Our prediction is Hobart Hurricanes to win.
Game 7 of the Big Bash League 2017-18 sees last season’s beaten finalists quickly back in action after they opened their season with victory over Brisbane Heat. There was no corresponding fixture last season but when the Hurricanes travelled to the Stars, it was the Melbourne side that won a high-scoring encounter by three wickets with five balls remaining.
They come into this match on the back of a 15-run defeat to Sydney Thunder in a match that was shortened by rain at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were the last team to take their tournament bow and saw off a spirited Heat fightback to beat the Brisbane side by – coincidentally, enough – 15 runs in a game that was shortened by rain.
Last season’s star of the tournament, Hurricanes batsman D’Arcy Short made a decent start against Heat and must now take on BBL proven performers such as Dwayne Bravo and Glenn Maxwell, while also figuring out how to overcome Nepalese Sandeep Lamichhane.
With the bat, Short is now a proven performer and Hurricanes fans will be relieved that he has quickly hit his stride in the BBL this season. He will need support from elsewhere, however, and they are missing Tim Paine, who is away on international duty.
There was encouragement with the ball too, but having Heat in trouble and then allowing them to get back into the game will come as a worry. However, they may argue that they needed the game to brush off the cobwebs and now they are up and running, they will only get better.
Without Paine and Tymal Mills a fitness risk, the Hurricanes may want to mix things up a bit for their first home game of the season, but they do not have a whole lot of options to bring in established players. If Mills plays, either Simon Milenko or Clive Rose could miss out.
Matthew Wade (c, wk), D’Arcy Short, Alex Doolan, Ben McDermott, George Bailey, Simon Milenko, James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Clive Rose, Jofra Archer, Riley Meredith
It is fair to say things did not go to plan for the Melbourne Stars in their opening match against Sydney Thunder. Although they won the toss and chose to field, they allowed their opponents to get away from them and then fell short in a rain-shortened run chase.
However, they can be pleased with the impact their spinners Adam Zampa and Lamichhane made, sharing four wickets, and Dwayne Bravo made a good start to the competition. They might feel that given a full 20 overs to bat out, they would have made a better first of things. That may be so, but their top order needs to start firing for them to bounce back.
Still missing Nic Maddinson due to injury, the pressure is on the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Ben Dunk to set a platform for the rest of the side. If they do make changes, they may feel three specialist spinners is too many and drop Michael Beer for Jackson Bird.
Travis Dean, Ben Dunk (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Dwayne Bravo, Nick Larkin, Evan Gulbis, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane, Jackson Coleman, Jackson Bird
Atmospheric conditions often play a role in how the game is played in Tasmania, and it is likely to be considerable cooler than mainland Australia both in the run-up to Monday and during the game. It will be dry, however.
Also known as the Bellerive Oval, the home of the Hurricanes has undergone several redevelopments over the years. It tends to be good for batting here, although there have been instances where a juicy pitch has given bowlers encouragement. Sides batting first have won more T20s here than batting second and the average score batting first is 166. The venue has seen four BBL scores in excess of 200.
In four games here last season, three times the side winning the toss batted first and the two times the Hurricanes did so, they went on to win. After struggling to chase so far in the tournament, the home side may be happy to set a target and the Stars might welcome the chance to do so as well.
This will be a second straight game on the road for the Stars as they look to bounce back from defeat against Sydney Thunder. They struggled to build partnerships in that match, although were forced to change their mindset due to the rain. The Hurricanes, however, despite a 15-18 record at home, will welcome a return to the Bellerive Oval and should improve on their performance against Heat. The Stars may hold the historical edge, but the Hurricanes should reduce the arrears and take this one.
Featured bookmaker: Royal Panda