Fireworks Expected at the SCG

Mitch Starc in action for Sydney Sixers against Adelaide strikers
Mitchell Starc has been in terrific form this year. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Fresh from taking out the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa, the Sydney Sixers  begin their Big Bash defence against cross-town rivals Sydney Thunder  at the SCG on Saturday night. As many as thirteen international players will be in action, but much of the focus will be on Sixers recruit David Warner, who has switched allegiances after being named the Thunder’s captain in their inaugural Big Bash campaign last season.

Warner  is likely to team up with former Australian wicketkeeper batsman Brad Haddin  at the top of the order, forming a dangerous opening partnership. Sri Lankan import Jeevan Mendis  – who replaces Michael Lumb as one of the sides international players for the first four matches – will make his Big Bash debut, although West Indies spinner Sunil Narine is still on national duty. Mitchell Starc has taken 57 wickets in just 27 Twenty20 matches in 2012 and will spearhead the attack alongside Brett Lee for the team in magenta, with Josh Hazelwood having been ruled out for at least a month with a foot injury.

Martin Guptill  fills in for Jamaican master blaster Chris Gayle as one of the Thunder’s two foreign players, while Pakistani allrounder Azhar Mahmood  fills the other slot. Usman Khawaja  is available for selection after being released from the Chairmans XI squad against the touring Sri Lankans. Left arm quick Dirk Nannes – the leading wicket taker in the history of T20 cricket with 191 scalps in 170 matches – will spearhead a youthful looking attack for the Western-Sydney based franchise.

Last season’s Sydney derby was curtailed by inclement weather, handing the Sixers a 17 run victory by Duckworth/Lewis method. That result kick-started a tremendous run that has seen the Sixers win eleven matches in a row at the Champions League Twenty20 and in the Big Bash. The two most recent Twenty20 matches at the SCG were won by the team batting first.

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