The BBL07 semi finals produced an outrageous upset and a thrilling final ball heart stopper to leave the cricketing world wanting more yet again. No one could have possibly predicted the dominance of the Hobart Hurricanes at Perth, who started the match as one of the biggest under dogs in BBL finals history. A 71 run win without your best player against a team that has owned the Big Bash finals in its entirety with key international inclusions is the perfect example of just how unpredictable the shortest format of the game can be. In complete contrast, the Striker’s edge of your seat one run victory against the Renegades brought completely different emotions, but it was exactly what the competition deserved and what we’ve come to expect from this high standard domestic league.
HOBART HURRICANES HEAD TO HEAD @ $1.85
STRIKERS ($1.95) VS HURRICANES ($1.85)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, SUNDAY 02/02, 16:30
The Adelaide Striker’s one run win against the Melbourne Renegades will see it compete in its first ever Big Bash final, topped off further with a home ground advantage as the highest qualifier. The Strikers have found ways to conjure competitive totals despite not possessing the greatest batting depth all year, but the release of Travis Head from national duties would end up being a defining moment as the Striker’s skipper would have a huge all round influence on the result. His unbeaten 85 from 57 balls set up the competitive 5/178 and he was well supported in a 104 run partnership with Jake Weatherald. Head would then do the damage with the ball and claim the huge wicket of Marcus Harris, who was on his way to turning the match himself. There is no doubt that Adelaide looked more vulnerable in the power play without Billy Stanlake and the loss of Rashid Khan to national duties for the final is an even bigger hurdle to cover as the competitions equal leading wicket taker with 18 and an outstanding economy of 5.65. Stanlake will return for the big dance which certainly helps, while Alex Carey has also been released by Cricket Australia.
The Hobart Hurricanes have managed to pull off what some describe as the hardest task in domestic T20 cricket, defeating the Scorchers in a final. It is only the second time Perth has ever failed to reach the Grand Final and when considering the changes beforehand, I doubt there has ever been a bigger BBL upset. The faster nature of the Optus Stadium wicket certainly played into the Hurricanes’ hands and the usually crafty Scorchers attack could do nothing to stop the onslaught of firstly Matthew Wade with 71 off 45 balls and later Ben McDermott’s 67 from 30 balls. Hobart has the highest run rate differential between the fast and slow bowlers, averaging a 9.48 per over against pace and 7.04 to spin. The Scorchers didn’t bowl an over of spin and had five seamers that love to hit the bat hard, so on reflection it isn’t surprising the Hurricanes amassed a total of 4/210. It is fair to say that George Bailey and his men will be licking their lips with the unavailability of Rashid Khan, even more so than any other team. The addition of D’Arcy Short is enormous and he’ll be keen to make an impact after his last start duck.
The loss of Rashid Khan to Strikers is the key denominator. Whenever things have looked nasty for Travis Head of Colin Ingram, he has been the go to man and has rarely let his team down. The Strikers really lack any experienced spinner now and will have to find four overs from part timers again. Hobart is brilliantly set for a title, despite the screams of 50,000 people backing the opposition. The Adelaide wicket is generally brilliant to bat on and will surely suit the Hurricane stroke makers with ball on bat.
HOBART HURRICANES TO WIN BY 15-20 RUNS/6 WICKETS
MAN OF THE MATCH: BEN MCDERMOTT