With a single from the final ball of the match the Thunder were able to pull off a thrilling one-run win on Tuesday night – the fact it came against cross-town rivals, the Sydney Sixers, making it all the sweeter.
Thunder captain Shane Watson led from the front with a dominant 77 and his side was able to overcome its underdog status to shock the competition, chasing down 149.
Can they repeat the feat against the Strikers at Adelaide Oval?
We don’t think so.
The Strikers may not be one of the championship fancies this summer, but they’ll be a hard team to overlook this season, particularly when they’re hosting in front of a big crowd at Adelaide Oval.
The bookies agree. Despite their unbeaten form, the Thunder will go into the match as the $2.10 underdog at WilliamHill.com.au, while the Strikers sit at $1.73.
The Strikers may not be filled with the big-name talent they have enjoyed in the past, but there is cause for optimism in the city of churches.
A revitalised Peter Siddle is a coup for a team needing a veteran to spearhead a bowling attack featuring young quicks Wes Agar and Billy Stanlake, while a lot will be asked of Travis Head and South African import Colin Ingram with the bat.
One thing to take from the Thunder’s opening match is that this team will go as far as their captain takes them. Should Shane Watson defy an ageing body and continue his hot form at the top of the order, the men in the fluro green will shock a few teams this season – but if the BBL has taught us anything, it’s that you won’t go far if you’re dependent on just one man.
Highest run-scorer betting – Strikers vs. Thunder
He may not have the power to bludgeon an attack like some of the competition’s biggest hitters, but Travis Head knows how to find the boundary and will enjoy the responsibility of leading this batting unit.
Head is one of the best players square of the wicket in the Australian domestic scene and conveniently for him, the Adelaide Oval has some of the shortest square boundaries of any ground in the competition.
How do you go past the only Sydney Thunder batsmen that looks like topping 20 runs on any given night?
Watson may have made Australians rip their hair out for a decade watching him bat in test matches, but there’s no doubt that even in retirement, he’s a class above in the T20 game.
After a classy 77 in the opening match, we’re tipping Watto to go big again for the Thunder and give his side a hope of causing another upset.
Strikers vs. Thunder most wickets betting
Beware the forgotten Victorian who’s desperate to force himself back into the international squad.
Peter Siddle will open the bowling for the Strikers at a venue where he enjoyed a lot of success playing for Australia. Fully fit again after a year of niggles and desperate to make his mark, we think Siddle is a great bet for the match and the whole season’s wicket tally leaders.
He may not have played a lot of short-form cricket, but make no mistake, all of his skills will translate well to T20. Get in early before the price comes way down.
The big and burly New Zealander, Mitch McClenaghan, took two wickets and impressed in his debut for the Thunder in its opening match and looks a real find for his franchise.
In a competition where bowlers like to play it safe, McCleneghan’s aggression will be a real weapon this season. Look for him to feature prominently again.
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