January 1: Brisbane Heat v Perth Scorchers in Carrara
Our XI: Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Lynn, Josh Inglis, Ashton Turner, Chris Jordan, Mitchell Swepson, Jhye Richardson, Liam Livingstone, Sam Heazlett, Ben Cutting
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant updates)
Captain: Chris Lynn
Lynn went berserk against the Sydney Sixers in the Heat’s last match and appears in top nick. The Carrara surface is conducive to those who bat at the top of the order – picking from the top three is a safe bet anyway – and if Lynn can carry that rhythm into this game, it doesn’t need to be stated how much value he would bring as captain.
Vice-captain: Matt Renshaw
Renshaw has looked at home in his middle-order role and even offers a bowling option in T20s these days. He made an impressive unbeaten half-century against the Sixers and has taken a wicket in each of his last two games. For consistency and multi-dimensionality, Renshaw is a good pick.
Jordan has been the Scorchers’ best bowler so far, and barring the 48 runs he conceded against the Adelaide Strikers, has been consistently reliable. He has been taking wickets in clusters of at least two so far. A no-brainer pick when the Scorchers play.
Much like Lynn, Mitchell Marsh can bring points in buckets if he’s in form. And he has looked in good touch even if the scores aren’t quite there after his blistering fifty against the Melbourne Renegades. The Scorchers’ top order still has a wobbly feel to it and they will expect their captain to do something about that.
With five wickets in three matches, Swepson has made a solid impact on the season so far. Despite a rather expensive spell against the Melbourne Stars where he went for 37, his economy for the season sits at 7.5. Against some compulsive big-hitters, he is a wicket-taking option.
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Liam Livingstone: Livingstone has blown hot and blown cold this season but is one of the most effective T20 players going around. He is experienced, he is not in particularly bad form, and his innovation when he gets past the early overs as a top-order batsman puts him in good shape for big runs whenever he makes a start.
Ben Cutting: Cutting isn’t having a rip-roaring season by any means, but that is precisely how his role has evolved in the last two or three years. He is in the team for the pressure situations, and he often delivers. When a game gets tight, as it could when two teams with his much firepower face off, Cutting will be summoned in either innings. He remains an alluring value option.
Points to note
There is tremendous batting power in both teams, but the Carrara Oval has not traditionally seen gigantic totals. The highest target set here in six matches is 175. Having said that, it was set just four days ago, and the second-highest target of 168 also came in this edition of the BBL.
The Scorchers have only one win this season in four matches, and head into this in somewhat desperate circumstances. A win gives them breathing space, but won’t be easy to come by because the Heat are the ones just above them on the table.
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