T20 Big Bash tips by Richard Mann: Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler

Richard Mann was bang on the money with his take on Friday's Big Bash game - don't miss his preview of Saturday's double-header in Australia.

Recommended bets: Big Bash

4pts Sydney Thunder to beat Melbourne Stars at 19/20


Melbourne Stars v Sydney Thunder (Jan 5)

On Saturday, the Melbourne Stars host the Sydney Thunder to kick off a double-header in the Big Bash.

Despite being some way from the finished article, the Thunder look a good side now and with Jos Buttler and Callum Ferguson starting to fire with the bat, they must be considered title contenders.

Joe Root's lack of runs so far in his maiden Big Bash season will be a concern to him and his captain Shane Watson but the England skipper should come good, as no doubt will Watson, a destructive presence at the top of the order who has looked in good form in the last couple of matches until seeing both innings cut short by brilliant catches.

He is certainly due and the signs are there that it could be sooner rather than later.

Shane Watson
Shane Watson

The Thunder bowling has been much improved so far this year with a reliance on spin by no means a bad tactic in a competition where home-grown batsmen continue to highlight Australian struggles against the turning ball.

The Stars play host in this one but despite beating close rivals the Melbourne Renegades recently, they are short on depth and far too dependent on the likes of Marcus Stoinis and spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.

Should that pair fire, along with Glenn Maxwell, the Stars have the potential to be a dangerous outfit but I'm happy to stick with the all-round skills of the Thunder who should be strong favourites and rate fair value at 19/20.


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Perth Scorchers v Brisbane Heat (Jan 5)

This one falls firmly into the 'anything could happen' category with both sides coming into the game with plenty to prove and desperate for a win.

The Scorchers have been the disappointments of the competition so far with their recent one-run defeat to the Sydney Thunder just about summing up their campaign while the Heat are still to win a game this term and, Chris Lynn apart, their highly-touted batting line-up has yet to deliver.

I'm not interested in playing here but with Lynn and co unlikely to take a backwards step against Perth's excellent pace attack, this should make for a good watch.


Recommended bets: Friday's Big Bash

4pts Hobart Hurricanes to beat Sydney Sixers at 4/6


Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers (Jan 4)

It's still early days in this season's Big Bash but the Hobart Hurricanes look the all-round package and, dare I say it, the best side in the competition.

Having gone through the early stages of the tournament unbeaten, it is no surprise to see that they have been cut into 100/30 to lift the trophy next month - something they narrowly failed to do when runners-up last year - and those odds aren't to be sniffed at.

With pre-tournament favourites Perth Scorchers enduring a horror campaign to date and the Adelaide Strikers - for all their excellent bowling attack continues to impress - still looking a batsman light, the Hurricanes have stormed to the top of the table with four wins from as many matches and they should prove too strong for the visiting Sydney Sixers.

D'Arcy Short
D'Arcy Short

Captain George Bailey has always been able to rely on the likes of paceman Jofra Archer and opening batsman D'Arcy Short but with Matthew Wade pushing hard for a recall to the national set-up, and new recruits Johan Botha and James Faulkner providing more all-round depth, it is hard to find fault with the Hurricanes.

They look very, very good and with home advantage on Friday, should be able to justify cramped odds of 4/6 against a Sixers side who have managed to pick up three wins of late but are having to do it the hard way

The Sixers lack the firepower, and depth, of the hosts and I can only see this going one way.

Posted at 1325 GMT on 03/01/18


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