Big Bash: Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers Thursday 08:15

Strikers are the stand-out side

If you cast your minds back a few weeks ago to the preview of the opening match of the Big Bash, we were able to back the Adelaide Strikers at 2.0 to beat the Brisbane Heat. They won that one pretty easily and are now two from four. But despite being away from home against the Renegades, who have the same record as them, they’re now just a best price of 1.8 ahead of tomorrow’s match.

That’s because the odds-compilers are realising that the defending champions are probably the best side in the competition. That’s quite a statement considering the Hobart Hurricanes are on four wins from four but I’ll stand by it. The Hurricanes have played three matches at home so far and been able to chase in each of them – a huge advantage over there – and it will be interesting to see how they cope if the toss doesn’t g their way over the next couple of matches.

But back to the Strikers. They tick just about very box going. They have a classy Top 3 in Jake Weatherald, Alex Carey and Colin Ingram, a couple of big hitters in the middle order and economical T20 specialists when it comes to fast bowlers.

King Khan looks the most likely matchwinner

And I’ve saved the best for last: in Rashid Khan they have the best T20 bowler in the world bar none. Even the other night, just a day or so after learning his father passed away, he brushed his tears aside to bowl a spell of 2 for 34. By his high standards, that was probably 10 runs too many to concede but his ability to take crucial wickets in those middle overs is always a huge asset. He’s taken seven wickets in four matches and is the favourite for both top bowler and player of the tournament.

If you want to go ahead and take the 1.8 about the Strikers beating a Renegades side who won their first two matches and lost the next two and all in all, look quite a limited outfit, then go ahead. You’ll see far worse 1.8 shots this week than that.

But I’m going to show some faith in Khan instead. He won the MOM award in that first game where we backed the Strikers and would probably have won it had the Strikers won their second and third games as well because he was their stand-out performer in each of those. At one stage or another I’m pretty confident he’ll be shifted up the order and bat at 5 or 6 which would add another string to his bow but we don’t even need that to happen for him to give us a really good run for our money at 8.0 to be MOM here.

Worth including Carey as well

There is however a caveat. I’ve noticed that during this tournament whoever it is that decides who the MOM is tends to be a little biased towards batsmen. There have been at least three games where a batsman and a bowler would for my money have been equally deserving and on each occasion, it went to the batsman. Should there be a similar scenario here, the man to be on alongside Khan is Alex Carey.

He hasn’t been quite as good as I would have expected so far but two fifties from four knocks and 145 runs (he’s ranked seventh for most runs) suggests he’s in decent touch and this could be the game where he goes on and gets a bigger score.

It’s worth splitting stakes between the pair of them.


1pt Back Rashid Khan to be man of the match @ 8.0 with Ladbrokes

1pt Back Alex Carey to be man of the match @ 9.0 with Ladbrokes


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