Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes
Saturday, 8;35, Live on Sky Sports
Sixers a cut above the rest
If their first match was a walk in the park, their second was a much better indication of what a good and resilient side they are.
They were in plenty of trouble at five wickets down against this lot when Moises Henriques played a real ‘captain’s knock’, scoring 73 off 48, including some superb drives over extra cover.
He was well-supported by Tom Curran (27 off 21) while the rest of the tail hung around, gave him the strike and ran hard. That 144/9 was probably a better score than it looked on a tricky wicket.
Curran then took three wickets for 27 and the rest were pretty economical too, in the end beating the Hurricanes by 14 runs.
It was a really gutsy performance and bodes well for a team who looks a cut above the rest.
Sean Abbott (Australia A duty) and Ben Dwarshius (injury) are still unavailable so the quietly efficient Ben Manenti should get another game.
Likely XI: Philippe, Vince, Hughes, Henriques, Silk, Christian, Curran, Jordan, Kerr, Manenti, O’Keefe.
Absences could hurt Hurricanes
The Hurricanes will look back at that match as one they probably should have won. They allowed the Sixers to get about 20 more than they should have but were still hot favourites at the break.
The problem was that both Matthew Wade and to an even greater extent D’Arcy Short just couldn’t get going when they opened. Not only are they the team’s strong point when it comes to batting but their strike rates were so uncharacteristically low that they were actually behind the run rate for most of the innings.
If they’re to take any positives away from the game, it’s the way they bowled and took so many early wickets.
There are plenty of absences that could hurt them.
They await for Englishman Harry Brook and Aussie Scott Boland to return from playing for England Lions and Australia A duties respectively.
English import Jordan Thompson was in contact with someone who had Covid-19 and Ben McDermott is injured, so English pair Jordan Cox and Tom Lammonby will continue to fill in on a short-term basis.
Hurricanes Likely XI: Wade, Short, Handscomb, Jewell, Lammonby, David, Cox, Ellis, Paris, Rogers, Lamichhane.
Venue and conditions
This is where the Sixers posted that monster score of 213-4 on Sunday against the Stars. Last season the only match played here was the final, with the Sixers posting, and defending, 188.
It’s generally a pretty good wicket where the Sixers have gone big in the past.
Going against the grain for T20 cricket, both sides may fancy batting first. The Hurricanes won’t want to see the Sixers get to 180+ and have to chase that after what happened the other day.
The Sixers have shortened from around 1.84/5 ahead of the match the other day to around 1.75/7 this time round on the match-winner market.
They were probably a bit bigger than they should have been last time out and that owed to a surprisingly strong head-to-head record for the Hurricanes.
The advice then was to try to back the Sixers in-running at odds-against, which they were throughout the whole of the first innings, at the break and even for the first half of the Hurricanes’ run chase.
There’s nothing wrong with going with that strategy again.
Having said that, odds of 1.75/7 about a team who’s two from two, at home, fresh from beating this lot and up against a side with so many absences, is a pretty decent price anyway.
Tim David is 20/1 to top score for the Hurricanes. That can’t be right.
This is one of the game’s big hitters here who is becoming one of the better ‘finishers’ in the game.
Of course, things will have to our way for him to come in at five or six and have enough balls left to beat the batsmen who have come and gone before him.
But I have a feeling he may be promoted to five after batting at six last time and if the batting display was anything to go by last time, he may not have much to beat.
Champion batters Wade (13/5) and Short (3/1) really did look out of sorts the other day and only Peter Handscomb (11/4) got to terms with the wicket at all, for his 47 off 31.
It’s just too big a price on David.
A good alternative to a shortish price on the match-winner market is to pick a couple of players from the side you strongly expect to win to walk away with the match gong.
Step forward Moises Henriques. With scores of 76 and 73 he’s clearly seeing it like a beach ball and is top BBL runscorer at the moment. He’s unlikely to stay there for too long because of the bias towards openers topping the season-long runcharts.
But he’s more than capable of putting in a third top performance in a row. He was just about pipped to MOM by Josh Philippe in that first game and won it for his knock in the second. Go with the form man at 9/1.
By his standards, Dan Christian has had a quiet start to the season so far. Just 10 runs from two innings and not a wicket to his name yet from just two overs bowled.
But you can’t keep a good man down and sooner or later he’ll use all his experience to turn a game on its head with either bat or ball. 12/1 is decent enough about a player of his calibre with his team os fancied to win.