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January 26, 2020

Adelaide Strikers v Hobart Hurricanes

Venue: Adelaide Oval | Start: 7:10pm (AEDT)

Adelaide Strikers – The equation is simple for the Strikers in this crucial clash against the Hurricanes; win, and they’re through to a qualifying final against the Stars at the MCG, earning the right to a double-chance. Lose, and they’ll remain in third, from which they’ll play the winner of the 4th v 5th ‘eliminator’. While the revamped Big Bash finals series may confuse some, the fact of the matter is there’s a lot riding on this one for Jason Gillespie’s side. By setting a date with the Stars (a side they’ve beaten twice this season, no less) next Friday, they’ll have the chance to progress directly to the final.

The Strikers are the form team of the Big Bash as it sits. While the Stars have wobbled of late, the men in blue have won their last four in a row. And their form is reflected in the overall BBL09 markets, as they’ve slowly whittled away their price in the last fortnight. In particular, their bowling performances have been brilliant, defending the total set by their batsmen in the last three games. It’s no susprise, then, that they have three of the top six wicket takers of BBL09 with Rashid Khan (18 wickets), Peter Siddle (17) and Wes Agar (16). Should this trio fire again at home, it’ll be tough going for the Canes batsmen. The Strikers have made no changes for this clash.

Hobart Hurricanes – The Canes are very much alive in BBL09, two wins on the bounce resurrecting their hunt for the finals. But they’ve certainly got their work cut out against one of the form teams of the competition and this clash, their last of the home-and-away season, is make or break. Win, and they’re a chance of squeezing into the top five (provided other results go their way); lose and it’s curtains on their campaign.

Their latest win, a comprehensive 57-run thrashing of fellow finals hopeful the Thunder on Friday night, was their best of the season, showcasing what’s been missing for for Ben Griffith’s side. It was a coherent batting performance, with two of the top three (Mac Wright and Matt Wade) passing 50 to provide a platform from which the middle order – in particular George Bailey – could launch.

No one forecast part-time wrist spinner D’Arcy Short taking 5/21 to see his side romp to victory, but perhaps they’ve unearthed a missing ingredient to their campaign. While Short’s absence with the bat was very much felt while in India on international duty, his bowling was not so much. Perhaps that’s because he had bowled just eight overs before Friday night’s clash. Importantly, four of his wickets were against the Thunder top-six but perhaps most impressive was the fact he claimed player of the match honours despite getting a second-ball duck with the bat.

Along with Clive Rose and Qais Ahmad, Short’s role could be crucial at the Adelaide Oval, a venue spinner have garnered success in BBL09. Like the Strikers, the Canes go into this one unchanged.

Betting Analysis – The Strikers are averaging 8.5 runs an over at the Adelaide Oval this summer, equivalent to a total of 170 (when batting the full 20 overs) which is invariably a winning one. And while the incentive could hardly be greater for the Canes given a finals berth is on the line, the home side seemingly have the greater strength in depth and class. For the home side, Phil Salt is averaging 53.7 in his last four innings and represents a strong value option in the individual markets. With the ball, Rashid Khan remains difficult to look past. For the Canes, Matthew Wade looks in ominous touch with the bat while anyone who picked D’Arcy Short (5/21) to top the wicket takers market against the Thunder is a lucky – perhaps genius – punter. He won’t do it again (surely), so look for Qais Ahmad to return to the wickets.

Head to Head: Adelaide Strikers
Top Runs Scorer – Adelaide Strikers: Phil Salt
Most Wickets – Adelaide Strikers: Rashid Khan
Top Runs Scorer – Hobart Hurricanes: Matthew Wade
Most Wickets – Hobart Hurricanes: Qais Ahmad