It is showtime at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday as the fans will come in numbers to witness the first semifinal of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2015-2016 between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder.
The hosts have been almost invincible in this season, as they have lost just one match out of the eight they played in the league stage. And guess who the Strikers lost to?
It was the Sydney Thunder, who beat Adelaide by seven wickets and 21 balls to spare.
Despite that loss, the Adelaide Strikers will start the semifinal on Thursday as the clear favourites.
The Thunder had the Strikers to thank for their place in the top four, after Adelaide beat the Melbourne Renegades in their last game to to help Sydney sneak into the semis.
The Thunder had made a very good start to the BBL season, but they lost their momentum midway through the league stage. They lost four matches in a row and were in all sorts of trouble, but ut somehow managed to win their last fixture of the league to keep their semifinals hopes alive.
Thunder skipper Michael Hussey will look to lead from the front on Thursday as his side have made it to the BBL semifinals for the first time since the league's inception. He will also be happy with the fact that his star players Shane Watson and Andre Russell are in superb form ahead of the crucial encounter.
Usman Khawaja was released from the Australia ODI squad, and the left-handed batsman will be available to fill one of the opening slots for the Sydney Thunder.
"I've wanted to play in a finals series for a very long time and just like everyone else in the team I'm very excited. We don't want to be just semifinalists, we want to win this game and then win the final too," Khawaja was quoted by Cricket Australia as saying to the official website of Sydney Thunder.
However, there is some possibly bad news for the visitors, as they may have to take the field without their all-rounder Jacques Kallis. The Proteas legend is yet to recover from an injury suffered earlier in the BBL.
"If it's 50-50, it's a pretty big gamble but if it gets up to 80%, it's definitely a gamble worth taking because obviously he offers the team so much balance and so much class and experience," Hussey told reporters ahead of the semifinal clash against Strikers.
Adelaide will bank on support from the fans at the Adelaide Oval, while on the field most of the attention will be on Travis Head, who has been in sublime form both with bat and ball in the BBL. Skipper Brad Hodge can be equally dangerous if he gets going, while Mahela Jayawardene, who is struggling with a hamstring injury, could play a part as well after the Sri Lanka legend was named in the squad for the semifinal.
Adelaide Strikers: Brad Hodge (C), Jono Dean, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Mahela Jayawardene, Hamish Kingston, Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Tim Ludeman, Michael Neser, Gary Putland, Adil Rashid, Alex Ross.
Sydney Thunder: Mike Hussey (C), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Chris Green, Chris Hartley, Nathan McAndrew, Andrew McDonald, Usman Khawaja, Clint McKay, Henry Nicholls, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Shane Watson.
Where to watch live:
The 1st semifinal of the Big Bash League between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder is scheduled for a 7:40 pm local time (2:10 pm IST, 9:40 am BST and 8:40 am GMT) start with the live coverage in India will be available on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1. T20 fans in India can also stream the BBL semifinal live on Starpsorts.com.
Viewers in Australia, can tune into Channel 10 to catch the live action of the BBL 1st semifinal - Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder.
Audience in UK can switch to Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1 to catch the live action of the 1st semifinal of the BBL 2015-2016 - Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder. The live streaming option will be available on Watch Sky Sports in UK.
Cricket Fans in the US can watch Strikers vs Thunder 1st semifinal on Willow TV. Viewers can also stream the same on Willow TV Online.