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|Jofra Chioke Archer||3.0||0||28||0||9.33|
Perth Scorchers topped the table with 16 points in the table and have rightly earned a home semi-final against 4th-place holders Hobart Hurricanes at Perth on 1st February. In their last league match, the Scorchers defeated Adelaide Strikers by 4 wickets to make it to the first position after consistently doing well in the previous games. Hurricanes, on the other hand, lost their last game to Melbourne Stars but managed to qualify for the semi-finals with 10 points in their bag. Both teams have experienced players, and when they met last time the Scorchers had emerged victorious by 5 wickets; the hosts are well equipped to repeat the winning performance, but it could be anybody’s game here on Thursday.
Fast-bowlers Tim Bresnan and Jhye Richardson wreaked havoc on the Strikers in the last match, to restrict them to 137 with help from medium-pacer Matthew Kelly; the trip took 2 wickets each and helped contain the run-flow of the opposition. Later, wicket-keeper batsman Cameron Bancroft posted a well-made 49 to build a good foundation during the chase while captain Adam Voges led from the front with a heroic 56 to steer the team towards the finish line. They have consistently done well to make it to the top of the table and could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with here.
When they met Hurricanes last time, spinner Ashton Agar had claimed 2-14, putting up a spectacular performance to stifle the opponents to 167. Speedsters Matthew Kelly and Joel Paris took 3 wickets between them and bring depth to the attack along with others like Mitchell Johnson and Bresnan. Chasing 168, Bancroft and Ashton Turner built a good foundation with 54 and 50 runs respectively while Klinger, Cartwright, and others down the line kept the scoreboard ticking to win the match by 5 wickets.
The Scorchers have a sturdy batting line-up with experienced players like Klinger, Bancroft, Voges, and all-rounders like Turner and Ashton Agar to name a few. Pacers like Richardson, Johnson, Kelly, and Bresnan could provide consistent wickets while Ashton Agar brings his spin tactics to the table.
Shaun Marsh, M Klinger, CT Bancroft, AJ Turner, Mitchell Marsh, AC Voges, Hilton Cartwright, TT Bresnan, Jhye Richardson, Matthew Kelly, MG Johnson.
Daniel Christian top-scored with 56 off 37 against Melbourne Stars recently while captain George Bailey, Ben McDermott, and Nathan Reardon did well to take the total to 185 batting first. But the pacers put up a dismal show giving away easy runs, and despite a good show by spinner Clive Rose, all-rounder Christian and Cameron Boyce, they couldn’t defend the total and lost the match by 3 wickets. Pacer TS Mills took 2 wickets and spinner D’ Arcy Short claimed a wicket but they were expensive with the runs.
In the match against Scorchers, all-rounder Simon Milenko top-scored with 66 while George Bailey and Matthew Wade pitched in with 30+ runs each to get them to a respectable 167. However, the bowlers had failed to defend the score despite Mills, Jofra Archer, Christian and Thomas Rogers taking a wicket each. They have a good variety of spin and pace, which could help them bounce back in this crucial game.
The Hurricanes have had a mixed run so far, but after having managed to get so far, they will leave no stone unturned to make it to the finals.
Tim Paine, Matthew Wade, GJ Bailey, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, DT Christian, Nathan Reardon, Jofra Chioke Archer, Clive Rose, Thomas Rogers, Riley Meredith.
Although the Hurricanes have good resources, we feel that Perth Scorchers have a stronger batting and pace attack that makes them clear favorites to win and become the first finalists of the season.