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January 16, 2020
Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes
Venue: SCG | Start: 7:10pm (AEDT)
Sydney Sixers – The Sixers’ winning streak was snapped in brutal fashion by the Stars on Sunday night, Marcus Stoinis crushing any hopes of victory against the ladder leaders. Despite the defeat, Greg Shipperd’s side are still a game clear in second on the BBL table. Looking to bed down that all important top-two position, victory over the Canes would put them in a great position with four games to go before finals. Skipper Moises Henriques remained positive when speaking to the press on Wednesday, saying his side learnt a lot from the 44-run loss, conceding Stoinis played ‘a hell of an innings’.
Nathan Lyon’s thumb injury (acquired during the SCG test) continues to keep him out of the Sixers squad. And while he won’t saddle up for this clash, he remains on track to return soon. And with Australian teammates Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood also set to rejoin the squad following the conclusion of the ODI series against India, the Sixers are well placed heading into the finals series.
Lyon’s absence, though, means more opportunities for youngster Lloyd Pope (who has played eight of nine games in BBL09), and Ben Manenti or Steve O’Keefe should they opt for two tweakers in their match day XI.
Hobart Hurricanes – Hurricanes coach Adam Griffith described Monday night’s loss to the Scorchers as ‘disappointing’ and ‘embarrassing’ after being bowled out for just 98. It was the lowest total of BBL09 (excluding rain-reduced matches) and only the second time ever the men in purple have been skittled for a double-figure score. It would also consign them to 3-6, leaving them in a precarious state heading towards the finals series. As such, Griffith said Thursday night’s clash at the SCG was ‘crunch time’. While they’ve maintained a reasonable bowling output this season, it’s their form with the bat that needs addressing, something Griffith conceded. “The challenge for us now is to get this batting group right,” he said. “We’ve mixed and matched the batting line-ups and moved people around a little bit to try and find that formula for us.”
The Canes will take confidence in their win over the Sixers earlier this season, when Qais Ahmad ran riot to claim figures of 4/12 in a man-of-the-match performance. That day, however, two of their driving figures were D’Archy Short and James Faulkner – both of whom won’t be available this time around due to Australian duties and injury respectively. Griffith has made just one change for the SCG clash, finally losing patience with all-rounder Simon Milenko who had played all nine games in BBL09 until now. He makes way for batsman Mac Wright.
Betting Analysis – The Sixers haven’t played at the SCG since their scintillating super over win in the Sydney Smash on December 28. Look for skipper Henriques to again lead from the front on a deck he invariably bats well on. With the ball, Sixers’ leading wicket taker Tom Curran (14 in BBL09) should bounce back from a tough night at the MCG (1/58, although taking the only wicket). For the visitors, Matthew Wade remains the smart bet in the individual markets given his skillset and prospective balls faced as opener. Similarly, back Hurricanes leading wicket taker Qais Ahmad to again cause the Sixers’ middle order some issues.
Head to Head: Sydney Sixers
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Sixers: Moises Henriques
Most Wickets – Sydney Sixers: Tom Curran
Top Runs Scorer – Hobart Hurricanes: Matthew Wade
Most Wickets – Hobart Hurricanes: Qais Ahmad