Sydney Thunder are favorites to win
The first Sydney derby of the 2018/19 Big Bash League sees the Thunder and the Sixers go head-to-head at the Sydney Showground Stadium. The match is scheduled for December 24 and the live action begins at 19:15 local time.
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Sydney Sixers were the only team to bat first after winning the toss in the opening set of fixtures, though the tactic paid off and could be repeated.
Read on for team previews, betting tips, latest odds and match prediction for Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers, BBL 2018-19.
Jos Buttler and Shane Watson opened for Sydney Thunder, with Joe Root at number four, and it is unlikely the Thunder will be tweaking the batting line-up from the win against Melbourne Stars after they posted 181/5.
Daniel Sams took 4-14 from four overs against Sydney Thunder in this fixture last season - still his best bowling figures - and he will hope to do it for the Thunder this time. He took 3-5 from 12 balls in the first match against Melbourne Stars.
Chris Green was player of the match the last time these teams met, contributing with bat and ball, but he will expect his high-profile team-mates to lead the way this time. That starts with Jos Buttler, whose big-hitting exploits have earned an England test recall and made him a mainstay of their limited-overs team.
England test captain and seriously in-form Joe Root is the overseas player in the squad, keen to prove he can star in the franchise game, while Shane Watson - who captains the Thunder - was in outstanding form in the IPL and T10 league earlier this year.
After finishing eighth last year, Sydney Thunder kicked off Big Bash League 2018-19 with a win, in a rain-affected match against Melbourne Stars in Canberra. Jason Sangha's 63 not out from 36 balls helped the Thunder to 181/5 and, chasing a rain-reduced target of 90 from eight overs, Daniel Sams' 3-5 from two overs ensured the Stars never got close - closing on 74/6.
Jos Buttler, Shane Watson, Callum Ferguson, Joe Root, Jason Sangha, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Gurinder Sandhu, Sam Rainbird, Fawad Ahmed
Nathan Lyon is away on international duty but Sydney Sixers could well be unchanged after their opening-match win against Perth Scorchers. Both Jake Edwards and Lloyd Pope made their T20 debuts in that match.
Jordan Silk top-scored for the Sydney Sixers in their opening-match win, with an unbeaten 67 from 49 balls. He shared a 124-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Daniel Hughes (62 from 44) as the Sixers recovered from a poor start.
Such a poor start may not be such a common theme either, with Joe Denly's limited-overs form earning him an England recall - he is opening the batting, while captain Moises Henriques has scored plenty for New South Wales so far this season.
Denly, as he proved on his England return, can also be a danger with the ball, and likewise compatriot Tom Curran in the middle order. Curran has 25 wickets in 18 international limited-overs appearances so far.
Steve O'Keefe was the star bowler last time out, however, his slow left arm earning 3-19 from his four overs - career-best T20 figures for the former Aussie international. Sean Abbott claimed 3-29 from his four overs, meanwhile.
Looking to build on a fifth-placed finish last time out, Sydney Sixers kicked off the new Big Bash League season with a win. Built around a record fourth-wicket stand of 124 between Jordan Silk (67*) and Daniel Hughes (62), the Sixers posted 164/4 from their 20 overs. Steve O'Keefe (3-19) and Sean Abbott (3-29) then claimed three wickets apiece in a 17-run win.
Jake Edwards, Joe Denly, Moises Henriques, Dan Hughes, Jordan Silk, Josh Philippe, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Dwarhuis, Lloyd Pope
Sydney Sixers have won nine of their 13 matches against Sydney Thunder, with the Thunder winning the other four. They each won one game apiece in last season's Big Bash League, however.
At Sydney Showground, on the opening night, Shane Watson top-scored with 77 from 46 balls as the Thunder, despite Daniel Sams' 4-14 from four overs, won by five wickers chasing 150 to win - off the final ball.
In the reverse fixture at the SCG, Chris Green was named man of the match after scoring 49 from 27 balls to inject some urgency as the Thunder posted 156/6, before conceding just 22 runs from his four overs with the ball. Joe Denly (43 from 29 balls) and Daniel Hughes (66* from 55 balls) led the Sixers to victory, however - winning by eight wickets, again off the final ball.
Sydney Thunder are favourites to beat Sydney Sixers on their home ground, as they did last season, with Bet365 offering 1.72 and Betfair and Betway 1.73 on a Thunder win.
Jos Buttler is 3.50 with Bet365 and Betfair to top score for the Thunder, while Shane Watdson is 3.75 with Bet365. Both openers will be key if they can fire.
In fact, Sydney Thunder could even be worth backing at 1.80 with Bet365 to post the highest opening partnership as well.
Sydney Thunder, with their explosive opening batsmen and home advantage, can claim bragging rights against the Sydney Sixers.
Final Verdict: Back Sydney Thunder to beat Sydney Sixers at 1.72 with Bet365 and 1.73 with Betfair and Betway.