It’s a battle of second versus third as the Hurricanes take on the Thunder at Optus Stadium. The Thunder missed an opportunity to take top spot after losing to the Heat on Monday, whilst a slow start with the bat ultimately cost the Hurricanes in their 10 run loss to the Stars in Hobart on Monday. A win would see the Thunder potentially move five points clear of the Hurricanes with a game in hand, firmly entrenching themselves in the top two. Can the Hurricanes pick up a crucial victory? Or will the Thunder get back on the winners list? See our full preview and betting tips for Thursday night’s clash below.
Optus Stadium, Thursday January 7, 6:10pm
Hobart Hurricanes Squad: Scott Boland, Johan Botha, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Peter Handscomb, Colin Ingram, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dawid Malan, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, David Moody, Mitchell Owen, Wil Parker, D'Arcy Short, Charlie Wakim, Nick Winter, Macalister Wright
Sydney Thunder Squad: Callum Ferguson, Sam Billings, Jonathan Cook, Ben Cutting, Ollie Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matt Gilkes, Chris Green, Alex Hales, Baxter Holt, Usman Khawaja, Nathan McAndrew, Adam Milne, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain
This is going to be an entertaining clash between two of the best teams in the competition, there’s not much splitting these teams who have had success on the back of their depth. Both teams have two players in top ten run scorers in the competition in McDermott, Ingram, Ferguson and Hales, whilst Tim David (13th) and Usman Khawaja (16th) aren’t far off, highlighting the depth in both batting units. Both sides also have two players each in the top eleven wicket takers in Sangha, Green, Meredith and Ellis. There’s elite balance in both sides, and it’s why they sit second and third on the table.
The Thunder showed in their last match that whilst their top options with the ball are great, their latter options in Ben Cutting and Nathan McAndrew can go the journey when targeted by opposition batsmen. McAndrew is going at an economy rate of 9.33, in comparison the bowling attack of Meredith, Ellis, Boland and Faulkner all have economy rates of under 7.82. If Hurricanes get on top of the spin duo of Sangha and Green, it will open the game right up for Hobart.
The Canes slight advantage with the ball is going to be the difference between the teams. Both sides matchup with the bat, but the ability of Ellis and Boland to close out at the death, and Meredith’s ability to take wickets during the powerplay will be crucial against the Thunder’s top three. The Hurricanes lead the head to head battle 8-5 over the Thunder, and will be desperate to keep in touch with the top two.
Ben McDermott has moved to the top of the order, and looks right at home. McDermott is the competition’s top run scorer with 277 runs at an average of 55. McDermott has scores of 46, 89* and 91 this season, his ability to consistently get match winning scores has been crucial to the Hurricanes success this season.
McDermott has scored 208 runs against the Thunder at an average of 30, and with a consistent opportunity at the top of the order, these numbers are only gonna grow. On the back of nearly carrying the Hurricanes to victory on his own in their last match, expect McDermott to back it up with another big score.
Nineteen year old leg spinner Tanveer Sangha has been a revelation in his first Big Bash Season. Sangha is ranked number two in the comp for wickets with 13, with an average of 13.6 and an economy of 7.22. The youngster has created an effective spin combination with Chris Green. The pair have bowled overs in the powerplay, power surge and late in the innings, they’ve been crucial to the Thunder’s success this season.
The Optus Stadium pitch will provide plenty of bounce which will cause plenty of headaches for the Hurricanes batsmen, especially given the length Sangha likes to bowl. Noor Ahmad and Fawad Ahmed had success at Optus Stadium in the first game there this season, which should fill Sangha with plenty of confidence.
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