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  1. Cricket

Big Bash League: Scorchers too hot for injury-hit champions?

After two months and 60 matches of thrilling T20 action, the Big Bash has reached its climax with the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers lining up in the final at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

It's a repeat of last year's final which the Sixers won and Moises Henriques' men are chasing a three-peat, having triumphed in 2020 as well.

But the odds suggest they are going to have their work cut out to deny Perth Scorchers, who topped the league and beat their opponents by 48 runs in Saturday's Qualifier match.

It's 2/5 the Scorchers, 2/1 the Sixers, with whoever wins becoming the first franchise to win the Big Bash for a fourth time.

The Scorchers and the Sixers are the top dogs in the Big Bash era and this is the fifth final which has featured the pair of them and currently the record stands at 2-2.

Marvel hero Scorchers have grounds for optimism

Ashton Turner's Scorchers have so much in their favour having crushed the Sixers on Saturday, their third victory over the Sydney side this month.

They have also played four times at the Marvel Stadium in this season's competition and won all four - and won them very well. On the two occasions they batted first they got up by 21 and 48 runs; when they chased they won with 19 and eight balls remaining.

This is a ground, blessed with short boundaries, which has clearly suited them whenever they have walked out there and that has to be a huge positive going into this showdown.

They'd like to know Mitchell Marsh is fully fit - he felt his hamstring at the weekend but is expected to be okay - to take his place in the most destructive top order in the competition.

Marsh is 9/4 to be top Scorchers batter and 7/2 to hit most sixes in the match, though Kurtis Patterson at 7/1 looks an obvious alternative in that market.

He has cleared the ropes 18 times over the course of the tournament, including five in one match.

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Henriques hopes patched-up side can defy the odds

The Sixers are definitely up against it, given the state of the league table, the head-to-head record and the injury problems which have blighted them at exactly the wrong time.

Josh Philippe and Jordan Silk are definitely out while Daniel Hughes, Jack Edwards and skipper Henriques himself are doubts, prompting club management to put out an SOS to Steve Smith to pull on a jersey.

Philippe's absence is a monumental blow. The 24-year-old was named Big Bash player of the year last year and is the Sixers' leading run scorer this time round with 429 runs to his name.

He has played 10 T20 internationals and three one-day games for Australia over the past 12 months and is a class act in this format.

Henriques is 11/4 to be top runscorer for the Sixers, who will be praying that star all-rounder Hayden Kerr has one last big match in him.

Kerr has taken 24 wickets in the competition, and scored a magnificent, measured, match-winning 98 not out against the Adelaide Strikers in the Challenger final, which the defending champions won on the final ball.

In a market dominated by Scorchers heavyweights, Kerr is 9/1 to be player of the match.

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