Previewing tomorrow's Knockout match, Paul Krishnamurty expects another high-scoring game at the Adelaide Oval with a plethora of boundaries...
"Strikers have just been bludgeoned on this home ground by Hobart's openers and there is every chance that the Hales/Khawaja pairing will come out in the same mindset."
Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder
Saturday, 08:40 GMT
Live on BT Sport
We're down to four teams and that means its time for The Knockout. The winners will go forward to face Melbourne Stars in The Challenger, with Sydney Sixers awaiting in the final.
Thunder come in off better results
Strikers are here courtesy of finishing third, while Thunder have already won two 'all or nothings' - in their final group match and against Hurricanes on Thursday. Both were resounding victories.
Strikers have looked like obvious contenders throughout. A very well balanced side, including genuine matchwinners - Rashid Khan, Jake Weatherald - with bat and ball.
Strikers bowlers took a battering last time
They finished the group stage on something of a downer, conceding 217 to Hurricanes, thus reviving the concern that the bowlers can be expensive - nobody in the squad has an economy below 7.24.
In fairness, their opponents needed to win at all costs and Strikers won't be the first or last to get battered by the Short/Wade opening combo. Plus making 207 in the chase was no mean feat.
Thunder - matched at [200.0] for the title earlier - needed the extra fifth qualification spot and made it by winning their 'cup final' over Scorchers. Against Hurricanes, the openers set it up for the bowlers.
Opening pair pivotal for Thunder
That roughly sums up their balance. With 859 runs between them, Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja are absolutely pivotal to their chances, supported by Callum Ferguson.
In Daniel Sams, they boast the leading tournament wicket taker (unlikely to be passed with 27 already to his name), but this is another expensive bowling attack. Their lowest economy is 7.55.
Big totals within range at the Adelaide Oval
The 217 in the last match was the highest first innings total at the Adelaide Oval this year, although a 198 off 18 overs earlier would have gone close to that mark.
Suffice to say that confirms this is a good ground to back 'overs'. In 20 Big Bash matches over the past three seasons, half of all first innings totals passed 170. Only three finished sub 150.
Total of 180 plus batting first is the target
A total of 175 is around par and a large percentage of first innings finish around that mark. It usually proves enough - only two of the seven successful chases during that period were over 160.
Those stats demonstrate a significant toss bias with 65% of matches here won by the team batting first. Certainly not, therefore, a good time to be backing an odds-on favourite pre-match.
Strikers are too short in the betting
Whilst Strikers are evidently the better all-round side, they are hardly bombproof and odds of [1.65] are extremely prohibitive. Too short for a T20 match at this level, involving a toss bias.
They've just been bludgeoned on this home ground by Hobart's openers and there is every chance that the Hales/Khawaja pairing will come out in the same mindset.
Momentum shouldn't be understated in these tournaments - see how Stars have gone from near invincible to highly vulnerable in a matter of days. Ditto Hobart last year. Take [2.5] pre-match about the visitors and keep fingers crossed that the toss goes their way.
Total fours line looks underestimated
Much points towards another run-fest. A combined total of 424 runs were scored here in the last match. Both bowling attacks have proved expensive. The Total Fours line definitely looks under-rated at 24.5. That total was passed in 70% of matches over the past three seasons.
As usual, the Top Adelaide Runscorer market is wide-open with Jake Weatherald, Phil Salt, Travis Head and Alex Carey all trading between 3/1 and 7/2. Their top scorer in the series, Jono Wells, is 7/1.
Alex Hales is a worthy 5/2 favourite for Thunder, ahead of Khawaja at 13/5. The Englishman is in cracking form and this season's contribution is well ahead of his team-mates.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
Paul's 2019/20 Big Bash P/L:
Back Sydney Thunder 2u @ [2.5]
Back Over 24.5 Fours 6u @ 5/6