The second season of the Big Bash League is upon us and around the country crowds will flock to see the big hits and non-stop action. We’ll have coverage of Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers from 9.00pm AEDT.
We’ve already had the Melbourne and Sydney derbies and two more matches complete the opening round today.
Today’s match of the day comes from Perth’s WACA ground. Just a week ago, the venue saw South Africa turn on a dominant Test performance.
Now the whites are gone, replaced by colours, and the international teams are replaced by domestic franchises.
For the locals the road to redemption begins tonight. Last year the Scorchers took all before them to qualify for a home final, but it all came unstuck for them when they were stunned in the final by the red-hot Sydney Sixers.
For the Scorchers further bad news was to come in the Champions League tournament in South Africa, when they failed to get past the group stage in a disastrous tour noted more for off-field indiscretions than any decent cricket.
Many of the Scorchers players represent Western Australia in Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup cricket in what has been a horrible season to date.
And to make matters worse, the Scorchers have been struck down by the injury curse, with Mitchell Marsh and Pat Cummins ruled out of the tournament.
But the Scorchers aren’t to be written off. There’s plenty of quality in this line-up.
Simon Katich lives in Sydney these days, but returns to his original home town of Perth to captain the side. Former South African international Herschelle Gibbs comes to Australia to play in this tournament.
The likes of Marcus North, Adam Voges and Michael Beer have fallen out of favour with the Australian selectors; but will be looking to put in strong performances to press their case for re-inclusion.
The Scorchers also have in their number Nathan Coulter-Nile, an up-and-coming pace bowler who looks to have a bright future in front of him.
Brad Hogg was a revelation last summer, coming out of retirement and bowling so impressively that he found himself back in the Australian team.
And for one night only Test legend Michael Hussey will make an appearance for the Scorchers.
And what of their opponents, the Adelaide Strikers?
Their first season last year wasn’t particularly impressive. But they have high hopes for a vastly improved showing this year.
At the top of the batting order is one of their key reasons for optimism.
Phillip Hughes, twice discarded from the Australian Test team, didn’t play in last year’s Big Bash.
But this season has seen Hughes dominate domestic cricket, looking so impressive that he’s forced his way back in for a third stint in the baggy green when the upcoming series against Sri Lanka gets under way.
Johan Botha flew in from South Africa to be a marquee player in last year’s Big Bash. This year he’ll play a more settled role.
Now residing in Adelaide, and captaining the Redbacks in the Sheffield Shield and Ryobi Cup, he’ll be feeling at home in his surroundings and ready to perform.
West Indian entertainer Kieron Pollard will wear the Strikers’ colours this season.
Former Australian internationals Andrew McDonald and Callum Ferguson will be keen to impress. And to start the innings in the field, injury-prone tearaway Shaun Tait will be looking to send some thunderbolts down the pitch.
Nathan Lyon has cemented his place in the Australian Test team, and so will only be available for the Strikers for this match.
The Scorchers won the only previous meeting between the two sides, a 43-run margin at the WACA last season. But with the Strikers looking stronger this year, and the Scorchers weaker, a closer contest is expected this time.
Join us here on The Roar from 9.00pm AEDT as we describe the action. Post your thoughts and observations as the action unfolds; in what is sure to be an entertaining and big-hitting contest.