The Strikers host the Hurricanes in an Australia Day clash from Adelaide Oval in both teams last match of the regular season. Big wins over the Stars and Scorchers have put the Strikers in a fantastic spot to receive a double chance in the finals if they win this game, as they have climbed up the ladder with four wins on the bounce. Second place is in their hands as a win will guarantee themselves that spot regardless of other results.
The Hurricanes have also won back to back games as they make their late push for the finals. While they sit in a finals position at the moment, their situation is tricky and out of their hands. They only have a slender net run rate advantage over the Thunder and the Heat have a game against the Renegades that could knock them out of a top five place regardless of whether they win or not. Simply they must win to keep their finals hopes alive and then hope things fall their way.
The Hurricanes and the Strikers faced off only a week ago in Hobart and the Strikers came up victors in what was a high-quality encounter. The Hurricanes were without their star men, D’Arcy Short and James Faulkner though and they could be a major factor in this encounter. Despite Short’s failure in his return match with the bat, he did pull off career best BBL figures of 5/21 with the ball. This is a match that a lot rides on and it should be a keenly contested affair.
Adelaide Strikers Squad (13): Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Harry Conway, Rashid Khan, Michael Neser, Liam O’Connor, Phil Salt, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells
Hobart Hurricanes Squad (13): Matthew Wade (c), Qais Ahmad, George Bailey, Scott Boland, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott, David Miller, Tom Rogers, Clive Rose, D'Arcy Short, Mac Wright
Rashid Khan is the third top wicket taker in BBL09 with 17 wickets in 12 matches and is the Strikers top wicket taker this campaign. Khan is a devastating spin bowler who uses changes of pace and a mixture of off and leg spin to cause all sorts of problems to batsmen. He has kept his economy rate just above seven which is impressive for a spinner and he will aim to do some damage to the Hurricanes batting order here.
The Hurricanes struggle with spin bowling has been well documented and this has been used to their oppositions advantage, with bowling teams opening with spin to capitalise. This was evident in their last game with the Thunder opening with two spinners which in turn restricted the runs early and saw D’Arcy Short dismissed for a duck. While Khan did fail to take a wicket against the Hurricanes in the teams latest meeting there is no cause for concern as his class was evident and he still looked threatening without having the end product to show for it. Khan will cause real problems for the Hurricanes.
Matt Wade has been in fine form in the six matches he has played this season which has seen him make 151 runs, at an average of just over 30. In those innings he has made two fifties and those have been in his last two matches as he comes into a good patch of form at the back end of the season. He was removed for five in the last match against the Strikers but it was a great catch from Short that dismissed him in which most fielders would have struggled to get a hand to.
Wade looks to be in good touch and averages well above the 23.5 runs on offer here and in what is a must win match he will be eager to put together a big score here.
This is a hard match to call due to the importance of this match for both sides. In their most recent outing, the Strikers came out on top but Short and Faulkner are big inclusions for the Hurricanes. The Strikers lead the head to head eight to five and I believe at home the Strikers are likely to get the win here. The Strikers have been playing well and have beaten title favourites the Melbourne Stars as well as the Scorchers and the Heat in their last four so I’m going to predict they can do the double over the Hurricanes and secure second spot in the process.
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