The underrated and understated Jonno Wells can top score for a struggling Strikers side while Daniel Sams is a decent bet for MOM, says Jamie Pacheco.
"His BBL average of 33 is solid rather than spectacular and his strike rate of 121 is decent rather than destructive. But that’s what he’s all about."
Adelaide Strikers v Perth Scorchers
Friday, 8:15, Live on Sky Sports
Strikers really up against it
The Strikers can consider themselves pretty fortunate that the Renegades have managed to be even worse than them this season.
Without the Melbourne side in the competition they'd be rock bottom. They've won just one match out of six, same as the Renegades, the only difference being that they picked up two more bonus points.
Who did they beat for that one win? The Renegades.
And yes, they were somewhat unlucky to lose both Travis Head and Alex Carey, by far their two best batsmen. Head could well have missed out to Usman Khawaja for the number five slot in the Ashes. Carey only came in because of Tim Paine's well-documented off-field incident.
Still, they shouldn't have been so overly reliant on two batsmen in the first place and questions need to be asked about the balance of the side and their recruitment processes. This could be a long, hard season for them.
Strikers Likely XI: Weatherald, Short, Renshaw, Wells, Kelly, Garton, Nielsen, Khan, Agar, Siddle, Ahmed.
Scorchers' win to give Thunder confidence
Victory last time out ensured they're into fourth place with a game in hand in relation to all the three teams above them.
But the best they can hope for is to move into third and for that they'd also need to pick up the bonus point. They'd leapfrog the Hurricanes if that were to happen.
Last time out they beat the Scorchers, no less, who were unbeaten up to that point. That should give them great belief.
Sam Billings walked off with the man-of-the-match award after a blistering 67 off 35.
Good on him but bad news for us because we were on Jason Sangha, who fell 11 runs short, ending unbeaten on 56. That's a score that would normally be enough to win it.
It was all the more frustrating because I'd mentioned Billings as the dangerman to our man.
England fast bowler Saqib Mahmood continues to impress; he took 2-29. Nathan McAndrew helped himself to three wickets.
Thunder Likely XI:Gilkes, Hales, Sangha, Billings, Ross, Sams, Cutting, McAndrew, Green, Mahmood, Sangha
Venue and conditions
We're at Adelaide. It's where the Brisbane Heat passed 200 just before Christmas and where the Strikers scored 149 before bowling the Renegades out for just 100. Those were the only two matches played there so far this season.
It's generally been a good wicket over the years in the Big Bash.
The Strikers generally prefer to bat first and then unleash their strong suit - their bowling - onto the opposition and hope scoreboard pressure does the rest.
That said, they posted a perfectly reasonable 175 against the Hurricanes the other day, only to see the men in purple chase it with nine balls to spare. So, they may have a rethink if they win the flip.
The Thunder aren't big enough to be worth siding with as favourites. At 1.784/5 they're about right and though we believe they're a considerably better side, they're not quite as reliable as say the Sixers or Scorchers.
And if they're about right, then the Strikers aren't big enough at 2.285/4 to cause an upset. I know all of this sounds incredibly obvious but it's worth repeating one last time.
Is there a strong head to head record for one side that could still tempt us anyway? Sadly not. They're 7-7 over the years. Last season it was one win each.
It tells its own story that no Strikers player has reached 200 runs for the season yet. In fact, no-one has even passed 156, Matt Short being their top scorer.
Next best is Jonno Wells (155) and then it's Tom Kelly (122) and Matt Renshaw (109), though these last two only played four and three games respectively.
The best of a bad bunch might be Wells.
There's no shortage of experience here for one of cricket's quirkier batsmen. He's batted 92 times in the BBL across 101 matches, making him one of the league's real stalwarts.
His BBL average of 33 is solid rather than spectacular and his strike rate of 121 is decent rather than destructive. But that's what he's all about.
A busy batter who picks gaps rather than hitting boundaries, this may be just the sort of game for him. The Thunder tend to be good at the top with the ball so the openers, out of form anyway, could be back in the hutch early doors.
He'll bat at four and as a 9/2 fifth favourite has more going for him than most at the prices.
Backing an all-rounder for man of the match is one of oldest tricks in the book.
But in Daniel Sams, we may have just the sort of player who gives us a better run for our money than usual.
He's taken seven wickets in six games so far and has bowled 21 out of a possible 24 overs, so you know he should bowl his full quota here.
He's yet to make a real impact with the bat but a quickfire 28 off just 11 balls against the Sixers was a reminder of what we can do.
With the Thunder our pick to win the game, he should have a decent chance here at 10/1.
JAMIE'S 2021-22 BIG BASH P/L
Points wagered: 11pts
Points returned: 9.5
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