ANZ Stadium at 7.00pm
Game 1 – defeated Melbourne Stars by six wickets (with six balls remaining) at MCG (17/12)
v Adelaide Strikers at ANZ Stadium (23/12)
v Melbourne Renegades at ANZ Stadium (30/12)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena (1/1)
v Sydney Sixers at ANZ Stadium (8/1)
v Perth Scorchers at ANZ Stadium (11/1)
v Brisbane Heat at ‘Gabba (17/1)
Game 1 – defeated Melbourne Renegades by 67 runs at Adelaide Oval (18/12)
v Sydney Thunder at ANZ Stadium (23/12)
v Hobart Hurricanes 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)
With the aggression of Jimmy Barnes and the looks of Bob Marley, Chris Gayle is close to impossible to stop once he gets on a roll with the bat. The 32-year-old was the first man to ever score an international T20 century, when he smashed against 117 off just 57 balls, including seven fours and ten sixes, against South Africa at the 2007 T20 World Cup. The left-hander has recently returned from Zimbabwe, where he played a T20 season with the Matabeleland Tuskers. From his six matches, Gayle averaged 59 with the bat, which included 109 not out, and took seven wickets, including a bag of four. With skipper David Warner unavailable due to national duty, Gayle will be heavily relied upon at the top of the order tonight.
Ever since he crossed over the border from Victoria, Michael Klinger has been a revelation for South Australia. The 31-year-old has significantly increased his output, with some even suggesting he could possibly fit into the Australian side at some stage. But the most immediate thing on Klinger’s mind is leading his Adelaide Strikers in the T20 Big Bash League. The right-handed batsman is very similar to the Hussey boys, in that he can adapt to different formats and adjust to different situations. Expect Klinger to make a big impact at the top of the order and lead his team well against the Thunder tonight.
1. Chris Gayle
2. Daniel Smith (C/WK)
3. Usman Khawaja
4. Ben Dunk
5. Tim Cruickshank
6. Craig Phillipson
7. Sean Abott
8. Luke Doran
9. Scott Coyte
10. Fidel Edwards
11. Doug Bollinger
1. Daniel Harris
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
It was the second-last night before Christmas and the big clash between the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder – two sides who comfortably won their first games of the Big Bash League.
The Strikers are undoubtedly the new favourites to take out the 2011-12 title. Yes they’ve lost Nathan Lyon to Australian duty and Kieron Pollard to injury, but they still have the most balanced squad in the league and are more than switched on tactically.
On paper, the Thunder don’t have a brilliant squad. But they still managed a miraculous win against the highly-fancied Melbourne Stars last weekend. However the major reason behind their victory was a brilliant century from star batsman David Warner, who won’t be available for tonight’s game due to national duties.
With Warner out, wicketkeeper Daniel Smith has been installed as Thunder captain for the time being. He is also a good chance to open the innings with Gayle, although young guns Usman Khawaja and Ben Dunk would be more than capable too.
ANZ Stadium is a difficult ground to bowl and field on, therefore the Thunder will struggle. The Strikers’ batting line-up is much deeper and sounder than the Thunder’s, while Adelaide’s spin-heavy bowling attack perfectly suits the T20 format.
Expect the Strikers to get on top early and pull through with a very comfortable victory.
Adelaide Strikers to win ($1.82 – Centrebet)
Michael Klinger Strikers High Bat ($4.50 – Sportingbet)
Alfonso Thomas Strikers Most Wickets ($4.00 – Centrebet)