Big Bash League: Tips for the finals
The Big Bash League is set for a thrilling conclusion after the top five were decided with Melbourne Stars failing to sneak into the Eliminator.
Brisbane Heat, Adelaide Strikers, Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder finished as the top five in the regular season of the BBL, with the teams set to battle it out against one another before the final on February 6.
The Heat and the Strikers will face off in the Eliminator on January 29 at The Gabba – with the loser knocked out of the competition – before the Scorchers and Sixers, who finished in the top two, fight it out for a place in the final.
The Thunder will then face the winner of the Eliminator on the 31st in Canberra, before the winner of that match then faces the loser between the Sixers and the Scorchers, before the final on the 6th.
With just five teams remaining, here is how the betting markets are looking:
Perth Scorchers are down as favourites to win Big Bash 10, despite only finishing second. A run of eight wins in 10 following the arrival of Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone sees them into 11/8, just ahead of the rest of the pack and the performance of Jhye Richardson has been crucial throughout.
Sydney Sixers – 13/8 – The defending champions have been the best team this year and look well-balanced. Having beaten the Scorchers in their most recent meeting, they will fancy their chances.
Sydney Thunder – 5/1 – Alex Hales has been the standout batsman this year with 81 runs more than his nearest challenger. He is in hot form and if he fires, no one will be able to handle the Thunder.
Brisbane Heat – 14/1 – Chris Lynn’s absence hurt the Heat at the beginning of the campaign but they have picked up nicely since. They are capable of beating any team on their day but lack the firepower to back up their main man.
Adelaide Strikers – 16/1 – The absence of Rashid Khan will cost the Strikers dearly, and that is reflected in their odds. Alex Carey and Travis Head could be match-winners while Wes Agar has been a revelation, but there are too many weak points in the XI.
Alex Hales, with 535 runs at the end of the 14 matches, is the leading run-scorer so far, averaging 41.15 with a strike-rate of over 160. He hit a stunning 110 to beat the Sixers and it would take something special for him to lose from here, as represented by odds of 4/11.
Josh Philippe – 9/2 – Philippe was leading the pack for a good portion of the tournament, but on 454 and with potentially just two games left it would need two strong performances to give him a chance of overhauling Hales.
Chris Lynn – 6/1 – Lynn is 135 runs behind Hales as it stands, but with potentially four games to go should the Heat make it to the final, he has a chance of passing him but it is just an outside chance. He actually averages more than Hales (42) so if he plays all those games, it could be tight.
Colin Munro – 11/1 – The left-hander has 411 runs at 34.25 and potentially just two games to up his tally. It is unlikely he will be able to overhaul Hales.
Alex Carey – 12/1 – Longer odds than Munro despite having one more run and potentially more matches to play in. Has also hit a century in the tournament already so he could be one to keep an eye on.
Jake Weatherald – 25/1 – Weatherald has had a good season with 401 runs, but even with matches in hand, a total of 150 runs to make up on Hales seems like too much to ask.
Jason Roy – 40/1 – Roy’s impact has been clear since joining the Scorchers. He is 203 runs behind his former international team-mate so unlikely to claim the yellow cap, but it has been a pleasing return to form.
Callum Ferguson – 66/1 – The man who bats behind Hales at the Thunder has had another solid campaign with 380 runs, but his long odds reflect an unlikely sequence of events.
Jhye Richardson looks to have this market sown up with 27 wickets in 14 games so far, a run of form that is certain to return him to the international fold. With two games to go, he is likely to break the 30 barrier and odds of 7/100 reflect his performance so far.
Mark Steketee – 9/1 – Something of a surprise package for the Heat, Steketee has been a regular wicket-taker and has 22 victims to his name so far. If the Heat have a run to the final, he will be close to the 30 mark.
Wes Agar – 10/1 – Another surprise package, Agar’s pace and hostility has been a major part in how the Strikers have coped without Rashid Khan. He is currently on 21 but will need a good run to catch Richardson.
Tanveer Sangha – 16/1 – The teenage leg-spinner has created some excitement at Thunder with 21 wickets in 14 games at just 16.6. He will be one to keep an eye on in future years but the purple cap might come too soon this time.
Ben Dwashius – 40/1 – It has been an all-round effort by the Sixers. Dwarshius is a proven performer and has 19 wickets this year, but that leaves him with a lot of work to do if he wishes to catch up to Richardson.