Sydney Thunder will head into its last match of BBL|02 against the Melbourne Stars on Tuesday still desperately seeking its first win, and with visions of keeping the Melbourne Stars out of the finals with an upset win at the MCG.
With Scott Coyte succumbing to an elbow injury against the Perth Scorchers, and a batting order that even a fan honestly would admit, hasn’t clicked, the Thunder has really had it tough this season.
Usman Khawaja was once again the shining light, making 56 against the Scorchers. The likes of Chris Gayle, Mark Cosgrove and Matt Prior have had less than stellar campaigns, leaving a hole in the batting order that has not fired this season.
Thunder Key Players
Dirk Nannes has been the pick of the Thunder pace men throughout the whole competition. Despite a lean night against the Perth Scorchers, he bowled a fantastic spell even though his figures (0-38) may say otherwise. His pace, bounce and general accuracy have been the bane of all teams this competition.
Adam Zampa’s leg spinners may also prove very important. The 20-year-old has shown huge potential in his few games with the Thunder, and he could be vital in helping to restrict the Stars total.
Khawaja held his bat high against the Scorchers, but it’s going to come down to a lot of the batsmen to help the Thunder to post a competitive total. At the top of the order, Prior is going to have to settle in and not play any rash shots early. Cosgrove got a few runs against the Scorchers, and needs to replicate that form in triple on Tuesday.
Stars Danger men
Brad Hodge looms as the batsman most likely to destroy the Thunder bowling attack. His 88 against the Strikers a few days before the New Year was substantial evidence he has not lost any of his touch.
As for the bowlers, left-armer James Faulkner and fellow quick Lasith Malinga have had excellent campaigns. Faulkner has the ability to deceive with his wily left-armers. Add to that Malinga’s devastating yorkers and you have a bowling duo who could really send a scare into the Thunder camp.
What Could Define the Game
If the Stars get on top first it is going to be very difficult for the Thunder to really stamp their mark on the game. Big boundaries at the MCG will be eyed off by Gayle, Prior and Cosgrove. Gayle’s hitting or Nannes’ bowling may just be the clincher.
Also, the news of Shane Warne's possible suspension after a fiery clash with Marlon Samuels in the Stars v Renegades game last night may make the Stars' bowling attack somewhat limited.Squad changes
Sydney Thunder have made two changes to their 13 man squad for their eighth and final match. Chris Rogers (fractured finger) and Scott Coyte (elbow) are both out injured from the squad which lost to the Perth Scorchers last Friday night.
All-rounder Sean Abbott and left arm spin bowler Luke Doran are their replacements.
Sydney Thunder squad
Chris Gayle (Captain)
Melbourne Stars fans will be out in force at the MCG and will be cheering on their team at home. Coming up against a side full of talent, the Thunder will have to work very, very hard to achieve its first win.Thanks to The Armchair Selector and Davis Harrigan for this match preview.