Thunder Unleashes Mystery Man On Champs

Image courtesy of skysports.com
Ajantha Mendis averages 13 with the ball in T20 cricket. Image courtesy of skysports.com

Brisbane Heat started its first two Big Bash campaigns slowly before storming home, but BBL03 seems to be going from bad to worse for the reigning champion. Not only did Heat have record scores smashed against it in consecutive losses, Brisbane’s run chase against the Sixers failed thanks to Jordan Silk’s stunning catch and a failure to insert Ben Cutting in to the action earlier in the innings. Now, number three Joe Burns has succumbed to a hamstring injury and will miss the next two matches.

Burns has been solid averaging almost 30 this season, but his absence will force a number of players to shuffle up the order, or Peter Forrest may come in as a direct swap. Coach Stuart Law might finally realise Cutting’s potential with the bat in this format and elevate the fast bowler to a spot where he can make more of an impact. He has hit 62 off 29 balls in three innings with seven 6s so far. In saying that, Brisbane needs so much more from its top order players, and in particular opener Luke Pomersbach who has just 44 runs in four digs in BBL03 at the sluggish strike-rate of 78; a far cry from the player who set the competition alight last season.

If Heat thinks it has problems, then what do you say about Sydney Thunder . Not even the inclusion of Mike Hussey and England’s T20 gun Eoin Morgan have managed to get Thunder over the line in a match this campaign with the team’s losing streak stretching to 17. Thunder certainly hasn’t been blown off the park, as it was at times last Big Bash, but the Sydneysiders just haven’t performed at crunch time in their matches so far. Hussey has scored 85 and 66 in his two knocks at his new home ground, to date.

Morgan has played his final game for the team while Chris Woakes has also been called up to his country’s one-day side, further weakening Thunder for Wednesday night’s clash. Sri Lanka mystery man Ajantha Mendis joins up with the team for his first match in green. The Stadium Australia track hasn’t seen many spin bowlers this season, although Johan Botha and Glenn Maxwell both went for less than a run-a-ball in their outings, but neither is in the class of Mendis. He comes to Australia after a couple of appearances in the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. The team’s other import, Tillakeratne Dilshan , will provide a boost to Thunder if he can fire with bat and ball, but he hasn’t managed to do much with either in his first two appearances.

Last time these teams met, Brisbane won easily thanks mainly to Dan Christian’s five-wicket haul and an unbeaten 51 from Chris Lynn . None of Australia's Test stars will make an appearance in this match, although Thunder gets Usman Khawaja back from injury. 

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