Two teams with poor starts to BBL 10 face off in Perth and Matt Harris is backing the Scorchers to keep their playoff hopes alive...
"with Jason Roy finding his touch with 49 from 32 balls, things are looking a little brighter for the three-time BBL winners."
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades
Sunday January 3rd, 08:05 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Scorchers strike at last
They're the most successful team in Big Bash history but Perth Scorchers had to wait until their fifth game of the tournament to record their first win of the current campaign. The victory over Adelaide Strikers was a comfortable one and with Jason Roy finding his touch with 49 from 32 balls, things are looking a little brighter for the three-time BBL winners.
Replacing Michael Klinger, a man who sits in fifth place in the all-time list of Big Bash leading run scorers, was never going to be easy but Perth may now have the winning formula. Liam Livingstone is out of quarantine and in for Joe Clarke who had struggled and, with Mitchell Marsh and Josh Ingliss making runs against Adelaide, the Scorchers might just have the momentum to edge into the playoff slots.
Renegades wretched run continues
It's been a tournament to forget for the Melbourne Renegades who lost their fifth match in succession against Sydney Thunder on New Year's Day. Aaron Finch's men started brightly enough with a victory over Perth Scorchers in the reverse fixture but the subsequent winless run includes sizeable defeats and two humiliating totals of 60 and 80.
Renegades are adrift at the bottom but there's still time and the side made a respectable total of 166/6 in 17 overs against the Thunder. The intervention of DLS was, however, always going to favour the chasing team and Shaun Marsh's 87 from 48 balls was something of a lone effort among a struggling top order.
Home comforts for Perth?
BBL 10 has been on a circuitous journey around Australia and it now reaches the Optus Stadium in Perth for the first time this season. If there is any home advantage in the shortest form of the game, the Scorchers will be looking to build on that opening win on a day where the weather is expected to allow for a full 40 overs.
In 2019/20, the surface produced an average first innings score of 169 and that figure is slightly skewed by Perth's effort of 86 against the Stars. On one of the higher scoring grounds in the tournament, five of the seven matches went with the side batting first.
Both teams have similar records coming into this match but we have one of the biggest gaps in the match betting so far. Perth are in the clear at odds of 1.674/6 for the win while Melbourne Renegades are some way back at 2.3211/8.
The numbers have more to do with the Renegades' poor form than any consistent returns on the part of the Scorchers but the market has probably called it correctly. I feel that Perth have now got the right starting XI and with key players such as Jason Roy and Jhye Richardson finding their touch, the favourites should convert.
Liam Livingstone played the role of a rare, patient foil to the explosive Jason Roy last time out. He also, technically failed, making just eight from 13 balls but it did take a wonder catch from Alex Carey to send the opener back to the dugout.
Livingstone might look subdued but we should remember his four half centuries at BBL 9 and he will come good at some stage. While Roy leads the way at 13/5 in Perth's top batsman market, Livingstone is out at a tempting 7/2 and is our recommended bet in this match. Other options include Josh Ingliss who is also at 7/2 while Colin Munro is at 4/1 and Mitchell Marsh at 6/1.
While we've focused on Jason Roy's efforts with the bat, Jhye Richardson's figures of 3/19 claimed the man of the match award in that win over Adelaide. The seamer is another pivotal figure moving forward and he's one to watch in Perth's top bowler market at 11/4. The six hitting market is one that I like to consider as it often favours the outside bet and the Renegades may offer good value here at 13/10.
I'll stay with two selections as it's working up to this point but there's always plenty of scope for more picks in the prop markets.
Matt Harris' BBL P/L