Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder
Sunday, December 19th: 08:40
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Heat running cold
Three games into the new BBL campaign and Brisbane Heat have won just one of those matches. One of the issues relates to the usually reliable Chris Lynn who has made 68 in three knocks. Lynn has got starts in his last two innings but needs to kick on if Heat are to be more competitive.
Ben Duckett is also in need of runs after a bright start and Brisbane’s main batsmen need to take more responsibility. Similarly, Heat will want to see more from their key bowlers, spinners Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Brisbane won last time out so they have some momentum coming into Sunday’s game.
Thunder fail to strike
Sydney Thunder have also won just once in three matches but an extra Bash Boost point puts them ahead of Brisbane in the table. The side has similar concerns in the sense that last season’s leading BBL run scorer, Alex Hales, has made just 38 in three knocks.
Daniel Sams has been expensive with the ball while, once again, it was a surprise to see Ben Cutting given just two overs in last Sunday’s loss to the Stars. Skipper Chris Green may have also been guilty of hiding in the face of an Andre Russell onslaught at the death.
Thunder need runs from their key batsman and they must also make better use of their six-man bowling attack.
Brisbane back at the Gabba
Brisbane Heat will enjoy home comforts as the Gabba hosts its first game of BBL 11. Heat won four of their six matches here last season and that record includes victory over Sydney Thunder at the start of 2021.
Across those six matches, the average first innings score was 152 and four games went with the side batting second. Brisbane like to chase so the toss could be important and, on a day where rain is unlikely to intervene, whoever takes first knock needs to aim at 160+ as a target.
The Thunder are favourites to claim the win here at 1.834/5 while Brisbane are out at 2.186/5. Given their close proximity in the table and the fact that Heat are back on their home surface, it wouldn’t have been a great surprise to see those numbers reversed.
Brisbane also have that win over Sydney at the start of 2021 to take into account so there will be some interest in the hosts. However, the Thunder seem to be underperforming as a unit and that has to change. Hales, Sams, Green and others will start to find form and this should be the time for Sydney to kick on.
They let me down last time out but I’m backing Sydney Thunder to play to their collective strengths on Sunday.
Alex Hales has failed to land as my recommended bet in two of Thunder’s opening matches so it’s time to switch sides. I had been leaning towards Chris Lynn to drive Brisbane and, if the outsiders were to win the match, they would need a major contribution from their key batsman.
Lynn is the favourite to top score for Brisbane so these won’t be my most imaginative tips of the tournament but a price boost on the sportsbook offers better value at 5/2. Other options in this market include Sam Heazlett at 7/2, Ben Duckett at 4/1 and Max Bryant at 9/2.
Thunder’s leg spinner Tanveer Sangha continues his development and his figures of 2/20 against the Stars were seriously impressive in the context of the game. He needs to work on his batting but don’t be surprised if the 20 year old receives an international call up before too long.
I’m staying with the above selections for Sunday’s game but anyone looking for a third could take Sangha at 5/2 to be Sydney’s top wicket taker. Alternatively, in the #OddsOnThat section of the sportsbook, Sangha and Heat’s Liam Guthrie to each take a wicket looks solid, albeit at a relatively short 8/15.