Our prediction is that Hobart Hurricanes would narrowly beat Sydney Thunder at Bellerive Oval.
The 8th season of Big Bash League - the domestic T20 competition in Australia is underway. The format consists of double round robin with each of the 8 teams playing the other teams twice – home and away, followed by a couple of semi-finals and the final.
Hobart Hurricanes would host Sydney Thunder on 28th December for the 11th match of this season. This would be the third match for both the teams having already played and won the first two encounters of this BBL. Both these teams have beaten Melbourne Stars in addition to Sydney Thunders beating the Sixers and Hurricanes beating Brisbane Heat. This is a face-off between two teams in top form and wins under their belt with nobody giving an inch to the opposition.
Hurricanes came into this BBL as runners-up in the last season, but they have played like winners till now. With two comprehensive wins under their belt, the Hurricanes are in the top 3 teams based on net run-rate.
Faulkner, Archer, and Short helped Hurricanes, despite Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s early strikes, defeat Brisbane Heat at the Carrara oval by 15 runs. In the other game captain Wade and Archer helped defeat Melbourne Stars comprehensively by 6 wickets on the back of better powerplays in both innings.
Hurricanes’ batting revolves around Mathew Wade and D’Arcy Short who have already been major contributors in the wins against Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat. These two have helped Hurricanes win the two Semi Finals of the last BBL. World Cup star James Faulkner and West Indian seamer Jofra Archer are the bowling backbones for the Hurricanes.
MS Wade (c), DJM Short, AJ Doolan, BR McDermott, GJ Bailey, S Milenko, JP Faulkner, J Botha, CA Rose, JC Archer, RP Meredith.
Sydney Thunder did not have a great outing in the last edition of the BBL, however, they look determined to change that this time around. With two daunting wins under their belt in the first two encounters Sydney Thunder are sitting pretty at the top of the table.
The Thunders beat the Melbourne Stars in a rain-curtailed game by 15 runs (D/L method) on the back of Daniel Sams 3 for 5 and debutant Jason Sangha’s 63 not out. Against the cross-city rivals Sydney Sixers, another 63 of just 37 balls by Jos Buttler and a 3-for by Fawad Ahmed helped Sydney Thunder to win by 21 runs despite an all-round performance from Tom Curran of Sixers.
Shane Watson and Jos Buttler at the very top of the order form the backbone of Sydney Thunder with able support from Root and Sangha down the line. Daniel Sams and Fawad Ahmed would shoulder the bowling load and help force a win for Sydney Thunder.
SR Watson (c), JC Buttler, CJ Ferguson, JE Root, JJS Sangha, DR Sams, CJ Green, N McAndrew, JD Cook, SL Rainbird, Fawad Ahmed
The pitch at the Bellerive Oval tends to aid seamers with some early movement, but as the match progresses it starts to become more and more batting friendly. It is better to know the target on such pitches than to set one and defend on a flattening surface.
Thus, the strategy here should be to win the Toss and Bowl first and then chase it out in progressively easier conditions as Hurricanes did against Melbourne Stars.
The team winning the toss would most likely want to bowl first. Due to the pitch conditions the best strategy would be field from the start.
The Hobart Hurricanes seem to have more match winners in the squad to topple the formidable Sydney Thunder. They are finding the players to perform in crucial situations consistently. Thunders aren’t too far behind either but, if nothing else, the home advantage for Hurricanes might settle it out in the middle for them.
Thus, our prediction is that Hobart Hurricanes will edge out Sydney Thunder in a close encounter to win their third match on the trot.