Ed Hawkins analyses the top two as they clash in Perth on Wednesday and decides to side with the hosts who should be a little shorter in the betting...
"The absence of Siddle and return of Richardson could well be the deciding factor. That economy rate of Siddle’s could be sorely missed in a tight game"
Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers
Wednesday 25 January 08.40
TV: live on BT Sport
Scorchers have qualified for the business end of the Bash for the seventh-consecutive season and with a home semi-final already secured they can relax and continue to enjoy the farewell to the old Waca ground.
They have been boosted by the return of Jhye Richardson for this game. But there is no still no place for Shaun Marsh as Cricket Australia keep him on the sidelines because of a niggle.
Perth's seven wins from nine games is remarkable considering the squad upheaval and testament to Adam Voges's steady hand. Australia have called on no less than six players this summer. Later they will lose Ashton Agar for the T20s but they should regain Mitchell Marsh. Tim Bresnan remains available.
Last time out they ended the Hobart Hurricanes' resurgent run with a thrilling win at home. They chased 168. Ashton Turner, who is having a terrific season, hit 66 from 37 balls. Cameron Bancroft, who struggled in the Ashes, is enjoying the freedom of the Bash more.
Strikers also have a home semi-final booked and are missing key players. Travis Head, the skipper, is away with Australia while Peter Siddle has been rested.
Strikers' form has been built on a bedrock of bowling form, of which Siddle has been important. He has been the leader of an attack whose superstar is the unrivalled Afghan spinner, Rashid Khan.
Between them they have 22 wickets (Rashid 14, Siddle 8) and they have been meanness personified. Rashid's economy rate is 5.5 and Siddle's 5.8.
It is slightly disconcerting for Strikers to lose Head's runs. Before the tournament began it looked as though they were a batter short so a stigma remains even if Alex Carey and Colin Ingram have been excellent.
The scores at the Waca this term are: 142-167-185-167. The average is about 150 and 200 has only been busted once. That's largely due to Perth's brilliant bowling attack, though. To beat Scorchers batting first, Strikers are going to have to bust at least 175 one would have thought. That's a really tough ask.
Scorchers are [1.89] and Strikers [2.08]. That's a pretty good price about Scorchers considering their form and their superb record on their stomping ground. We should also point out that Scorchers taught the pretenders a lesson when they met in Alice Springs - winning by six wickets after they bowled them out for 112.
It should be a battle off the ball again, considering the wicket is not known for freescoring. So the absence of Siddle and return of Richardson could well be the deciding factor. That economy rate of Siddle's could be sorely missed in a tight game.
And considering the Strikers are much stronger with the ball than the bat, in form and personnel, it is a tough ask for them at the odds to upset a Scorchers team who have proven once again they're all-round masters.
Bancroft gets a [3.75] quote but Turner catches the eye at [5.4]. In the previous meeting Hilton Cartwright top-scored with an unbeaten 47 and Agar made an unbeaten 26. The pair are [4.4] and [12.0] respectively. Michael Klinger is [3.65] but his form has not been what it was. He has 174 runs. A good return for most mere mortals but Klinger has higher standards.
Carey, whose ton against Hobart caught the eye of the Australia selectors, is the top runscorer with 400. He is [3.5]. Ingram is [3.55]. It could be argued that it's a match bet between the two with Head missing. Carey top scored in the Alice Springs clash.
Head's six-hitting ability could be also missed and the 5/6 that Scorchers hit more with Sportsbook could be a bet. Head is responsible for ten of their maximums. Strikers have struck 53, including Head's count, and Scorchers 51.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l