The penultimate match of the regular season in the Big Bash League comes from the capital as the Sydney Thunder host the Hobart Hurricanes in the second half of the double header of action in the tournament on Saturday.
The Hurricanes know they will be hosting a semi-final next week whatever happens in this match while Sydney Thunder have an outside chance of being their opponents. They must win this by a decent margin and hope their city rivals Sydney Sixers beat the Melbourne Stars on Sunday.
The Sydney Thunder had a decent start to their campaign but just one win in their last five matches is a run they could ill have afforded anyway, but it has come at completely the wrong time for them. Amazingly there is still a chance that they can make it through with six wins if they win this by a big enough margin to bridge a fair NRR gap between themselves and the Brisbane Heat.
It hasn’t been very often this season when there hasn’t been runs in this Sydney Thunder line up so their potential margin of victory could come down to how well they bowl. It goes without saying that they will need to bowl well but given the predicament that they are in I would imagine they would look to chase in this match should they get the opportunity.
If awards were handed out in the regular season then they Hobart Hurricanes would be taking most of them home with them. They have been by far and away the best side in the competition to date but their acid test is on the horizon. We see it all the time that a side dominates the regular season only to slip up in the play-offs and Hobart will need to ensure that doesn’t happen to them. In many ways, this is a match they could do without.
The only thing that can happen here is that some of their players have a bad day at the office and that dents confidence ahead of the semi-final next week. The alternative to that is to rest players but then you lose all the drive they have built up so there is no real way to win in this match. I guess ultimately they just need to play at 100% but subconsciously that rarely happens in this situation.
Sydney Thunder are able to call upon three Australia internationals for this match with Usman Khawaja, Kurtis Patterson and Pat Cummins returning to their squad. Jono Cook and Arjun Nair are among those to miss out.
Hobart Hurricanes are unchanged from their win over the Melbourne Renegades last time out which means that there is no James Faulkner once again but Qais Ahmad gets a second game as overseas replacement for Tymal Mills.
I’m expecting a high scoring encounter here between two of the better batting units in the competition. Sydney Thunder have to pile up the runs while the Hobart Hurricanes have been scoring big throughout the competition so it stands to reason that this will be a high scoring contest in the nation’s capital.
Both teams scored more than 190 when these two met in the reverse fixture in Hobart earlier in the season and if anything the Hurricanes have got even better with the bat since then. The Thunder have two class acts back with the bat and both are in excellent form so there is more than enough to believe we will go beyond the 330.5 run mark in this one.
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