Our prediction is Hobart Hurricanes to win!
Match 37 of the Big Bash League sees the league leaders Hobart Hurricanes travel to the Adelaide Oval to take on reigning champions Adelaide Strikers in a repeat of last year’s final. The two sides come into this match with contrasting fortunes – as the Hurricanes have had a dream run, the Strikers have stuttered, including losing last time out against Sydney Thunder.
At this venue last season, the Strikers beat the Hurricanes twice, first by 11 runs in the regular season and then by 25 runs in the final when Jake Weatherald scored a fine century. He has flickered only briefly so far this season. The Strikers edge the head-to-head record between these two sides with six wins to three and at the Adelaide Oval, the Hurricanes have only beaten them once.
The Strikers have never won more than two games in a row this season, which leaves them battling with the sides in the middle of the table to reach the play-offs. Their loss away against Thunder in their last game was a huge defeat – 71 runs the margin – which means their net run-rate took a big hit. That game was a struggle for them in all areas so they will likely be happy to be back on their home ground.
However, despite a 19-15 win-loss record here, they have already been beaten three times at home this season when the Melbourne Renegades, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers proved too good. It is not quite the fortress they would like it to be as they try to keep their title defence alive.
The Strikers could welcome back Alex Carey back from ODI duty and he should come straight back into the team at the expense of Harry Nielsen. With Travis Head leaving to join up with the Test squad, they may recall Jake Lehmann or give Jono Dean his first start of the tournament.
Matt Short, Jake Weatherald, Colin Ingram (c), Jonathan Wells, Jono Dean, Alex Carey (wk), Rashid Khan, Michael Neser, Ben Laughlin, Liam O’Connor, Billy Stanlake
Michael Neser, Cameron Valente, Ben Laughlin, Matthew Short, Colin Ingram, Alex Carey, Jake Weatherald, Liam O'Connor, Billy Stanlake, Rashid Khan, JW Wells
The Hurricanes have lost just once this season and even when they find themselves in precarious positions, they still find ways to come out on top. They looked down and out in their last match against the Perth Scorchers only for George Bailey and James Faulkner to rescue them and put them on course for their seventh win of the season.
This is a team that does not know when it is beaten so any signs of complacency from the Strikers will be taken advantage of. Bailey now has two half-centuries in his last two innings and with D’Arcy Short averaging a half-century every other match, he is due another score.
For a long time in this tournament, the Hurricanes made no changes to their team but they have now been forced into making some changes. Jake Doran and then Caleb Jewell came in for Alex Doolan while Doran then left to play for the CA XI. Clive Rose missed out against the Scorchers but could return for this one, possibly at the expense of David Moody, who made his debut in that match.
Matthew Wade (c, wk), D’Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, George Bailey, Simon Milenko, Clive Rose, James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Jofra Archer, Riley Meredith
Riley Meredith, Jofra Chioke Archer, D'Arcy Short, Clive Rose, Caleb Jewell, Matthew Wade, Johan Botha, Simon Milenko, George Bailey, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott
Even the Adelaide Oval has been a touch unpredictable at times this season – sometimes spicy but also offering plenty of assistance to batsmen on other occasions. With dry and warm weather over the next few days, it should not misbehave too much for this game.
The Adelaide Oval has now hosted 37 domestic Twenty20 matches with an average score batting first of 165. The side batting first has won 22 times to the side batting second’s 15. This season, the average score batting first is 169 with the Strikers setting a target every time they have played here.
The Strikers have batted first in all four matches they have played at home this season – the first two times they were invited to bat but in the last two they won the toss and opted to set a target. Apart from choosing to bowl in their opening game against Brisbane Heat, they have not won the toss but in familiar conditions they should look to bat first once again. That might suit the Hurricanes, who have pulled off some stunning chases already this season and have won the toss and fielded first five times out of six.
The Strikers’ title defence has not really lit up the BBL this season as they might have hoped it would. There have been flashes of brilliance but then they put in a performance such as being bowled out for 97 against Thunder. They have been woefully inconsistent which is a total contrast to the Hurricanes. Their star batsmen are in form, they have a beautifully balanced bowling attack. They are now rapidly closing in on the semi-finals and we don’t see the Strikers being able to stand in their way in this one.
We are backing Hobart Hurricanes for the win!
Featured bookmaker: Royal Panda