Only two home and away games remain for BBL07 and as you would expect at this point of the season, the table is very close to being set. Perth, Adelaide, the Renegades and Hobart currently find themselves in the top four and only Brisbane can challenge those positions. The Heat need plenty to go their way with a net run rate of -.331, but a victory to the Stars against Hobart will go a long way to helping its cause. It needs a victory no matter what, but chasing down a net run rate of -0.277 or worse from the Hurricanes is a lot more realistic than the Renegades +0.178.
BRISBANE HEAT HEAD TO HEAD @ $1.78 AGAINST MELBOURNE RENEGADES
STARS ($2.31) VS HURRICANES ($1.62)
AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 27/01, 16:10
BBL07 has by far been the worst season in the Stars history having missed the finals for the first time and to add insult to injury, finish a distant eighth on the bottom of the table. Most at the Stars will be counting down the days until their tournament comes to a close. The final game of Kevin Pietersen provides some motivation to claim victory, but there isn’t much else to play for. A score of 5/189 after a Glenn Maxwell master class should have set up its second set of points, but poor execution from experienced bowlers would ultimately cost it another game against the Sixers.
The Hobart Hurricanes will be desperate for a victory here as a net run rate of -0.277 leaves it extremely vulnerable to a waiting Brisbane Heat. A win secures a finals berth, but it can’t be complacent coming up against the bottom side. Like nearly every other side during BBL07, the Hurricanes were humbled by Perth last game. After a fast start Hobart lost 4/27 to be crawling in the 11th over, but a brilliant innings of 66 from 37 balls from an unlikely saviour in Simon Milenko got his side to a competitive 5/167. Although Hobart’s bowlers struggled to claim consecutive wickets and Turner would finish the game with four balls to spare.
Hobart is a justified short favourite and really shouldn’t have any problems securing its position in the top four.
HOBART HURRICANES TO WIN BY 25-30 RUNS/7 WICKETS
HEAT ($1.78) VS RENEGADES ($2.05)
AT THE GABBA, SATURDAY 27/01, 19:20
The Brisbane Heat will need a great performance and a bit of luck to steal a top four position, but it certainly isn’t an impossible situation. Should the Hobart Hurricanes lose, the equation is much easier for Brisbane as a win against the Renegades could be enough or at the very least small margin in its favour. Should Hobart win, the Heat need to beat the Renegades by approximately 42 runs or chase down a target in the 15th over. The key to all of this is the return of Chris Lynn, who proved his fitness in a practice match during the week against a Brisbane Premier XI by thrashing 83 from 28 balls. To say that Brisbane is pleased for his availability would be an understatement.
The Melbourne Renegades returned to form with a tense win against the Sydney Thunder to give its finals hopes much needed security heading into the final game. The Gades were ruthless at selection, dropping veteran Brad Hogg and opener Marcus Harris to find a more balanced mix. Although Harris received a late reprieve with the omission of Brad Hodge and he didn’t waste the opportunity. Opening with Matt Short, a more positive Harris set the pace to score 64 from 41 balls. 25 off the final over of Mitch McClenaghan due to some extravagant striking from Beau Webster lifted the total to an impressive 6/189. There were some nervous bowling moments for the Gades, but enough was done to defend the total.
Saturday night is superbly set for some excitement and fireworks. While it all came together for the Gades against the Thunder, I still feel the bowling is vulnerable, especially to big hitters on flat wickets. The likes of Lynn and McCullum will be licking their lips, but a margin of 42 runs and a 15 over chase are tough tasks to potentially overcome.
BRISBANE HEAT TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/6 WICKETS