Sydney Sixers return to action against Brisbane Heat and Matt Harris expects their departing English opening batter to make the biggest contribution.
"Having taken the Sixers all the way down to the wire, Brisbane have some momentum following that important win over Hobart."
Brisbane Heat v Sydney Sixers
Tuesday January 4th, 08:15 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Heat breeze past the Hurricanes
It's been a mixed start for Brisbane Heat but victory over Hobart on Saturday has lifted Jimmy Peirson's side back into playoff contention. The Heat have picked up just three wins from eight games but fast starts have produced five boost points in that time.
There have been two main issues in those opening matches: While the top four, including the innovative Ben Duckett, have been in reasonable touch, the latter batsmen have struggled. In the bowling department, a potentially potent spin attack including Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman had been largely ineffective.
Against the Hurricanes, the lower order produced a salvage operation with James Bazley making 44 at number eight. Mujeeb was player of the match with 3/20 so perhaps Brisbane are in good shape for a late charge.
Sixers back after unscheduled break
Rain prevented Sydney Sixers from taking to the field in their New Year's Day clash with Melbourne Renegades. It was a frustrating day for Moises Henriques' men who were set to capitalize against the bottom side and have since lost top spot to the Perth Scorchers.
I was on duty for that cancelled game and there's not much more to add to my previous thoughts. With six wins from their initial seven matches, the Sixers have impressed in both departments and needed to dig deep for their last ball win over Brisbane.
There's good balance in the batting and bowling units and the top order, who had failed against the Heat last time out, have an early chance for revenge.
Watch the weather on the Gold Coast
Every time I preview I check the weather but the grimmer forecasts rarely deliver on their gloomy promises. Saturday was one of those rare occasions and there is a suggestion of more rain and another frustrating day for the Sixers.
The Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast is the intended destination as it aims to host just its second game of BBL 11. The first match, played back on December 13th, resulted in a comfortable five-wicket win for the Heat inside 17 overs.
Melbourne Renegades posted just 140 in that game and, if we get a full 40 overs, the side taking first knock should be looking at 165+ on a faster surface.
Sydney Sixers are playing stronger opponents on Tuesday but the match result market is similar to the one listed ahead of the washed out Renegades game. Sixers start as clear favourites at 1.654/6 while Brisbane Heat are out at 2.486/4.
There are more threats inside this improving Heat camp. Having taken the Sixers all the way down to the wire, Brisbane have some momentum following that important win over Hobart. Improvements have come in those key areas and the odds could have been closer.
The weather may also play a part but I'll keep faith with an impressive Sixers side who have largely been dominant since a record 152-run win against the Stars on the opening day of the tournament.
James Vince was my pick to top score for Sydney last time out and there's no reason for me to change. The opener is set to join up with England's limited overs squad shortly but he has at least one last chance to impress after a mixed campaign.
Vince has shortened marginally from 16/5 to 3/1 but remains a good option at that figure. Other selections include the favourite Josh Philippe at 23/10 plus Moises Henriques at 16/5 and Daniel Hughes at 11/2.
Ben Duckett won't be leaving the tournament for international duty even though he's been one of the most consistent English limited overs batsmen in the last 12 months. Don't get me started on England's selection issues as your read time will significantly exceed four minutes but just take a look at Duckett to be Brisbane's most influential batter.
The left hander is at 3/1 to top score for the Heat while there are several options in the #OddsOnThat section which carry his name. If you agree that the two Englishmen will be the most potent batters, odds of 13/1 on Duckett and Vince to both score half centuries could be the way to go.
Matt Harris' BBL P/L
Staked: 15pts Returns: 12.41pts P/L: -2.59pts
Get a Free £5 Bet – Every Day!
Stake £20 on multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply. And we will also be offering No Cash Out suspensions on all match odds bets on the Sportsbook for the Big Bash.