Will The Strikers Be Thunderstruck?

Picture: Mark Evans/news.com.au
Sydney Thunder has lost seven matches in a row. Picture: Mark Evans/news.com.au
The Sydney Thunder  will attempt to break a seven match losing streak that stretches back almost a year when it faces the Adelaide Strikers  at ANZ Stadium on Thursday. Strangely enough the side’s last win was here against Adelaide, on December 23 last year.

With just two wins from nine matches since the start of the inaugural Big Bash last summer, the Thunder has the worst record of any franchise in the competition and both of those wins came on the back of centuries from a star batsman. David Warner scored 102 not out when the Thunder beat the Melbourne Stars by 6 wickets in their first match, while Chris Gayle  hit an unbeaten ton in last season’s win against the Strikers. Gayle will be hoping to rediscover some of his best form and propel his side to victory after a series of below par performances, while captain Chris Rogers may rejig the batting order to put more firepower at the top. Azhar Mahmood  could be elevated to the top three after batting at five last week, while hard-hitting allrounder Simon Keen  could also earn a recall to add some impetus with Usman Khawaja in the Boxing Day Test squad as cover for injured skipper Michael Clarke. Scott Coyte is likely to play his first match of the season after recovering from injury.

Much like Sydney, the Strikers will be hoping that their top order can fire at ANZ Stadium. Phil Hughes was the match winner against the Scorchers in Perth but won’t play against the Thunder, who will be hoping that one of their openers will step up. Skipper Michael Klinger  has scored just 20 runs from his two visits to the crease so far, while youngster James Smith has been dropped after failing to flatter against Brisbane. Klinger top scored twice for his side last season and will want to get his team off to a good start so that they don’t have to rely on Callum Ferguson  and Kieron Pollard , who were the main contributors against the Heat. The big hitting West Indian has now scored 197 runs at an average of 49.25 in Australian domestic Twenty20 but needs more support from his top order. Shaun Tait could make his Strikers debut after being named in their 13 man squad for the match.

Despite having Chris Gayle in its ranks, Sydney has failed to register the highest 6 over score  in any of its past four matches. The absence of Usman Khawaja from the Thunder ranks could be a blessing in disguise for the hosts, with Mark Cosgrove or Rhett Lockyear candidates to replace the Test hopeful at the top of the order and provide a more explosive start.

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