Big Bash T20 Betting: Prospects ahead of the final group games

Luke Wright has been in stunning form for the Melbourne Stars
Luke Wright has been in stunning form for the Melbourne Stars

There is one remaining semi-final place up for grabs ahead of the final round of Big Bash group ties and Matt Harris is keeping faith with Melbourne Stars for the outright win.

"When the top order fail, the experience and reliability of Brad Hodge and David Hussey are there to get the Stars over the line."

Melbourne Stars 2.3211/8

The Stars were pre-tournament favourites back in December and the first team to qualify for the semi final stages. Cameron White's team can finish with a perfect record of eight wins from eight so is there going to be any outcome other than an outright win for this Melbourne Franchise?

Batting has depth and crucially, traditional under-performers such as Matthew Wade are finding form at the right time. White and Luke Wright form a devastating opening partnership and on the rare occasions when the top order fail, the experience and reliability of Brad Hodge and David Hussey are there to get the Stars over the line.

With Jackson Bird and John Hastings finding touch with the ball, Melbourne can restrict sides to embarrassing totals at times. The Stars came undone in the semi final of 2012-13, but I can't see any side coping with them right now.

Perth Scorchers 4.77/2

2012 runner-up Perth Scorchers currently lie in second place, level on points with the Sixers, but have to face Melbourne Stars in their final group game. A home semi final is therefore far from guaranteed with the Sixers set to face the dismal Sydney Thunder.

The loss of Shaun Marsh to the ODI series between Australia and England could have derailed their title hopes but Marsh's replacement at the top of the order, Craig Simmons, emerged to score the tournament's only century to date. However, much depends on skipper Simon Katich who is in good form despite his advancing years.

The Scorchers can certainly cause an upset but with Mitchell Marsh coming in at five, the lower order looks far too brittle when the leading batters fail.

Sydney Sixers 4.84/1

Steve Smith's Sydney Sixers have also qualified for the knockouts irrespective of what happens in their final group tie and this is another strong batting line up in a tournament where big totals will decide the final outcome. It's puzzling why Smith wasn't included in Australia's ODI squad but his return following test duty was the boost the Sixers needed to seal qualification.

Along with Michael Lumb, Nic Maddinson and Moises Henriques, this is one of the stronger top orders left in the competition and possibly the only one that has a real chance of challenging the Melbourne Stars.

Brisbane Heat 8.27/1

The fourth semi-final place is still up for grabs and it looks to be a straight shoot out between 2013 finalists the Heat and the Hurricanes who meet in Hobart on Wednesday. Victory for the Heat will guarantee their place and while they haven't always deserved it, they are the stronger of the three teams fighting for fourth slot.

Craig Kieswetter is finally giving his employers some value with the bat while Luke Pomersbach is also showing some form after a slow start. But the most impressive batter is the underrated Chris Lynn who has delivered two profits at long odds in the Heat's top batsman markets.

It was a surprise victory for Brisbane in 2013 but don't discount a repeat performance. There may be a distinct lack of star names in their squad but they perform well as a unit and more importantly, are finding form at just the right time.

Hobart Hurricanes 11.521/2

Victory for the Hurricanes on Wednesday should see them climb above Brisbane and into fourth although the Strikers have an outside chance of overtaking them. Hobart came close to upsetting the Stars' perfect record on Monday, thereby indicating that they can beat any of the semi finalists.

Ben Dunk has been a revelation, making 96 earlier in the competition and scoring consistently throughout but Tim Paine and Travis Birt, who were so strong at the top of the order last year, are struggling.

An experienced bowling attack of Hilfenhaus, Mascerenhas and Bollinger form Hobart's strongest suit but the semis should produce big scores and that's where the Hurricanes weaker batting line up would be found out.

Adelaide Strikers 50.049/1

A big win for the Strikers over the Renegades on Tuesday might just take them into the semis but a poor net run rate makes that scenario even more unlikely than those tournament odds of 50.049/1 suggest.

Adelaide relied too heavily on a powerful top order of Alex Hales, Phil Hughes and Michael Klinger who haven't quite come off, proving once again that you can't play cricket on paper.

We say farewell to Melbourne Renegades and to Sydney Thunder who did at least end their losing streak of 19 Big Bash games. In theory the tournament is between six remaining teams but the Stars are typically astronomical and I expect them to take that winning run all the way to their first outright win.

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