Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes
Wednesday January 6, 7:40pm
Wednesday night sees an important clash with the Melbourne Stars welcoming the Hobart Hurricanes to the MCG.
The Stars got off to a slow start in this season’s competition, losing their first two matches, however they have since hit back with consecutive wins, the most recent a pulsating derby victory over the Melbourne Renegades thanks to a flashy Luke Wright century. In each game this year at least one Stars batsman has stood up and scored a half-century, however none are yet to post two scores of 50-plus so Wright will be hoping to back-up his match-winning contribution with some consistency against Hobart. Melbourne’s bowling has not been quite as consistent as their batting, conceding over 160 in three out of four games this season, and they will need to tighten things up against a dangerous Hurricanes outfit.
Hobart currently sit on the edge of the top four with three tight wins bookended by two crushing defeats. On Monday they were comfortably overwhelmed at home by the Renegades who ran down their below-par score of 5/140 in just 14 overs. The Hurricanes’ much-vaunted batting line-up has compiled sizeable totals in their three victories but failed dismally in both their losses, being bowled out for just 91 against the Sydney Sixers, while on Monday night their total was at least 30 shy of being competitive. Their bowling has been more consistent but not in a good way, conceding more than eight runs an over in all but one match this year. Their attack is heavily reliant on top wicket-taker Cameron Boyce who is the only Hurricanes bowler with an economy rate under 7.5 over the course of the tournament.
Despite its size, the MCG has produced plenty of runs this season with the Stars coming within one run of the Thunder’s 178, then chasing down the Renegades 161 with five balls to spare. Incredibly Wright’s ton was the third consecutive individual score in triple-figures at the MCG following centuries to Usman Khawaja in the opening game this season and Peter Handscomb in the final game at the MCG in last year’s Big Bash.
With two wins on the bounce it’s no shock that the Stars are favoured with punters to the tune of 1.65, with the Hurricanes 2.5 outsiders following their dismal display on Monday. While those odds are probably a touch flattering to the home side, we simply cannot have enough faith in the volatile Hobart side – especially their bowling – to be backing them from the off here.
As previously mentioned the last three BBL matches at the MCG have witnessed centuries, however the “G” also has a phenomenal record of producing half-centuries. Going back to the start of the 2013/14 competition, in the last 11 matches at the MCG only one has failed to produce a 50, and on that occasion the top-score was 49! Furthermore all games involving both the Stars and Hurricanes this season have produced at least one half-century, with eight out of nine producing two or more. With two struggling bowling attacks on show I’m happy to take the short odds on at least one batsman raising the bat on Wednesday night.