Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes
Sunday December 20, 4:40pm
The Sydney Sixers will be looking to bounce back from their opening round defeat when they host the Hobart Hurricanes at the SCG on Sunday.
The Sixers were comprehensively outplayed by city-rivals the Thunder on Thursday night and will be sweating on the availability of captain Moises Henriques who adds some much-needed backbone to their middle-order. Front-line seamers Jackson Bird and Sean Abbott struggled to keep the runs down against the Thunder and it’s not out of the question that Steve O’Keefe could be brought in to form a spin triumvirate alongside the impressive Nathan Lyon and Johan Botha.
This is the Hurricanes opening fixture of the season and hopes are high after the much publicized acquisition of star Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara. Joining Sangakkara are all-rounders Dan Christian and Simon Milenko, while the bowling has been boosted by the captures of Shaun Tait and Joe Mennie, effectively replacing the experienced pair of Ben Hilfenhaus and Xavier Doherty who have moved on to other franchises. Hobart will be hoping that a power-packed batting line-up featuring Sangakkara, Ben Dunk, George Bailey and Darren Sammy can get them off to an ideal start in this year’s competition.
Last year the SCG produced a range of first innings scores between 135 and 182, while the side batting first won two and lost two, so there is no clear advantage at the toss. The pitch did appear to favour spin as between them Lyon and O’Keefe averaged 19 with the ball at an economy rate of just 6.33.
Despite their opening loss, the Sixers are favourites for the match at 1.82, however it’s hard to have faith in them after Thursday night’s performance. The Hurricanes are tempting 2.14 outsiders although their bowling attack looks a bit light and will rely heavily on Cameron Boyce who should get the most out of the SCG surface.
Where the biggest mismatch appears to be in this game is the ability to clear the ropes. Hobart have a range of big-hitters such as Dunk, Sangakkara, Bailey, Sammy and Christian, while the Sixers will rely mostly on their top-order for acceleration, in particular Nic Maddinson who looked out of touch on Thursday night. Hobart’s bowling may not be the strongest but the Sixers’ attack also showed susceptibility to clean-hitting against the Thunder so I fancy the visitors to hit the most maximums.