15/04/2024

Who will win the battle between the two Sydney teams? (Photo: Sydney Thunder)

The Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers will go head-to-head on Saturday in the Sydney Derby with bragging rights and a finals spot on the line.

In the second Sydney Derby of the 2022-23 Big Bash League season, the Sydney Sixers will take on the Sydney Thunder at home at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground. The match has been dubbed the East vs the West, with the Sixers representing the East and the Thunder the West.

Not only will the winner gain bragging rights over their inner-state rivals but will also provide them with a confidence boost heading into the BBL finals.

The last time the two teams met was on January 8 at Spotless Stadium. The Sixers dominated the clash with Player of the Match Sean Abbott leading the team to a seven-wicket win. However, Australian internationals David Warner and Steve Smith had yet to rejoin their respective sides in the BBL.

Sean Abbott kicked the game off by trapping Alex Hales on his crease with a peach to dismiss him LBW for 0. Abbott would go on to take two more wickets, with Ben Dwarshuis picking up two of his own. Sam Whiteman and Alex Ross anchored the innings with scores above 30 to get them to a total of 133.

Chasing the runs, the Sydney Sixers never seemed in doubt of achieving the total. Half-centuries to captain Moises Henriques and Jordan Silk provided them with an easy win with 22 balls to spare.

This time the Sydney Thunder are eyeing revenge over their rivals. Speaking in the lead-up to the game, David Warner spoke about how the Thunder can win.

“To win the Sydney Smash we have to come out with a great, positive attitude and mindset,” Warner said.

“We have to start well with the bat or the ball – whichever we do first – and from there it is energy in the ring, and energy with the bat.”

Since his return to the Big Bash this season, David Warner has struggled with the bat. In three innings, he has only managed 45 runs which include one six and a strike rate of 100. Warner will be looking for a big inning on Saturday as he competes against his old team.

“I think it’s just east versus west, isn’t it? That’s how it has always been. It’s a great spectacle, we know both teams love that rivalry, and we can’t wait to get out there and play each other,” he said.

With Warner not having the best return to the BBL, the Thunder have had to rely on their younger stars. Oliver Davis is one player that fans should keep an eye on during the Sydney Derby.

Davies has been one of the stand-out performers in the BBL competition this season. He has scored 323 runs at an average of 32.30 runs a game. Through these batting innings, he has held a strike rate of 141.05, hitting 39 boundaries.

While Warner is aiming to finally get a big inning under his belt and settle doubters, Australian teammate Steve Smith is coming off a century against the Adelaide Strikers and is in terrific form.

“I’m just going out and playing and doing my best and I guess we’ll wait and see what the future holds,” Smith said.

“It’s not about me or him [David Warner], it’s about the two franchises coming up against one another and there’s always been that crosstown rivalry so it should be a good night.”

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Currently, in 2nd position behind the Perth Scorchers, the Sixers need to win against the Thunder if they have any chance of overtaking the Scorchers. Smith will be looking to add another century to his resume against his international teammate.

Not known for his ability in Twenty20 games, Smith was not chosen to represent Australia in the T20 World Cup that just went past. So far in the competition, he has shown selectors why they should have selected him

Even though he has played one less innings than Warner, he has nearly tripled his amount of runs. Smith has opened the batting for the Sixers and scored 129 runs at a strike rate of 154.37, which included nine fours and nine sixes.

“I like it up top, who wouldn’t want to open in T20 cricket,” he said.

“It gives you a chance to play the ball as you see it early on, get yourself in and then once the fielders go out, you’re in and ready to play your shots.”

The Sydney Derby will be live on FoxSports on Saturday night with the game beginning at 19:05 AEDT at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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