bbl players, thunder vs heat

Venue Manuka Oval, Canberra
Time 7:15pm
Weather Partly cloudy with a 40% chance of rain, most likely in the evenings. Light winds easterly 15-20 km/h should ease off during the day.

A neutral venue awaits both teams at Manuka Oval in what should be a good contest with class batters on both sides. Chris Lynn (Brisbane Heat) and Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder) will give the spectators plenty of entertainment but the question is: do you go the aerial route on a night with swirling winds and at a venue with low grandstands, or do you keep it on the ground and play it safe? The toss might be important if the wind has been blowing all day and it might be important to ask a local whether it will keep blowing or not.

Last season these teams finished 3rd (Brisbane Heat) and 4th (Sydney Thunder) and there are big expectations for both sides. The difference will be the smart player who makes the correct decision at the right time so players such as Ben Cutting (Sydney Thunder), Tanveer Sangha (Sydney Thunder), Ben Duckett (Brisbane Heat) and Jack Wildermuth (Brisbane Heat) should have a big influence on the game. Sydney Thunder have the edge and should win in a tight match with 1 over to spare, or 10-15 runs.

Sydney Thunder

They have the talent but Usman Khawaja will not be there which means leadership becomes an issue when things become tight. Tanveer Sangha was brilliant last season with his leg spinners but maybe Brisbane Heat have a plan for him? Those are the two questions I think will need to be answered but apart from that, their list has the right blend of youth and experience. A road trip for their first game of the season when they would normally be playing in Sydney will serve them well. The English style playing conditions at Manuka Oval should make Alex Hales, Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood feel right at home.

Batting Alex Hales was outstanding last season so my guess is that the Brisbane Heat will have a special plan for him. Maybe Brisbane Heat will bowl short balls that go above the hip in order to make him hit up in the air because there’s plenty of space to place outfielders at Manuka Oval. It might be time to give one of the younger players a chance to open or bat at No.3 and Jason Sangha looks like an excellent prospect for this vital task. Having younger batsmen ensures quick running between wickets which the older players are not so good at. Sam Billings and Baxter Holt are capable of acting like firemen in case things go wrong.

Bowling This is Sydney Thunder’s strength and they are backed up by good fielders all around the ground. Tanveer Sangha is a highly regarded leg spinner with 21 wickets last season but the medium pacers are solid as well with Ben Cutting, Sqib Mahmood and Adam Milne providing reliable options. If the wind does blow in Canberra it’ll probably be Daniel Sams bowling with it and Ben Cutting bowling into it. They can withstand pressure and find ways of applying it back to the opposition which is the mark of a top side and they won’t be afraid of Chris Lynn or Tom Cooper if they decide to go big early on.

Sydney Thunder: Players to Watch

Sydney Thunder are probably used to Khawaja and Labuschagne not being there but that has allowed Alex Hales to fulfill his potential at long last. Much depends on him but he knows he can perform at this level. Conditions will suit him if he can avoid temptation and keep hitting the ball on the ground, and his temperament is ideal for Big Bash cricket.

Daniel Sams with his fast-medium left armers might be able to move the ball away with the assistance of the wind and his average of 22 per wicket should see some improvement this season. He’s also a good leader of men which the statistics don’t show and he provides a level head in tight situations.

Tanveer Sangha is a mighty prospect not only for Sydney Thunder but also for Australia. The second season is nearly always a tough one if you have a brilliant debut season but I think he is smart enough to work out what to do. Perhaps developing a fast top spinner that drops on the batter and forces the bat to come through too early might be a good idea. A leg spinner is an attacking option even in T20 cricket and he is talented enough to do that.

Brisbane Heat

Brisbane Heat face a tough but not insurmountable test on Monday night. Chris Lynn is now a veteran at 31 years of age but he can still blast any attack out of the game in a few overs. Perhaps the rest of the list is not as heralded as he is but players such as Tom Cooper, Ben Duckett and Mujeeb Ur Rahman deserve the highest respect. They bat for impact and they have a balanced bowling attack but perhaps their fielding lets them down at times.

Batting Marnus Labuschgne will probably be absent but Chris Lynn is still dangerous and once he has hit a couple of sixes then he gets rolling and is very hard to stop. Mentally it’s very hard to cope if you see the ball fly over your head to the boundary because there is nothing you can do about it and that’s what makes him so valuable.

Tom Cooper is another very experienced player who can score quickly but perhaps he might alter his game now to make sure he bats through the innings more often. Still a quick runner at age 34 and his strike rate of 127 per 100 balls shows he deserves respect. Another player that the media (and most punters) ignore at their own peril.

Ben Duckett is a wicketkeeper who is worth his place in the team for his batting alone. Now at the peak of his career, he enjoys playing in Australia. Capable of being the rescue man after an early collapse of wickets of belting a few boundaries against dispirited bowlers at the death, he will prove his value against some of the more fragile Sydney Thunder bowlers.

Bowling If Mitchell Swepson does play for Australia then Brisbane Heat can always rely on Mujeeb Ur Rahman as their spearhead. Afghan cricketers thrive in T20 and Rahman’s off breaks will be suited by the English style conditions at Manuka. It’s hard to hit him through the off side and the batter has the prospect of either playing a late cut or playing a sweep shot which brings the prospect of an LBW decision into play.

Mark Steketee is an underrated fast-medium bowler who has proven himself and looks set for a long career.If it’s windy on Monday night then he should be able to take advantage and find both the inside and outside edges. Good changes of pace also keep him in the game and I think he’s average of 24 runs per wicket will improve this season.

Another bowler who should enjoy the local conditions is Matthew Kuhnemann. The left-arm orthodox spinner can make the ball move away from the right-hander and this should produce some awkward shots if the conditions are windy. Manuka Oval is fairly big and plenty of batters get caught in the outfield and the Brisbane Heat fielders might have to get ready for some high balls coming their way.

Brisbane Heat: Players to Watch

Brisbane Heat are much more than Chris Lynn but he can win the game if he can get to 20 or 30. The only way to contain him is to dismiss him early. Jack Wildermuth and Michael Neser don’t get too many mentions but they are the sort of players who might surprise with a good performance at a nice price. I’d be surprised if Mujeeb Ur Rahman doesn’t get at least one wicket while going for less than 25 runs. He brings fresh energy to the bowling line up and this is his biggest stage now that Afghanistan cricket looks like it’s finished.

Ben Duckett is one of the more important players for Brisbane Heat and he has a steady head for a wicketkeeper and when it comes to run outs and stumpings he is top class. He is also highly athletic with his catching ability and he can be relied on to score runs when the situation becomes tough.

Mark Streketee is well known and is highly respected in this competition but Connor Sully might surprise with his pace and enthusiasm if given the opportunity. The white ball normally doesn’t swing very much but Canberra might suit his style and it’s the unheralded player that can pay out at nice odds if things go their way.

Manuka Oval

The English players should perform well as should swing bowlers who can move the ball away from the bat. The pitch plays fairly for both bat and ball but the low grandstands allow the wind to become a factor and the ground itself is not the smallest which makes hitting sixes a challenge. This is a neutral venue with spectators paying to have a good time rather than supporting one team over another so there is no advantage to either side on that issue. Hard to see who has the advantage in these conditions unless you use distance travelled to the venue in your calculations.

Thunder vs Heat: Betting odds

Sydney Thunder are at $1.82 with TopSport and that seems about 10 cents or so under to me. Brisbane Heat are at $2.02 and that’s about right because this is an even game at a neutral venue with conditions that suit the foreign players. If you want to have fun then have a go but this is a tough game to bet on. No real value here.

Value is available in other markets and the best team bowler for Sydney Thunder – Tanveer Sangha – is a good prospect. I would rate him as a $3.60 chance. Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Brisbane Heat looks the best bowler but at $3.50 his odds are a bit skinny. Wait until he goes above $3.60 and then invest.

Thunder vs Heat: Best Bet

The best player market should provide more value and Alex Hales (Sydney Thunder) is my pick. Currently at $6 with TopSport but if you can get on at $7.00 or more then I think that might provide some value. The ground should suit his style of batting and it looks like he might be able to feast on some Brisbane Heat bowlers once he is set.

Thunder vs Heat: Best Same Game Multi

Alex Hales (Player of the Match) x Tanveer Sangha (Best bowler for Sydney Thunde) x Mujeeb Ur Rhaman (Best bowler for Brisbane Heat)

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