We are back down to just the one match in the Big Bash League on Wednesday and it is a big one for the two teams involved as the Brisbane Heat welcome the Adelaide Strikers to The Gabba for a season defining match.
These two sides are two of the four who are fighting for what looks like one spot in the finals and whoever wins here will put themselves in pole position to claim it. The losers here will be running out of matches to try and get back in so this is huge for both sides.
The Brisbane Heat have lost their last two matches going into this one but really they were sitting ducks in both of them because Covid had deprived them of a number of starters. To their credit they allowed the show to go on but it hasn’t done them many favours in terms of progressing in the competition. The good thing for the Heat is none of their rivals around them have made much headway so they are still in control of their own destiny as they get players back.
We are used to seeing the Heat play their best cricket at this stage of a season but there might be a bit of rust to shed from their starters in this game which is less than ideal. Prior to Covid attacking them, Brisbane were beginning to bowl nicely and while there were question marks over whether they were consistent enough with the bat, we see season on season in this tournament that the best teams with the ball tend to rise towards the top.
Unlike their opponents here, the Adelaide Strikers haven’t had Covid rampaging through their squad. They are bottom of the table based on their results and performances alone, and when you consider the destruction that has taken place within the Heat and Melbourne Stars squads in this event, that is a pretty damning statistic. It goes without saying that they need an almighty improvement to have a chance of making the playoffs but it doesn’t appear to be imminent.
The big problem for the Strikers is their batting. It has been all season and while we continue to acknowledge that losing Travis Head and Alex Carey to international duty was far from ideal, the former was always going to go so the lack of a contingency plan is quite alarming. It is therefore no surprise that they haven’t batted well this season. You sense resources might not be what they once were with the Strikers with them only using two overseas players this term but not to have an overseas batter looks a bit daft now.
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The Brisbane Heat are able to welcome nine players back for this match with the likes of Chris Lynn, Xavier Bartlett, Ben Duckett, Max Bryant and Mark Steketee among those who have served their isolation period. Fakhar Zaman still isn’t able to enter Queensland so he’ll miss this match.
Adelaide Strikers will be without Matt Renshaw who is having to isolate after testing positive for Covid. They do have Ryan Gibson available after an injury while Henry Thornton has been included as a top up player.
I’m a little surprised that the Brisbane Heat are not clear favourites in this match. They have the majority of their important players back now and they have already done a bit of a job on the Adelaide Strikers this season and try and they might the Strikers just can’t seem to put consistent runs on the board and you would think here at The Gabba they are going to need a decent amount of runs. If they don’t they are going to need to bowl lights out.
I think the Brisbane Heat have been reasonably competitive while their players were out but having them back is a big thing. We have just seen the first Adelaide Strikers player go down with Covid and if the trend tells us anything it is that more are likely to come given how close these players get to each other so I wouldn’t be surprised if Adelaide are a lot weaker than we would expect. Brisbane have looked the better team this season and I’m happy to back them at 10/11.
Back Brisbane Heat to beat Adelaide Strikers for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral