Gabba at 6.30pm Tuesday 3 January
Game 1 – lost to Sydney Sixers by seven wickets (with eight balls remaining) at SCG (16/12)
Game 2 – lost to Melbourne Stars by eight runs at Gabba (20/12)
Game 3 – lost to Perth Scorchers by 10 runs at WACA (29/12)
v Adelaide Strikers at Gabba (3/1)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Gabba (6/1)
v Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium (12/1)
v Sydney Thunder at Gabba (17/1)
Game 1 – defeated Melbourne Renegades by 67 runs at Adelaide Oval (18/12)
Game 2 – lost to Sydney Thunder by six wickets (with nine balls remaining) at ANZ Stadium (23/12)
Game 3 – lost to Hobart Hurricanes by 14 runs at Adelaide Oval (28/12)
v Brisbane Heat at ‘Gabba (3/1)
v Perth Scorchers at WACA (8/1)
v Sydney Sixers at Adelaide Oval (10/1)
v Melbourne Stars at MCG (19/1)
Peter Forrest was close to unheard of before the start of the 2011-12 domestic season. But the 26-year-old has thrived in his new Queensland environment and shown promising signs over recent months. Forrest has been a regular member of the Bulls’ side and hasn’t disappointed, scoring a number of half-centuries and a big century in both First-class and List A formats. But the right-handed batsman, mainly known for his ability in the longest form of the game, showed his value as a T20 player against the Scorchers on Thursday night, smashing 59 off 42 balls to give the Heat a good chance of winning. With James Hopes still out injured, Forrest will captain the side and, with the form he is in, should lead by example.
Aiden Blizzard is the quintessential T20 batsman. The 27-year-old is one of the cleanest and hardest hitters in the business, making him a threat to any bowling attack on any given day. Blizzard’s biggest strength is his hitting through the leg side, highlighted by his mammoth six over mid-wicket when he made 89 against the South Australia Redbacks at the Adelaide Oval in 2008. The left-hander has made a consistent start to the Big Bash League for the Strikers, producing scores of 30, 20 and 20. Blizzard is six runs away from 1000 domestic T20 runs, which could very well happen against the Heat. But he will be keen to score a lot more than six runs come Tuesday night.
1. Matthew Hayden
2. Chris Lynn
3. Peter Forrest (C)
4. Dan Christian
5. Andrew Robinson
6. Roelof van der Merwe
7. Michael Neser
8. Chris Hartley (WK)
9. Nick Buchanan
10. Nathan Hauritz
11. Alister McDermott
1. Daniel Harris/Tom Cooper
2. Michael Klinger (C)
3. Callum Ferguson
4. Aiden Bizzard
5. Adam Crosthwaite (WK)
6. Cameron Borgas
7. Johan Botha
8. Aaron O’Brien
9. Kane Richardson
10. Alfonso Thomas
11. Bryce McGain
Before the start of the Big Bash League, these two teams were expected to challenge for the title. But with only one win in six games between them, the BBL title seems a long way off. But both teams can start afresh with a win on Tuesday night.
Brisbane hasn’t seemed to ever get going during the tournament, losing all three of its games so far. The Heat’s depth has probably been overestimated. Besides Forrest and veteran Matthew Hayden, there aren’t a lot of recognised batsmen. And it doesn’t help when Brendon McCullum, your best recruit and the highest run-scorer in T20 history, is committed to other teams around the world.
Adelaide started its season in stunning form, thrashing the Melbourne Renegades by 67 runs on its home ground. But the Strikers have struggled in the past two games, going down to the Thunder and the Hurricanes reasonably convincingly. However the Strikers have the right balance between bat and ball, so there is no doubting they have the talent to still challenge for the finals.
The Strikers need Daniel Harris, one of the best domestic T20 players in Australia, back at the top of the order after he withdrew from the last game due to injury. If he doesn’t play, Tom Cooper will retain his spot, but the Strikers would prefer the experience of Harris. Mind you, Cooper’s recent innings of 42 proved he is just as valuable.
With their list dropping like flies and the potential loss of Ryan Harris due to national duties, it’s hard to see the Heat getting up for this one. The Strikers are a much classier unit on paper and, more importantly, are due for a win.
Adelaide Strikers to win ($1.90 – Sportsbet)
Peter Forrest Heat High Bat ($4.75 – Sportsbet)