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It just doesn't stop getting better. Big Bash League 2019 continues to throw up surprises as Hobart Hurricanes just survived a scare from Mohammad Nabi to still hang-in in the tournament. They have two matches to go and need massive wins in both of them, but considering how hungry they looked against the Renegades, disregarding the Hurricanes could prove to be a mistake, a fatal one. Sydney Thunder would not want to make that mistake of taking the Hurricanes lightly as the two teams lock horns in an all-important clash on Friday, 24th January. Sydney Thunder, too, are still unsure of a playoff spot and would be desperate for a win in this match. While they will continue to stay alive in the tournament even after a loss, another loss for them will make their qualification extremely difficult. For Hurricanes, however, the consequences of a loss would be even more severe as it will mean curtains for them. With survival at stake, both the teams are expected to come out hard at each other and a scintillating encounter is on the cards. The match is to be played at Bellerive Oval, Hobart.
With tournament almost coming to the end, the Hurricanes finally found their rhythm back and time will tell whether or not it is too late. Even though their win over Renegades didn't bring about any change in their position at the ladder, it kept them in a position from which they can still qualify. They have two matches to go and have nine points to their name. If they can improve their net run-rate, which is -0.748 as of now, and the other results go their away, they'll be in with a chance.
It was imperative for the Hurricanes to register a win over Renegades to stay in within the touching distance of the top five teams in the tournament and their captain led them from the front. After being put into bat first by Dan Christian, Renegades' skipper, Matthew Wade went after Mohammad Nabi's first over and quickly found rhythm. His partnership with Macalister Wright that lasted for 84 runs and 7.2 overs was intrumental in getting Hurricanes off to a flying start as the pair put together 78 runs in the powerplay. Wright was more measured in his approach and accelerated only after the departure of Wade. He scored 70 off 50 deliveries and complemented Matthew Wade to perfection.
As was the case in the previous edition of the Big Bash League for the Hurricanes, they failed to sustain the momentum in the middle overs and could score only 39 runs off the middle seven overs despite having wickets in hand. Jake Doran and David Miller both struggled for timing as the were dismissed after getting respective personal scores 4 and 11. Ben McDermott coupled with Wright provided Hurricanes with a flourishing finish to the innings as they added 67 runs in the final with McDermott doing most of the damage. He scored 38 off just 19 deliveries. The Hurricanes eventually finished with 190 runs on the board, at least 15 runs short of what they appeared to be ending with midway through their innings.
While the match swung to and fro between the two teams for most part of the innings, it looked firmy under Renegades' control after Nathan Ellis' third over. Mohammad Nabi was pretty severe at the death on Clive Rose and Nathan Ellis and scored more than 30 runs in the two death overs bowled by the duo, bringing the equation down to 12 needed of 9. Rose, however, dismissed Nabi and Ellis held his nerve in the final over as he gave away only five runs to win the match for his side. The Hurricanes ended up winning the match by four runs.
A misfiring top-order had been a big problem for the Hurricanes up until their last match and the opening pair of Wade and Wright seem to be the perfect solution to that. With the likes of Miller, McDermott, Bailey, and Doran to follow, their batting all of a sudden looks extremely potent, at least on paper. They will have D'Arcy Short back for the next game and we might see Wright being dropped to number three to include Short. With a bolstered batting unit, new-found confidence, and a bowling unit that was already doing well, Hobart Hurricanes will not be an easy side to bit, especially in a do-or-die encounter.
D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Mac Wright, David Miller, Ben McDermott, GJ Bailey, James Faulkner, Clive Rose, Nathan Ellis, Qais Ahmad, Scott Boland.
While the Thunder are just outside the top-four at the ladder, they are as much in the competition as the two sides above them. A couple of wins more and Perth Scorchers should be flying into the semifinals. The problem, however, is that they have only two matches to go. Currently, the Thunder have 11 points to their name and would ideally want 15 points.
Thunder got off to a terrific start in the tournament, but they failed to keep the momentum as they tournament progressed. In their last four matches, they somehow managed to win two, and consequently kept themselves in the hunt. Exceptional bowling coupled and a bit of assistance from rain helped them prevail over Sydney Sixers, but they suffered a monumental defeat at the hands of Perth Scorchers, the defeated that put a heavy dent on their net run-rate as well.
Defending a total of 154, Thunder's bowlers looked fatigued and clueless as Scorchers' belligerent openers merried their way to the total. Thunder had to wait for 136 runs to get first wicket, but by them the game was all but over. Amist a poor outing, Thunder had some positives to draw as well. Alex Hales looked in fantastic touch and single-handedly carried Scorchers to a comfortable total. He almost carried the bat, but lack of support and batsmen perishing regularly at the other end never allowed him to play freely. Still, he managed to score 85, which was a fantastic personal score.
With surface assisting quicks early on, Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja both struggled to find timing against in-form Scorchers' bowlers. As a result, Thunder could score just 32 runs in the first six over and lost wickets in chunks thereafter in a bid to accelerate quickly. After a rather uneventful middle-period, it was Alex Ross who joined Alex Hales as the duo put together fifty runs to take Thunder past the 150-run mark. The 153-run total, however, proved too easy to hunt down for the Scorchers.
Callum Ferguson, Jonathan Cook, AD Hales, Liam Bowe, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team prediction for the Big Bash League 2019 match between Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder
This upcoming match will reignite hopes for a playoff push for the winning side. Considering that, both the sides are expected to come hard at each other. With Australia's tour of India already over and Aussie players back in the country, we are likely to see reinforced lineups for both the sides. While Sydney Thunder have done better between the two sides in the tournament on the whole, the Hurricanes have looked better of late, and were brilliant against the Renegades. D'Arcy Short's likely return to the squad is only going to add to their balance and lift their spirits. Additionally, they are playing on their home ground and that could be of considerable advantage in a crunch game. Keeping that in mind as well as the other reasons mentioned above, betting on Hurricanes' win would be the way to go in this all-important fixture.
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