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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||41||0||10.25|
|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||28||2||7.00|
In the history of Big Bash League, Hobart Hurricanes have never finished first. However, in the ongoing edition, they have been a standout team with eight wins out of ten matches. They're the first team to cement their place in the semifinals with four matches still to go. Up against them in the next match will be Brisbane Heat, who, on the contrary, have had a dismal season so far. They are in a situation where even a win in every game does not guarantee them a playoff spot. They, however, will come out all guns blazing at Hobart on 29th January in a bid to keep hanging in the tournament albeit by a thin thread.
In the tournament thus far, the Hurricanes apparently have never had a problem to score totals in excess of 180, and understandably so, considering the form their openers have been in. However, they have had problems in defending totals, one such instance was against Sydney Sixers in their last match.
D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade continued from where they left against the Strikers. Despite a turning surface, the duo was severe on the Sixers' bowlers as they got to 49 without any loss after the end of the powerplay. They registered their ninth fifty-plus partnership in the Big Bash League before D'Arcy's innings was cut short by Manet. Jewell soon followed him in the pavilion, but Ben Mcdermott combined well with Matthew Wade to take their total to 140 when Wade was dismissed for 64. George Bailey did the job he has been doing in the tournament to perfection, that is, the finishing job. He slammed 22 runs off just 9 deliveries to take team's total to 172 which otherwise was heading towards more of 160.
It hasn't happened often that Hurricanes have emerged as second best. With the likes of Faulkner, Jofra Archer, and Johan Botha, the Hurricanes appeared to have the total covered, but thanks to some superb batting by James Vince and Josh Phillipe, their competitive total was made to look below-par.
James Faulkner got Hurricanes off to an excellent start by picking Daniel Hughes in the first over, but no other bowled looked in rhythm as Sixers overhauled the total with more than three overs to spare. Meredith and Rose both conceded at an economy rate of over 13 each which lifted the pressure off the Sixers' pair in the middle overs. Up until now, the duo of Faulkner and Archer has done incredibly well to restrict teams to manageable totals, but as we proceed towards the business end of the tournament, the other bowlers will have to step up and if they can do that, they will be a hard team to beat, not that they already aren't.
Matthew Wade, D'Arcy Short, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, GJ Bailey, Simon Milenko, James Faulkner, Jofra Chioke Archer, Clive Rose, Jarrod Freeman, David Moody.
Another close contest, another heartbreak for Brisbane Heat - such has been their story so far in the tournament. More often than not, Brisbane Heat have been in the driving seat only to crash it in the back-end of the match. It was the same story in their last game where they were defeated by Melbourne Stars in a contest that went down till the wire.
Chasing a small total of 134, Brisbane Heat were well in truly in control until the 17th over where they needed 24 off 20 deliveries with six wickets in hand. Excellent death bowling by Stoinis and Bravo coupled with poor shot selection by the Heat batsmen helped Stars strengthen their case to qualify for the semifinals.
Although it was a smallish total, it wasn't going to be easy considering the slow nature of the surface. Max Bryant utilized the field restrictions and the hardness of the ball to get Heat off to a quick start. However, wickets kept tumbling at the other end with Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum, and Alex Ross walking back to the pavilion without contributing much. Matt Renshaw then steadied the ship with the help to Jimmy Peirson to take them within the touching distance of a win but failed to drag their team across the finish line.
Earlier with the ball, the Heat were excellent against the star-studded lineup of Melbourne Stars. The way their bowlers pulled it back after Stoinis and Dunk got Stars off to a stable start was commendable. Swepson, Cutting, and Doggett were instrumental in the middle and back-end of the innings as they conceded 66 runs off their ten overs combined and picked two wickets each. Overall, their bowling has been doing the job, but it's their batting which has struggled more often than not. They are on a verge of elimination and there couldn't be a better time for their batsmen to step-up.
Max Bryant, Brendon McCullum, Chris Lynn, Matt Renshaw, Alex Ross, Jimmy Peirson, Ben Cutting, Josh Lalor, Brendan Doggett, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Going by the results in the tournament so far, the difference between the two teams is equivalent to that of day and night. Hobart Hurricanes have been the most difficult side to get past whereas Brisbane Heat have faltered every now and then. Batting is in superb form at the moment for Heat with their openers being the top-two scorers in the Big Bash League. George Bailey's finishing skills in the tournament have been second to none and with a balanced bowling attack, Hobart Hurricanes are firm favorites to win and get a step closer to securing a home semifinal.
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