BBL08 begins at the Gabba as the Brisbane Heat take on the last seasons premiers, the Adelaide Strikers. For the home side, they ended BBL07 with 4 straight defeats in a fairly poor season. So they should be keen for a fresh start in this contest. The key will be getting runs on the board through Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum at the top of the order. Lynn only played 5 games last season but he loves bashing sixes at the Gabba. McCullum played all 10 games but scored just 248 runs at an average of 24.8. So in a tough matchup against the Strikers bowling lineup, the Heat top order will need to score 170+ if they bat first. The Strikers will be missing Travis Head and that sees them as underdogs in the betting. However, they have the depth to cover Head and they also enjoy playing at the Gabba. In Big Bash history, they’re yet to lose at this venue in the 3 games these two sides have played here. Last seasons meeting was played in Adelaide and the Strikers comfortably defended 147 by bowling the Heat out for 91. So I think the Heat will struggle for runs again as they face a tough test against the likes of Stanlake/Rashid Khan. While the Strikers will miss the batting of Travis Head, Alex Carey and Weatherald will provide enough cover. They both scored over 380 runs last season and it’s hard to forget Weatherald’s 115 in the final last season. In the end, I like the chances of an upset in the first game because of the Strikers bowling advantage and their record at the Gabba.
Adelaide is undefeated at the Gabba in 3 games. Brisbane has lost its last 2 games at home.
Head to Head Record
The Strikers are 4-3 against the Heat and have won 3 of the last 4 clashes.
In game 2 on Thursday, the Renegades and Scorchers will start their BBL campaign in Melbourne. The home side will be missing Aaron Finch and they have lost Dwayne Bravo to the Stars in the offseason. So they will place even more reliable on Cameron White to score the majority of their runs. In 8 games last season, he scored 304 runs at an average of 76. But this looks like a tough challenge for the Renegades as they face the Scorchers bowling lineup. There is no Mitch Johnson this season but their fast bowling depth is good enough to cover him. Andrew Tye is coming off 16 wickets in just 6 games last season and the return of Jason Behrendorff from injury will be good news for Perth. Throw in Coulter-Nile and Jhye Richardson, on paper the Scorchers have arguably the best bowling stocks in the competition. There’s also the fact that the Scorchers have owned the Renegades with 8 straight wins since 2010. They’ve also won 4 in a row against them in Melbourne. So with the Renegades batting lineup under strength for this clash, I can see the Scorchers starting the season with a fairly comfortable win.
Melbourne have lost 3 games in a row at Marvel Stadium. The Scorchers are 4-0 at this venue since 2010.
Head to Head Record
The Scorchers are 8-0 against the Renegades since 2010.
On Friday, the Thunder will host the Stars in a battle of two disappointing teams from last season. The Stars went just 2-8 and the Thunder won 4 of 10. But a new season will give each side a fresh start and they’ll both be desperate to start 1-0. The good news for the Thunder is they have won 4 in a row against the Stars and we don’t mind their chances of making it 5. They have a very experienced lineup for this clash as they’ve recruited Joe Root and Jos Buttler is back for another season. He lit up the Big Bash in the few games he played so the Stars bowling lineup will need to be on their game. Adding to the batting strength will be Shane Watson and he’s coming off another impressive Big Bash season (331 runs). Bowling wise, the Thunder are expected to struggle but the spin options of Nair and Ahmed should be the difference in this matchup. It should be a better season for the Stars as they’ve added Dwayne Bravo and Nic Maddinson joins from the Sixers. Glenn Maxwell will captain the side and he’s coming off 299 runs in 9 games last season. But the problem for the Stars was taking wickets and that will probably hurt them against the Thunder batting lineup. Hastings was their leading wicket-taker (10 wickets) last season and he’s now retired. So it’s up to the likes of Bird and Boland to get early wickets. In the end, we like this home matchup for the Thunder as their batting lineup should out perform the Stars. There’s also an injury concern for Marcus Stoinis and that’s a big blow for the Stars.
The Stars are yet to play at this venue. In Canberra, the Thunder lost against the Renegades by 9 runs in late January.
Head to Head Record
Sydney Thunder are 4-0 against the Stars and chased down 147 in the last contest at the MCG. In NSW, the Thunder also won the last meeting.
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