The return of D’Arcy Short to the Hobart Hurricanes side and the excitement of a fight for Big Bash League playoff spots highlight this clash with Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena on Friday.
The Hurricanes have nine points from 12 matches (W4, L7, NR1) and are coming off a facile win over the Renegades. The Thunder are better placed, with 11 points from 12 matches (W5, L6, NR1), but have lost four of their last six matches.
When the sides met earlier in the tournament, an Alex Hales’ blitz took the Thunder over the line for the win.
The return of Short (248 runs, SR 129.84) gives the Hurricanes a big boost, as it pairs him with Matthew Wade at the top (151 runs, SR 152.52) for the first time this season. With Ben McDermott also showing good signs of middle-over hitting, the Hurricanes are clutching to their playoff hopes by the barest margin.
Bowling still remains a bit up and down, with only Qais Ahmad (12 wickets, ER 7.85) proving to be a wicket-taking threat. Regardless, the nerve and skill shown by Nathan Ellis in the death overs of the tournament is a positive sign.
The Thunder have seen Alex Hales’ improved form drive them in crucial games (339 runs, SR 139.50). Callum Ferguson will be keen to get back to his early season form (314 runs, SR 128.16) after the dip saw him pick up five single-digit scores in his last six matches.
With the ball, though, it is a completely different story. Daniel Sams (20 wickets) remains their best bowler, while Chris Morris (14 wickets) has been amongst the wickets, although he does remain expensive (ER 8.54).
This could be a real humdinger for both the sides, considering they are both in the hunt for a playoff place. The Thunder are better placed than the Hurricanes, but the return of Short gives the hosts a real chance. The pairing of Wade and Short for the first time this season could work to their advantage, but they will have to contain Hales when he comes to bat. Expect the match to run close, but back the Hurricanes to edge it.
History & Statistics
- The Thunder have won four of the last six H2Hs, including the last two.
- The Hurricanes have won five of the six H2Hs played at this venue.
- The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 12 matches at this venue.
- The Thunder average 5.18 sixer per game this BBL|09.
Ellis has one of the meanest yorkers of the competition and his slower ball is not bad either. The way he has held his nerve in the previous match, coupled with how his death bowling has been this season – he could be key for the Hurricanes once again.
The Thunder leaned on Ferguson in the initial stages of the tournament, but his form has weaned. Can he find his mojo again at the right moment?