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Big Bash League: Sixers targeting final number seven

The Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat are set to battle it out for the right to play the Perth Scorchers in Saturday night’s Big Bash League Final at Optus Stadium.

The Scorchers made the final after beating the Sixers last weekend and can now sit back, relax and watch Thursday night’s clash which will determine who they will meet in the big dance.

The Sixers, who get a second chance, have also had a short break and will now be ready to fire against a Brisbane Heat side that edged out the Melbourne Renegades to set up the ‘Challenger’ showdown.

Sydney are the hot fancies to progress but T20 cricket can be unpredictable and shock results do happen of course. The Heat have shown on more than one occasion in BBL12 that they are up for the fight and they will be again in this do-or-die encounter.

They will have to do it without three influential players, but their replacements will be fired up and raring to go. Sydney will also have to do without Steve Smith, but will be confident of having enough in the locker to get themselves through to the final. Excitement is building so let’s take a closer look at the ‘Challenger’ showdown.

What:Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat
Where:SCG, Sydney
When:19:15 (AEST) Thursday 2nd February 2023
How to watch:Channel 7, Foxtel Go, Kayo Sports
Odds:Sixers 27/50, Heat 6/4

Sixers missing Smith

The Sixers have a very proud tradition in the Big Bash League and will be out to make the final for the seventh time in the history of the competition. They have won the title on three occasions and after the Perth Scorchers are the most successful side in BBL history.

Sydney lost the final against the Scorchers last year and are gunning for revenge. However they cannot look too far ahead and first must concentrate on getting past the Brisbane Heat. The Sixers have been in very impressive form once again this campaign.

The defeat against the Scorchers was a rare one and they will be hoping to resume normal service against the Heat. Steve Smith failed to deliver for once against the Scorchers but was in special form before that game when scoring runs for fun. 346 runs in five games to be precise.

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Perth Scorchers the team to beat

He will not be available for the rest of the tournament as he has flown out to India with the rest of the Australian Test side. They will be big shoes to fill but the Sixers have a list packed full of quality and should be able to cope.

There is talk of Daniel Hughes returning to the side to make just his fourth appearance of the competition, while Kurtis Patterson opening the innings is also another option. The Sixers do have plenty of runs in them. Skipper Moises Henriques has starred this season but it is Jordan Silk who leads the run-scoring charts with 353 runs so far.

Silk is priced at 9/2 to be Sydney’s highest run-scorer against the Heat, the same price as Henriques. When it comes to taking the all-important wickets, Sean Abbott has been the main man for the Sixers. Indeed he is the star man in the whole comp when taking 28 wickets so far.

Abbott is priced at 9/4 to be their leading wicket-taker once again.

Heat without star trio

The Sixers may be missing Smith, but the Heat have an even bigger void to fill as three Australian Test players have also jetted off to India. Usman Khawaja has been a revelation when opening the batting and was key once again in the victory over the Renegades.

He scored a crucial 59 runs as they chased down a target of 162. Matt Renshaw, who chipped in with 27 not-out to help the Heat over the line will also be missing. So will Marnus Labuschagne so it goes without saying those three will be a huge loss.

The trio played a massive role in helping the Heat recover from a poor start to the campaign to make it this far. Replacing them is an impossible task pretty much. However the Heat will give it a good go and the players that come in will be fired up.

Nathan McSweeney, Max Bryant and Sam Heazlett are the players that look set to get the nod. The Heat do have winning momentum on their side and they also have plenty of quality. The bowling attack has been impressive with Michael Neser taking 24 wickets.

He is priced at 12/5 to be the Heat’s top man. However he has also been well supported by James Bazley, Xavier Bartlett and Spencer Johnson. They will all need to shine again if the Heat are to have a chance.

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