Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes
Wednesday January 13, 7:40pm
The high-flying Adelaide Strikers entertain the Hobart Hurricanes at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night.
The Strikers come into this match having lost only one game all season and a win here should secure a home final for Jason Gillespie’s men. Last Friday Adelaide ran down the Brisbane Heat’s 6/175 for the loss of only two wickets and with eight balls to spare. Wicket-keeper batsman Tim Ludeman finally found some form against the Heat with an unbeaten half-century, his first of this year’s tournament. Ludeman may need to step up again with an injury cloud surrounding fellow opener Mahela Jayawardene who hurt his hamstring in the process of compiling a quick-fire 53. The Strikers’ bowling attack did struggle somewhat without Australian representative Kane Richardson against Brisbane although there was no let-up from English leggie Adil Rashid who now has 12 wickets over the course of the BBL at an average of 13.41 and economy rate of just 6.70.
The Hurricanes sit just outside the top four after they finished one run shy of the Perth Scorchers’ 5/173 on Sunday. With three wins and four losses this is Hobart’s final match of the group stage and one they must win if they wish to progress to the finals. Against Perth spearhead Shaun Tait continued his impressive form with two wickets, however the bizarre tactic of using opening batsman Ben Dunk with the ball was revisited with his one over costing 11. Dunk’s form with the bat has also been underwhelming, averaging just 15 at a strike-rate of 111 with no half-centuries. Star signing Kumar Sangakkara is also yet to raise the bat in this year’s competition and the Hurricanes desperately need a greater contribution from both top-order batsmen if they are to challenge for the trophy.
The Adelaide Oval has been full of runs this season with first innings scores of 5/187, 5/176 and 2/174, while the Strikers have a perfect record at home having won all three games. Opening batsmen, in particular, have thrived in Adelaide this season with the average opening partnership producing 46, while the average score after six overs has been 1/48.
The Strikers are 1.71 favourites to maintain their unblemished home record, with the Hurricanes priced at 2.4 to cause an upset. On the surface the odds about the home side look a tad big, however it’s worth noting that Hobart have a lot more to play for and in the event of the Strikers bowling first we don’t want to place undue faith in their bowling attack lacking the reliability of Richardson.
One area where I do expect the Strikers to dominate is the powerplay period. In the first six overs Adelaide have averaged 45 with the bat, while Hobart have conceded a whopping average of 54 with the ball. When bowling the Strikers have conceded 48 on average in the opening six overs, however the Hurricanes’ top-order have managed an average of just 36. Furthermore with Ludeman’s return to form for Adelaide while key players in Hobart’s top-order such as Dunk and Sangakkara continue to struggle, it’s difficult not to see the hosts ahead at the six over mark. So instead of backing the Strikers for the match look to back them to have the highest six over total at 1.85 or better.