where admittedly they were under the gun, but nevertheless they were not at their best. The other thing they can’t do is think they will automatically win because AB de Villiers is around.
It was a much better weekend for the Adelaide Strikers. Their emphatic win over the Melbourne Renegades moved them up into fourth place and they will go up one more spot if they come out on top here. It also did their net run rate the world of good to, so heading to Queensland, the Adelaide outfit are in a pretty decent place. They can’t afford to rest on their laurels though because should the Heat win this, they will go back above the Strikers.
Adelaide have largely got through via the ability of their bowlers so far in the competition, but with their batting coming to the party in the previous match, and some key players still to come back into the side, the champions of two seasons ago look to be timing their run to the finish line nicely. This will be a good test of their credentials and if they can come out on top here, they can start thinking about getting the best spot for the playoffs that they can.
AB de Villiers is not the only overseas star making his debut for the Brisbane Heat in this match. Mujeeb Ur Rahman is back for a second stint, which begins here. They have replaced Tom Banton and Zahir Khan.
Understandably given the comfortable nature of their victory against the Melbourne Renegades, the Adelaide Strikers have named an unchanged squad for this match, and unless conditions dictate it, they are likely to employ the same starting XI as well.
I’m not normally a backer of either side on this ground because it can be difficult to defend but I’m quite keen on the Adelaide Strikers here. They are the better balanced side of the two in my eyes and probably the better team as well. The added attraction to the Strikers in this match is that their odds appear to be greatly enhanced, most likely due to the fact that AB de Villiers is in town. That doesn’t automatically mean the Heat will win though.
Adelaide have the bowling to keep de Villiers quiet with Rashid Khan likely to come on as soon as he gets to the crease. If the Strikers can get stuck in early, and their new ball attack is pretty good, then we’ve seen throughout the tournament that there isn’t a lot of brains in the Brisbane batting. Adelaide are much more sensible. Travis Head has slotted back in perfectly and they look overpriced to me. Since Christmas, the Heat have won three out of five matches but two of them were over a Hobart side full of problems and the other was in a match shortened because of rain. That doesn’t jump out as a side who should be odds on to beat the Strikers, who have still only lost to the Sydney Sixers this term. I’ll take Adelaide here.
Back Adelaide Strikers to beat Brisbane Heat for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with Bet365