Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes
Big Bash League Eliminator, January 21
Melbourne Cricket Ground (8.15am UK)
Momentum is far more important, say many players and coaches, in T20 cricket than the longer formats.
And Adelaide, hosting the game in Melbourne due to Coronavirus restrictions, certainly have it ahead of this Eliminator clash (the format for the BBL finals is linked below).
Incredibly, the Strikers lost seven of their first eight group games before winning five of their last six to maintain hopes of a second BBL title.
Hobart, meanwhile, were beaten in a dead rubber by already eliminated Melbourne Stars yesterday when the Stars racked up a T20 worldwide domestic record total of 273-2 on the back of Glenn Maxwell’s unbeaten 154 at the MCG.
Cards on the table, I thought Hobart would qualify for the finals at least before a ball was bowled.
However, I accept a defeat such as that against the Stars – by 106 runs – could have a damaging effect.
That is why I will be steering clear of the pre-match match winner markets – Adelaide are 10/11 with Parimatch and Hobart 6/5 at Paddy Power amongst others.
But if they can bowl well, I would still fancy the Hurricanes and would be interested, for example, to see what odds they are in play at the halfway mark if set a total in the region of 160-170.
After all, they made a respectable 167-6 when faced with an impossible task against the Stars and have plenty of batting quality led by tournament leading run-scorer Ben McDermott (571 in 12 games).
Bowling well is a BIG if though, even with Scott Boland back from Test duty.
A century to be scored in the match?
With Alex Carey and Travis Head back from the Ashes for the Strikers, both sides’ strength is with the bat.
Seven centuries have been scored at the MCG in Big Bash history, the joint most of any venue alongside the Strikers’ regular home venue, the Adelaide Oval.
Big scores at MCG are not uncommon – look at yesterday for example – hence a century to be scored by anyone here has appeal at eights.
Ahmed can continue recent leg-spin success
A five-for for Melbourne Renegades’ leggie Cameron Boyce last night, including four wickets in four balls, six wickets in a recent Strikers game for the now departed Rashid Khan, three wickets in their last game for Fawad Ahmed. Leg-spin is having a real impact in the BBL!
So why not again?
In his last four games, 39-year-old Ahmed has taken eight wickets, including 3-16 last time out in Monday’s win over Sydney Sixers, and he is an eye-catching 10/3 with bet365 to be Adelaide’s top wicket-taker.