Our prediction is Brisbane Heat to win!
Match 5 of the Big Bash League 2018-19 – and the first in the second round – sees Hobart Hurricanes as the last of the eight teams to make their tournament bow. They come into the tournament by taking on Brisbane Heat, who lost to reigning champions Adelaide Strikers in their first match.
Heat hosted the Hurricanes at a later stage of last year’s tournament and the Hurricanes prevailed in a high-scoring, close affair by just three runs. D’Arcy Short’s tournament record high score of 122 not out was too much for Heat on that day, although they almost pulled it off before falling just too short.
There is an interesting mix of characters on show in this match, including former international captains in Brendon McCullum and George Bailey. Will their experience win out or will some of the younger performers win the day? Can Short do it again?
There is no shame in losing to reigning champions the Strikers, but Heat might be disappointed they didn’t put up more of a fight. They were well set at 78 for two before they collapsed to be 146 all out. If they can show some more steel with the bat, they will be well placed to bounce back, particularly as the Strikers still needed all but five balls to beat them.
Max Bryant, Chris Lynn, Joe Burns and Jimmy Peirson all got past 20 but they need more than that if they are to put match-winning scores on the board. They will also want more from Brendon McCullum. Few would have predicted that he would be comprehensively outscored by Mujeeb Ur Rehman, their other overseas player, who smashed 27 from number 11. He might just have earned himself a promotion with that entertaining knock but otherwise, we might not see Heat make too many changes but they are forced into one change as James Pattinson will miss the match. Josh Lalor or Jason Floros are options to come in as his replacement.
Brendon McCullum, Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (c), Joe Burns, Sam Heazlett, Ben Cutting, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Josh Lalor, Mark Steketee, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rehman.
The Hobart Hurricanes have never bettered their league performance in the first BBL season, when they were second in the table. However, they have twice finished as runners-up – in 2013-14 and last season – after finishing fourth in the initial league standings.
They still hold the highest team score in the BBL (223-8) while Short’s effort in this fixture last season is the highest individual score and he holds the record for most runs in a season. Another strong campaign from him and Hobart will be back in contention once again.
They will miss Tim Paine, who is on international duty with Australia, but otherwise they can pick from a full squad – and they may not make too many changes from the side that got to the final last year other than those they have to. Tymal Mills misses out with a hamstring injury.
Alex Doolan, D’Arcy Short, George Bailey, Ben McDermott, James Faulkner, Matthew Wade (c, wk), Johan Botha, Jofra Archer, Clive Rose, Tom Rogers, Aaron Summers.
The Gabba offered up a good contest between bat and ball in the opening game, and one where both pace bowlers and spinners found some success. It’s been mainly dry in Brisbane this week with some rainfall overnight. However, come Saturday and the forecast is for rain in the morning and afternoon. That could interrupt or delay proceedings and even lead to a shortened match – as well as giving the bowlers some more assistance.
The Gabba becomes the first venue in this year’s BBL to host more than one game. It has a large playing area but generally favours batsmen . With a rich and long history of matches played here, it has hosted several T20 matches and there is a roughly even split between sides winning here batting first or second.
The start of the BBL has seen a tendency towards sides winning the toss and batting second. It is likely that captains aren’t yet sure what sort of scores are good targets at this early stage. With rain around, that makes things difficult and arguably easier to chase. Expect whoever wins the toss here to do as the Strikers did and ask their opponents to bat first.
This could be a tight game. At the Gabba, the Hurricanes lead the head-to-head 4-3 which is much closer than the overall head-to-head. Hurricanes have to work out new combinations and in that sense, they are playing catch-up. With a game behind them already and knowledge of how the pitch should behave, we give Brisbane the edge here and expect them to bounce back from the opening day defeat.
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