David M is back tomorrow, so today a little cricket action from James Pacheco and I have included a racing selection also…
What does everyone need to do?
We’re reaching the business end of the Big Bash and with no matches till Thursday, I’m turning my attentions to the winner market.
The Hobart Hurricanes, the most impressive team are in the semis and very likely to top the group stages and have a home semi-final. The Sydney Sixers are also through, as are the Melbourne Renegades. Those two could still top the group but it’s unlikely with the Hurricanes needing just one win from their last two matches. And that’s assuming that both the Renegades or the Stars win and improve their net run rates. First from the Group Stages plays fourth with the former at home and second plays third with the Group Stage runner-up playing on home territory.
Clear as mud?
So which of these three are we going with? Actually, none of them.
Stars peaking at the right time
The value lies with the Melbourne Stars who are currently fourth and need just one win from their remaining two games to make the semis. There will be some ‘squeaky bum time’ if they lose to the Brisbane Heat in their next match but a) I think they’ll win that anyway and b) they’re at home to the Sixers (who have already qualified anyway) in their last game.
The Stars were unlucky in the middle stages of the tournament in that they were decimated by call-ups to the Australia ODI side. Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb and Adam Zampa all had to report for international duty and they lost a couple of matches as a result of that.
But what does that tell you? It tells you that the first three- who batted at 5,6 and 7 for Australia in that series against India – are class acts. And yes that was ODIs and this is T20 but you get the point.
Stoinis in particular has been in obscenely good form since returning. He opens the batting, he bowls four overs, he fields in the key positions, he does the lot. He got three consecutive man-of-the-match awards, the first time that’s ever happened in Big Bash history.
But just as important as the form of Stoinis, is the return of Sandeep Lamichhane, the teenage Nepalese mystery spinner. He left after a few matches because he already had commitments in the Bangladesh Premier League. In his absence, English seamer Liam Plunkett replaced him and made a good fist of things but the spinner is a far more dangerous prospect than Plunkett’s seam-up deliveries and occasional variations; Lamichhane’s return for these last few matches is a huge fillip.
Alongside the evergreen Dwayne Bravo, they’ll give opposition batsmen plenty to think about.
Away semi no big deal
The slight concern (on paper) about the Stars is that they’ll probably have to play the table-topping Hurricanes in an away semi-final. But so what? If anything, the fact that Hurricanes play at a high-scoring ground plays into the Stars’ hands because they’re full of big-hitters. They’d probably find life tougher if they were away at the Sixers’ where low scores on tricky wickets are the order of the day.
Last season the Scorchers topped the table easily and were destroyed in the semis at home by…the Hurricanes, proving that being on home soil doesn’t mean that much in this format.
Besides, you’re not going to play anyone easy at this stage and that’s why they’re considerably bigger at 4/1 than the others. They’re the value punt.
Back the Melbourne Stars to win the Big Bash @ 4/1 with Skybet
You can read more cricket tips and other cricket betting related content at www.bettingmaestro.com.
AYR 3.35 Raise a Spark – win bet