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Sydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder Preview: Derby clash could be a classic

Sydney Sixers face Sydney Thunder on Saturday in what looks set to be a crunch clash as the end of the regular season gets ever closer.

It is a much-anticipated encounter with Australia team-mates Steve Smith and David Warner set to come up against each other.

Both teams come into the match in good form with the Sixers scorching up the table thanks to a four-match winning run, including Tuesday’s 59-run triumph against Adelaide Strikers, while the Thunder thrashed Melbourne Renegades by eight wickets on Thursday.

The Sixers made a poor start to the campaign but have only lost one of their last 10 encounters.

In-form Sixers may just have the edge

WhatSydney Sixers v Sydney Thunder
WhereSydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
When19:05, Saturday 21st January 2023
How to watchFox Cricket, Kayo
OddsSydney Sixers 13/20,  Sydney Thunder 5/4

Sublime Smith could make the difference

Smith was in brilliant form against Adelaide, scoring a magnificent 101 from just 56 balls, and the 33-year-old can be backed at 7/2 to be Top Match Batter in the game against Sydney Thunder.

The former Australia captain had been playing in only his second game back from a three-year BBL hiatus, but equalled his highest score in T20 cricket in the game. He also shared in a partnership with Kurtis Patterson (43) that was the largest of the BBL summer.

It was quite a performance from Smith whose T20 credentials have been questioned in the past. He was left out of Australia's side for all bar one game during last year's World Cup on home soil and the Baggy Greens are not scheduled to play a T20 international until September in South Africa.

With the ball, Sean Abbott is 4/1 to be the Top Match Bowler in the Sydney derby.

For Sydney Thunder, Oliver Davies has already scored three half-centuries in this season’s BBL and he is 6/1 to be the Top Match Batter on Saturday. Davies has already hit 16 sixes in the BBL this season.

Meanwhile, Nathan McAndrew has taken an impressive 13 wickets in his nine games in BBL12.

Thunder close in on play-offs

The Sixers have already qualified for the play-offs while a victory for Sydney Thunder in Saturday's derby clash would put them on course to join their city rivals.

Sydney Sixers are aiming to reach their fourth successive BBL final while Thunder had been on a poor run before beating Melbourne Renegades.

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Friday's Big Bash League previews: Strikers in need of a boost

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon missed Sydney Sixers’ victory against Adelaide Strikers because of a knee injury and he is expected to sit out this game as well in the hope that he is fit enough to feature in the play-offs.

Sydney Thunder once again look set to be without Gurinder Sandhu who is struggling with a calf injury so the 22-year-old batsman Blake Nikitaras, who made his BBL debut in the win over Melbourne Renegades, is expected to keep his place.

Opener Matthew Gilkes scored 74 not out in the win against the Renegades, which was a vital victory as Thunder had come into that match in danger of missing out on the play-offs after losing their previous three games.

Sixers have the edge in head-to-heads

Sydney Sixers have won six of the last eight Sydney derbies and also lead Sydney Thunder 15-7 in the overall head-to-head record. The Sixers beat Thunder by seven wickets when they played each other earlier this month.

Jordan Silk has scored over 300 runs already this season for the Sixers while Warner is always a potential match-winner for Sydney Thunder. Silk is available at 14/1 to be the Top Match Batter while Warner can be backed at 4/1.

Hayden Kerr has taken 14 wickets for the Sixers this season while Ben Dwarshuis has the capacity to be a match-winner as he showed when he took a superb 4-17 against the Melbourne Renegades in December.

Sydney Thunder’s Daniel Sams has taken five wickets in his last two BBL games while Brendan Doggett took the key wicket of opener James Vince in the last Sydney derby.

It has all the makings of a tight and intriguing encounter with a capacity crowd set to enjoy a brilliant occasion.

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