The Big Bash League semifinals kick off this Thursday when league-leaders Perth Scorchers take on the visiting Hobart Hurricanes.
Perth has been the form team throughout the competition, winning eight of its 10 matches, but the Hurricanes possess one of the better batting lineups and that could mean fireworks this Thursday night.
One big loss for the Hurricanes is not having D’Arcy Short playing. Short was the BBL’s top scorer this season with 504 runs and his loss will be felt by the squad.
The Scorchers rely on a solid team effort and having the likes of Shaun and Mitchell Marsh in the team this week is going to give them a massive boost.
We look at the form of both teams to find the best betting value for the all-important T20 game this week.
Perth Scorchers form
Perth rank sixth in terms of runs scored this season and they have poor statistics when it comes to dropped catches (15), but they know how to win.
It might not look as impressive as some of the more exciting teams in the competition, but they get the job done and playing at home is only going to help their chances.
The Scorchers come into this semifinal having won their last three matches, with two of those wins coming against the Strikers.
In between those Strikers’ wins was a victory over the Hobart Hurricanes and they were helped by half-centuries from Cameron Bancroft and Ashton Turner.
That was a team that didn’t have either Marsh brother playing and that could spell more danger for the Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Another danger with the bat is Michael Klinger, who offers not only plenty of experience, but a great deal of explosive power.
He’s a great player to have at the top of the order and he often sets it up for the likes of Bancroft and Turner to finish off.
The bowling lineup is also just as impressive with Australian representative Mitchell Johnson leading the way. He gets help from the capable Jhye Richardson and up-and-comer Joel Paris.
It’s tough to overlook the impressive recent form of the Scorchers and that’s why bookmakers have them as the $1.57 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW).
Hobart Hurricanes form
The Hobart Hurricanes looked like the form team of the competition after scoring five consecutive wins, but that ended when the Strikers won on January 17 and the form hasn’t improved since.
Hobart has dropped three straight games coming into the playoffs and they only narrowly made it into the top four.
Considering they have a negative net run rate, the Hurricanes will need to produce on the offensive front this week to have any chance of getting past the home team.
Losing D’Arcy Short is a big loss for the club as he was able to get them off to a big start, but now the onus falls on the likes of Tim Paine, George Bailey and Matthew Wade.
Unfortunately, if the Hurricanes are chasing a big total, George Bailey and his supporting crew aren’t the best at chasing.
They will need a much better bowling performance from import Tymal Mills this week after a dismal effort against the Stars last week.
Mills was particularly poor in the loss and that could have seen the Hurricanes miss out on the finals.
There’s plenty of reason to worry for the Hurricanes, but T20 cricket is a fickle beast and it only takes one player to catch fire.
Top Scorchers runscorer
We like Michael Klinger to hit himself back into form this Thursday.
The 37-year-old isn’t getting any younger, but he still produces plenty of good performances and he’s tough to get out in the early stages of the innings.
It’s typically a loose shot that gets Klinger into trouble, but expect a solid batting effort if the Scorchers are first to bat.
Top Hurricanes runscorer
Matthew Wade could hold the key for the Hurricanes this week.
The former Australian representative has all the class and composure to get the Hurricanes a big total and he also has the power to chase down a total.
The key for Wade is that his teammates stick around with him at the crease and with a strong partnership, expect Wade to fire up.
Scorchers vs. Hurricanes game tip
The Scorchers are the best team coming into this game and playing in Perth is never easy for the visiting teams.
Expect the crowd to be fully behind the local side and although the odds are on the short side, the Hurricanes are out of form and without their best player.
As always, the toss can decide a game, but we’re confident with the Scorchers’ ability to set or chase a big total – BET NOW.