Hobart Hurricanes v Perth Scorchers
Sunday January 10, 4:20pm
The inconsistent Hobart Hurricanes entertain the Perth Scorchers at Bellerive Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Hurricanes currently sit mid-table with three wins and three losses, their form fluctuating violently between performances. Hobart’s last two games have resulted in convincing losses to both Melbourne sides with the Renegades running down 140 in 14 overs and the Stars comfortably accounting for the 124 set by the Hurricanes on Wednesday. Their volatile efforts are reflected in their batting which at its peak has produced scores of 4/194 and 3/184, while as it lowest ebb was rolled for just 91 against the Sydney Sixers. Worryingly they have also lost their linchpin and highest run-scorer George Bailey to the Australian ODI squad, with Michael Hill or Dom Michael likely to come into the side. None of their bowlers have conceded less than 7.5 runs an over, however they do have plenty of wicket-taking ability with Cameron Boyce, Sam Rainbird and Jake Reed all maintaining strike-rates under 15.
The Scorchers have again proved their worth as one of the highest-quality sides in the competition this season and a win here will preserve their incredible record of having qualified for the finals in every edition of the BBL. Perth have won four out of their six fixtures, most recently accounting for the Sydney Thunder at Spotless Stadium on Thursday. The most encouraging aspect of the Scorchers win over the Thunder was the performance of Cameron Bancroft and Ashton Agar in the middle-order who combined for a partnership of 105 off just 51 balls. Their contribution will prove all the more vital for the Scorchers with Shaun Marsh departing for international duty, although they do regain Adam Voges from the test side. Jason Behrendorff and Andrew Tye have been the stars with the ball for the defending champions and they will need to continue their rich vein of form with Joel Paris joining Marsh in the national set-up.
Bellerive Oval has been the scene of two out of the Hurricanes’ three wins this season, although most recently they suffered a hammering there at the hands of the Melbourne Renegades. That match illustrated that upwards of 160 is a par score here batting first, something Hobart achieved in both their victories at home.
The visiting Scorchers are 1.69 favourites to make it five wins from seven with Hobart underdogs at 2.44. Given the respective form-lines and impact of team changes I had expected Perth to be shorter so their price is certainly of interest. Hobart’s bowling has been consistently poor, while the one possible weakness in Perth’s batting – the middle-order – has been shored up by recent displays from Bancroft, Agar and David Willey. The Hurricanes batting can be extremely dangerous, however they have lost the player who has scored 27% of their runs this season and top-scored in half their games, and are up against the most complete bowling attack in the competition. The Scorchers have also won their last three against the Hurricanes so I’m more than happy to back the 1.69 available.