Started off as the underdogs in this year's BBL, Sydney Thunder has done well to be in contention for the semi-final as they stand fifth in the points table at the moment. However, they would require a huge favour from other teams to qualify.
While results need to go in their favour, Thunder still have to win their last match at the Manuka Oval as they take on the table toppers, Hobart Hurricanes, in what promises to be a cracker of a match.
The Thunder could possibly field Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins in their final game as they seek to join their opponents in the top four. For the Hurricanes, the match could only serve the purpose of fine tuning their skills and tactics as they enter the business end of the tournament and add another win to their tally.
The Thunder have been light on batting resources since the departure of Jos Buttler and Joe Root but have had Shane Watson and Callum Ferguson find form over the course of the tournament with both of them scoring magnificent hundreds against Brisbane and Perth respectively. Usman Khawaja's impending selection could add much needed firepower at the top of the order and enable the Thunder to their bit as they seek for a miracle to make it to the semis.
Daniel Sams and Chris Jordan have been decent with the ball while Fawad Ahmed has picked up thirteen wickets so far to count amongst the best spinners in the competition. The addition of Pat Cummins for this match further strengthens their bowling and also beefs up their batting to a certain extent. If included, Cummins could be a tough customer to put away and also account for a couple of wickets at the start.
Expected Playing XI:
Shane Watson (C), Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Anton Devcich, Matt Gilkes (WK), Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Pat Cummins, Chris Jordan, Gurinder Sandhu, and Fawad Ahmed.
D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade have been remarkable throughout the tournament with 595 and 545 runs respectively to their names. Adding to their outstanding performances, the likes of George Bailey and Ben McDermott have also contributed with vital contributions with 273 and 279 runs from their limited opportunities. With a well balanced batting unit and more importantly an in-form unit, Thunder will have their task cut out bowling to them.
James Faulkner shouldn't feature in this match keeping the semi-finals in mind. Qais Ahmed gave a good account of himself on his BBL debut and would be lethal against the likes of Shane Watson and Callum Ferguson. The pace troika of Moody, Meredith, and Archer have done well in recent matches and will once again be pivotal to the Hurricanes hopes of ending the league campaign on a high.
Expected Playing XI:
Matthew Wade(C&WK), D'Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, George Bailey, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Jofra Archer, Clive Rose, Qais Ahmed, Riley Meredith, and David Moody.