Coaches got a good look at these two sides just a few nights ago but in a fantasy format where Neser and Lalor can combine for 244pts there is a strong argument to disregard any and all form, place players on your dart board and just have a few pings.
20 odd overs of spin coming up tonight which thus far has meant mass embarrassment from so-called top order batsmen who evidently can’t even hit the slower balls from the medium pacers let alone pick the wrong one from the spinners.
It will be a brave coach who stacks batting tonight; the best course is to spend up on your bowlers and bowling all-rounders. Might mean fading Watto but I can’t see more than 280 runs tonight so you’ll have to get pretty lucky to pick the eyes out of the batting to cash if you skimp on bowling.
Thunder: Buttler, Patterson, Watson, Ferguson, Rohrer, Gibson, Nair, Green, McCleneghan, Sandhu, Ahmed, (Fekete, Blizzard)
Hurricanes: Doolan, Short, McDermott, Bailey, Wade, Christian, Reardon, Archer, Rose, Boyce, Mills, (Milenko, Rogers)
Despite his best efforts Ryan Gibson will probably hold his spot here with the Thunder likely to take an unchanged side in. Expect 10-12 overs of spin at Spotless from the Thunder, with Watson only being used if Green or Sandhu start going the journey. If Sandhu is dropped for Blizzard, Watson will get 4 overs.
Reardon surely plays for the Hurricanes after that woeful batting collapse last game. With Rogers surplus to bowling requirements, and with three all-rounders in their side already, I expect they'll take Reardon in to bat #6 or #7 and make sure they are not four-out-all-out which is what they were last game.
The Hurricanes have a bowling attack that can bowl very very well here at Spotless; I can see Short and Christian both getting two overs on this pitch.
Six Good Nuts
Bowler – Fawad Ahmed
The only risk with Ahmed is if the Canes come out of the power play none or only one down. If that happens, Ahmed will pay the penalty having to bowl to set batmen. If you are fading the Hurricanes top order, or think they will lose early wickets, Ahmed is a must and can be banked on for 60-70pts minimum if the Canes finish the power play 3 or more down. Boyce is excellent value, and has been very unlucky first two.
Batsman - Callum Ferguson
With so much spin happening coaches will have to have a good look at which batsmen can actually bat as opposed to stand and deliver. Ferguson is the best batsmen in the game and plays spin better than anyone available here. Looks perfectly poised to come in around that 6-7 over mark when the spinners will start their middle overs, will knock it around and let the other Thunder batsmen try and clear the fence, then when the likes of Mills return Fergy can go hard late. That’s the plan at least.
All-Rounder – Jofra Archer
Can’t have Watto tonight. Just a little too expensive price wise which turns a quality batsmen into a Gibson or an Ahmed into a Sandhu which makes Watson need to score triple figures just to break even. Archer bowled without luck last game and still finished on 108pts. Had he been bowled in the second over (which he will tonight for sure) or had Mills not let that ground ball go to the fence, it would have been a different night. Can see him absolutely cleaning up here with the ball. They like his pinch hitting too late so expect him to come in at over 16 or 17 regardless of who is due in next.
Wicket Keeper – Ben McDermott
All three are viable options tonight. Buttler played well but he got Rogers second over which won’t happen again so I expect him to be under much more pressure early from the likes of Archer. Wade’s price coupled with his ability to sweep the spinners should appeal strongly to coaches and probably looms as the smart play in what is a tough contest cap wise. I’m taking McDermott though. He owes his team (and me) for last game after charging Sandhu – expect him to respect his wicket much more here and produce a score more akin to his first-up 50pts.
POD Pick – Dan Christian
Yes he looks more like Roger Murtaugh then Martin Riggs these days but if you were ever going to take him tonight is the night. Will be less than 15% owned and could easily sneak 2-3 overs in on a pitch that will suit his stump-to-stump bowling. His innings-saving knocks seem behind him but if he comes in at the appropriate time he can still find the fence and deliver some handy batting points. Always good for a catch too. Plenty of scope for a 60-70pt night at a good price.
Avoiding – Tom Rogers
Any coaches brave enough to give Rogers a second chance after his forgettable first up effort? Just 3pts on debut after a second-ball duck and a very forgettable 16.67 economy from his 3 overs so he is unlikely to have many fanciers and for good reason – half volleys aren’t the balls to bowl to international opening batsman! Doubt he plays but if he is retained for this clash the only reason you’d take him is to fit in two AR guns.