There’s no place like home for the Sydney Sixers but star Dan Christian expects Manuka Oval will still offer his side an advantage in Saturday’s high-stakes clash with Perth.
The Sixers and Sydney Thunder have been the Big Bash League’s nomads this season, with both clubs yet to play on their home deck because of state border closures.
The men in magenta, gunning for back-to-back titles after topping the table, have been forced to host their qualifying final in Canberra on Saturday night.
The winners advance to a home final on February 6, which Christian hopes will be at the SCG, while the losers will host Thursday’s knock-out final.
Manuka Oval hosted the BBL final in 2015, when Perth pipped the Sixers in an epic final-ball thriller.
But Sydney won the rivals’ most recent clash at the ground earlier this month, with Christian hoping the Scorchers will be confronted with a similar pitch this weekend.
“We played really well against them last time,” Christian told reporters.
“We were pretty excited to come to Manuka and play against them.
“It’s been raining all day and there’s a bit of rain forecast for tomorrow, so we’re really not sure what we’re going to get.
“We know what they (the Scorchers) are like on the fast, bouncy pitches in Perth. They’re near unbeatable.
“Hopefully it’s a traditional Manuka. Slightly slow, holds a bit for slower balls, spins a bit. Those conditions really suit our batsmen and bowling attack.”
The Sixers remain desperate to host a final at the SCG, and booking in a season- deciding derby against the Thunder would be their best hope of ensuring it happens.
“That’d be brilliant for a spectacle,” Christian said.
“We’re still hopeful it (playing a final at the SCG) will happen. It certainly hasn’t been ruled out just yet.”
Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania will soon be open to Sydneysiders but Western Australia still requires travellers from NSW to quarantine upon arrival.
Mitchell Starc, having signed a contract with the Sixers and made it clear he wants to play BBL for the first time since 2014-15, will not return on Saturday.
Starc may be forced to miss the entire finals as he waits on clearance from national-team medicos.
“Pretty handy addition if you’re able to add one of the best fast bowlers in the world,” Christian said.
Regardless of whether the Test paceman plays or not, Christian vowed the Sixers have room for improvement after a 9-5 finish to the regular season.
“We’ve played some fantastic cricket … we haven’t played that perfect game yet,” the veteran allrounder said.