Sunday’s earlier game in the Big Bash T20 league should be one of the closest contests between two evenly matched sides in Brisbane Heat and Hobart Hurricanes (7am GMT).
Hobart are biggest at at 6/1 (Betfred) to lift the trophy outright while the Brisbane Heat are slightly longer at 7/1 (Bet365, Ladbrokes) and that suggests a hard fought game in Brisbane this weekend.
Some bookies are showing identical odds of 10/11 for both teams and it will take just one big performance from within the ranks to decide the outcome. There is the potential for the lottery element in T20 to play a part but the personnel in each squad will help to predict the eventual winners here.
Hurricanes will be helped by the fact that they have the current Australian T20 captain in their ranks. George Bailey only plays in the shortest form of the game at International level and won’t be troubled by call ups or blocking from the Aussie selectors. His presence and experience is important to Hobart and his leadership skills could help to tip tight matches.
Bailey is joined by Scott Styris, one of the most sought after batsmen in T20 and a man who blasted a century off just 37 balls while playing for the Sussex Sharks during the English summer. Further Twenty 20 quality is provided by Aiden Blizzard and Travis Birt and the strong batting order is one of the reasons why some are taking the Hurricanes as their outside bet for the outright trophy.
Meanwhile, the Heat’s line up isn’t quite as strong and the side will rely heavily on the runs scored by Shane Watson at the top of the order. Watson’s participation in this match may be in doubt as the all-rounder has only just returned to action after injury but as yet, the Australian board haven’t blocked his appearance.
It’s a different story in the bowling line ups where the Hurricane’s Ben Hilfenhaus will be missing ahead of the Australian test series with Sri Lanka. His absence means that Doug Bollinger provides the experience in an attack that is promising if a little young to compete all the way to the final.
However, the Heat have been dealt an even bigger blow by South Africa’s refusal to allow paceman Dale Steyn to play any part in this competition. Steyn had been signed by Brisbane in an attempt to provide some much need penetration to a steady attack and this will certainly affect the Heat’s attempts to lift the trophy.
Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Dan Christian are left to form a respectable set of bowlers but Steyn could have tipped the odds in their favour.
Overall, the two sides may be evenly matched in this opener but it seems that the Hurricanes have a definite edge when it comes to the batting. Bailey, Styris, Blizzard and Birt will be tested by the Heat but expect one of those men to provide the match winning innings that will take Hobart over the line.
- This Preview’s Betting Tips: Take Hobart Hurricanes to win at evens (1/1) with William Hill.