After losing their 100% record, Perth Scorchers face tough opponents in Melbourne Stars, who hit 200 last time out. Paul Krishnamurty expects more big scores from both sides...
"Joe Clarke looks underestimated, now he's found his touch. 4.57/2 for top scorer is big for an opener while 12.011/1 to be Man of the Match for the second game running appeals."
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars
Thursday, 08:15 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Scorchers usurped at top by Sixers after defeat
Perth Scorchers' 100% record was busted on Tuesday by Sydney Thunder, which means they've ceded top spot to Sydney Sixers on net run-rate, with Hobart Hurricanes now within striking distance, four points back. They will be hard to shift from the top-three. Nevertheless, with five play-off spots available, hope springs eternal for the rest as we approach the halfway stage.
One side with particular reason for renewed optimism is Melbourne Stars. Always among the big-guns but never champions, Stars produced their best performance of the season last time. An inspirational rescue job from Joe Clarke and Hilton Cartwright propelled them to 207, enabling a 20-run victory over Brisbane Heat.
Clarke finding his feet at last
Clarke's innings - his second good effort in succession - is a big bonus as the Englishman had started the season terribly. It wasn't all good news though. Marcus Stoinis was out for a duck, taking his tally to a miserable 65 from five innings. In fact besides Cartwright and Clarke, the rest contributed barely anything. We are yet to see this pedigree Stars line-up put it all together.
One important piece of team news for Stars. Andre Russell has completed his stint and Pakistan paceman Haris Rauf now comes into their 16-man squad. Given the relative profligacy of their bowlers, this is probably a gain. Rauf's death bowling at the World Cup was superb and he was named in both the 'Tournament XI's of Big Bash 9.
Treat Perth defeat as a blip
Scorchers' defeat can be attributed to three factors. First a Sam Billings-inspired comeback, putting on 113 for the third wickets, to take Thunder to that elusive 200 mark. Such totals are very rarely chased on Australian grounds. Second, a rare battering for their bowlers. Mitch Marsh went for 12.5, while Andrew Tye's nine balls went for a shocking 17.33.
Third a rare top order failure. Marsh, who has been in superb form, was out for just six whilst Josh Inglis failed again with a duck. We should take this as a blip. Colin Munro did perform, taking his combined tally with Marsh to a formidable 523 runs. Kurtis Patterson is also going well, averaging 39.0. Inglis (like Stoinis) will probably deliver soon and that side excluded Cameron Bancroft.
Marvel stats point towards high-scoring match
Today's venue is the Marvel Stadium - usually home to Melbourne Renegades and one of the few grounds where no toss bias is evident. Following yesterday's Hurricanes v Renegades match, defenders lead 13-11 over the last 24 matches here. Match odds rating Scorchers 1.758/11 chances compared to 2.35/4 for Stars, however, strike me as bang on the mark.
Hobart's 206 was the second first innings total over 200 and, as discussed above, clearly both these sides are capable of reaching it. Six of the last nine were above 170 so the par line deserves to be around there, perhaps even 175. Another indication is higher than usual Sixes line of 12.5.
If that is so, the 'Both Teams to Score' odds may offer some value. From 170 to 200, those odds are 4.03/1, 8.07/1, 15.014/1 and 34.033/1. Granted such outcomes are rare but remember the results at this ground usually involve the dismal Renegades - wooden spooners for the last two years and on course for a third.
Given two quality batting line-ups, it is plausible both score high. The 180s bet has won in three of the last 15 here so is returning better than the 8.07/1 odds already. Try the 190 line at 15.014/1 too for the big win.
Clarke and Mills appeal in side markets
Regarding Top Team Runscorer, the two Oddsboost batsmen are Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis, enhanced to 3.55/2 and 3.7511/4 respectively. The former is a skinny 5.59/2 to be Man of the Match.
In both markets for Stars, Joe Clarke looks underestimated, now he's found his touch. 4.57/2 for top scorer is big for an opener while 12.011/1 to be Man of the Match for the second game running appeals. He was in contention for the award in the previous match too before getting out on 52.
Finally, I like 4.03/1 about Tymal Mills to be Top Perth Wicket Taker. Fair odds about an elite death bowler, which would have yielded around a 30% profit so far if backing in all of this four matches.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
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