Thu, Jan 18, 1:11pm by Staff Writer
The 2017-18 Big Bash season is entering its final stages, with the end of the ten match regular season fast approaching.
At the top of the table, the Adelaide Strikers and Perth Scorchers lead the way with six wins, closely followed by the Hobart Hurricanes who have registered five wins.
The competition for fourth position is between the Melbourne Renegades, Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder, with all three of those teams hoping to snare fourth position.
Melbourne Stars versus Sydney Thunder
Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 6.10pm AEDST
The Melbourne Stars will miss the Big Bash finals for the first time since the competition’s inception after their eight-wicket loss to the Sydney Sixers on Tuesday night.
The Stars started the season abysmally, losing their first five matches and a horrible first innings score of 128 runs against the Sixers sealed their fate for this season.
Melbourne’s batting has not been up to scratch this season, as they have failed to score 160 runs in six games where they have batted first.
The loss of internationals Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, coupled with the teams poor recruiting over the off-season means that there will surely be big changes in store for the Stars during the off-season.
The Thunder have been up and down this season, winning a few close games, with the highlight of their season so far being a win against the Perth Scorchers.
The Thunder are an outside chance of making the top four, but would need the teams above them to falter and they will need to win their remaining two matches.
The inclusion of Usman Khawaja into the squad has bolstered a team that was thin on batting, with the Australian test player scoring freely in his first two matches with the team.
We expect the Thunder to be the more desperate team against a Stars side that has nothing to play for and have not shown up in the majority of its matches this season.
Best bet- Sydney Thunder to win at $1.80
Perth Scorchers versus Hobart Hurricanes
Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 9.20pm AEDST
The Hobart Hurricanes visit Perth after a narrow loss to the Adelaide Strikers on Wednesday night.
The Strikers amassed an enormous 171 run first wicket partnership off just 106 balls. Despite that, the Strikers were restricted to a manageable 187 runs, which the Hurricanes fell 11 runs short of chasing down.
A win in Perth would all but guarantee the Hurricanes a spot in the finals, something which looked unlikely after they began the season with two consecutive losses.
Perth return home after a win in Alice Springs and a lengthy break after playing two games in three days last week.
The Scorchers have two remaining home games before they farewell the WACA for the new Optus Stadium across the road.
A win for the Scorchers could once again give them top spot heading into finals, with a final round showdown against the Strikers at home a potential finals preview.
Perth have not be ravaged by Australian selection and neither have the Hurricanes, so we are happy to back Perth at home, where they have always won more matches than they have lost.
Best bet- Perth Scorchers to win at $1.70
Melbourne Renegades versus Adelaide Strikers
Monday, 22 January 2018 at 7.40pm AEDST
The Melbourne Renegades are in desperate need of a win after two straight losses, as they cling to third position in the standings.
The pre-season favourites started the season well, but have been beaten by the Scorchers twice and most recently the lowly Stars.
They face a tough challenge on Monday night when they take on the red hot Adelaide Strikers at Etihad Stadium.
Few would have predicted that the Renegades would lose both Aaron Finch and Cameron White to One Day International selection.
Finch was quite poor with the bat this season in the Big Bash, before unloading in the first ODI scoring a century.
White remains the second leading run scorer in the Big Bash this season and was one of the Renegades weapons with the bat.
Since his absence, no player has filled the void yet, which is concerning given we are at the latter part of the season.
If Adelaide win, they set up a final round clash with Perth for home field advantage in the finals series, something which they will covet given how difficult it is for teams to win at the WACA.
We are prepared to back the more consistent team here in the Strikers, as the Renegades have failed to live up to the hype against the competition’s big guns.
Best bet- Adelaide Strikers to win at $1.81
*Odds from Sportsbet
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