It is an early start to the Big Bash League action on Friday so that the action is done and dusted before the Test match begins so there is a morning date for the Adelaide Strikers and the Perth Scorchers.
Perth Scorchers will seal top spot in the table if they can find victory in this match but the contest is much more important for the Adelaide Strikers who are locked in a three-way battle for the last playoff spot and need something from this game to move back into fifth.
This is a big couple of days in the season of the Adelaide Strikers. In many ways there is a case to be made that this is a free hit for them because their match against the Melbourne Stars on Saturday is a game they dare not lose regardless of what happens here. What a win here would do is pile the pressure on the Stars to beat them and that wouldn’t be the worst position in the world for the Strikers to be in given the hectic run of fixtures they have.
The Strikers go into this match on a high after effectively keeping their season alive with a win over the Brisbane Heat on Wednesday and if they can build on that with another couple of solid displays they could yet see their season extended beyond the regular season. One issue they are going to have to contend with is the lack of Rashid Khan and that might well mean their batting needs to come to the fore.
The Perth Scorchers have blazed a trail at the top of the competition for most of the season and they will confirm a finish in that spot should they win this match. That would be some achievement for a side who have only played one match at their home ground in the entire campaign but it is even more special when you consider that arguably their two best batters in this format have missed at least half of the campaign on international duty.
Those two players are expected back for the final and with the Scorchers having not struggled with the ball at any stage this season you sense that is going to make them the team to beat assuming nothing unforeseen such as Covid doesn’t get in their way. The only question mark over the Scorchers is we have seen teams dominate the regular season before only to come unstuck in the playoffs because they have been playing less competitive matches in the build up to it. I sense that won’t be the case with this Perth side though.
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Adelaide Strikers are now without Rashid Khan for the remainder of the season as he is off on international duty. Ian Cockbain has joined up with the squad and could make his debut in this match. Wes Agar will miss the rest of the season with injury and Matt Renshaw is still isolating.
Perth Scorchers will still be missing Colin Munro and Cameron Bancroft with the latter missing out having tested positive for Covid. Matthew Kelly has been left out of the squad as he might be a close contact of someone with the virus.
I like the boundaries here. This is a day game so we don’t need to worry about any external factors which is important. I wouldn’t normally take the boundaries in an Adelaide Strikers match but they are without Rashid Khan which is going to increase the likelihood of their bowlers potentially going around the park. They have however replaced him with a clean hitter of the cricket ball in Cockbain. The other reason why I’m a little happier to indulge is because Adelaide are starting to send players up the order to boost their run rate.
We know the Perth Scorchers have plenty of boundaries in them. They were full of them at Geelong the other day and have been throughout the competition. They haven’t been as easy to score off but slowly but surely their attack is beginning to weaken with injuries, absences and illnesses so I’m expecting a high scoring game here and one which is full of boundaries in what should be an entertaining lead up to the Test match.
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