Brisbane Heat v Adelaide Strikers
Wednesday, January 12th, 08:15 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Heat hang on
It's not been the best of campaigns for Brisbane Heat but they are managing to hang on to the fifth and final playoff place. If Tom Cooper's men are to make it into the postseason, they will need to pick off struggling sides such as Adelaide Strikers.
Changes in personnel could affect the Heat's chances at this advanced stage as Brisbane have been forced to replace both Ben Duckett and Chris Lynn. Ultimately, the Heat went down to Hobart last time outbut it was a battling performance and one that was highlighted by 69 from Lachlan Pfeffer who was playing just his second T20 match.
At 30 years of age, Pfeffer isn't exactly one for the future and, while the Heat have a better record than their opponents, they have to depend on a patched up batting unit which is missing key players.
Strikers stutter to defeat
Adelaide Strikers kept the Melbourne Stars waiting until the final over before completing a five-wicket win on Monday but the result never really looked in doubt. The Strikers have now lost eight of their opening ten matches and remain rooted at the bottom of the table.
While a playoff slot isn't out of the question, the Adelaide franchise has never really looked like solid contenders. Rashid Khan has been expected to carry a bowling attack where the seamers have lacked penetration and have been too expensive as a unit.
There have been some bright spots in the batting; Jonathan Wells made 68 from 56 balls last time out, but no-one is scoring with any great consistency.
Heat seeking home comforts
The Gabba in Brisbane plays host for Wednesday's match with the Heat looking for home advantage to play a part. The statistics are against them: In three previous matches here, Brisbane have an imperfect record of three straight defeats.
The first two games followed a similar pattern of the Heat losing while chasing big totals. Last time out, the hosts lost after setting a sub par target of 144. With an impressive first innings average total of 182 from those three matches, it should be a day to bat first and bat big.
Brisbane may be ahead in the table but the Heat start as outsiders for this match at 2.166/5 The Strikers are in front at 1.814/5 but are not exactly convincing favourites based on their overall record.
This is a tough call and I wouldn't have been surprised if those figures had been reversed. The issue for Brisbane Heat is that they are missing so many key personnel. Lachlan Pfeffer was dusted off ahead of their previous game while Paddy Dooley was handed a debut at 24. These aren't exactly young, promising players with a big future.
The Strikers are unlikely to have been favourites against any other side. This won't be my most confident pick of BBL 11 but, based on the problems in the Brisbane camp, I'll tentatively get behind Adelaide.
The Strikers' batting unit should hold the key to this game. They are more settled with some capable, consistent players. They may lack the big names but one batter who impresses each year is Jake Weatherald.
He's yet to top score for Adelaide at BBL 11 but that run must come to an end and he's my recommended bet for Wednesday at 10/3. Other options include Matthew Short at 11/4, Jono Wells at 7/2 and Henry Hunt at 4/1.
If you're after a third pick, Jake Lehmann could be the man to offer resistance for Brisbane. An Odd Boost on the sportsbook takes him at 7/2 to be the Heat's top batsman or, in the #OddsOnThat section, you can get 12/5 on the two Jakes - Lehmann and Weatherald - to score at least 20 runs each.
Lehmann is someone who seems to have drifted off the radar after a bright start to his career but his 65 from 52 balls against the Renegades suggests he's ready to make up for lost time.