Big Bash Betting: How the final four stack up

Marcus Stoinis
Stoinis has been a sensation
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Ed Hawkins runs the rule over the last four and picks out a must-have wager for the semi-finals...

"Any analyst worth his salt will tell you that it is bowlers who win T20 franchise tournaments"

Confident of an upset?

Hobart Hurricanes [1.84] v Melbourne Stars [2.16]
Thursday 14 February, 08:15

Hurricanes, as you would expect, are warm orders. They lost only four times and topped the table with ease. They are no better than [3.25] for their second title. But doubts still remain. That's probably because they are nerveless chasers but a little vulnerable batting first.

Moreover, their strength is undoubtedly the bat. With D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade laying waste to attacks they could be considered one-dimensional. Against the Stars they face an excellent bowling unit led by the spin masters Sandeep Lamichhane and Adam Zampa. And if they pass the test, it will be another crack bowling unit in the final - the Renegades or Sixers.

Any analyst worth his salt will tell you that it is bowlers who win T20 franchise tournaments and despite the form of James Faulkner (who has had a knee niggle), Riley Meredith and Jofra Archer they haven't looked quite as mean since Johan Botha announced his shock retirement halfway through. Botha is still their most economical bowler of those to have played more than two matches. His replacement, Qais Ahmed, has been tighter. He could be the missing piece if form holds.

At the odds for this contest we would not be foolish enough to take on Hobart in a chase. But Stars are unquestionably value batting second. Marcus Stoinis is in the form of his life and alongside Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell it is a dangerous batting line-up. If Stars, who are second favs at [4.0], pin down Short and Wade with spin up front, they should be confident of an upset.

They have come late to the party but were handed a terrific boost when their Australia players returned. This made all the difference, as discussed here. Not as big, though, when Lamichhane touched down. His Bangladesh Premier League stint was not successful. But Sylhet's loss of Stars' gain. Player of the tournament will be beyond him because he's missed a chunk but the Nepalese is a game-changer. He's signed for Delhi in the IPL, too. One for the notebook.

Hobart Hurricanes
Batting run rate 8.6
Bowling run rate 8.0
Batting first wins/defeats 3/4
Batting second wins/defeats 7/0

Melbourne Stars
Batting run rate 7.6
Bowling run rate 7.6
Batting first wins/defeats 4/4
Batting second wins/defeats 3/3

Seeking chasers

Melbourne Renegades [1.84] v Sydney Sixers [2.16]
Friday 15 February, 08:15

With chasers dominating the tournament, 21 of the last 36 at Docklands won by the chaser and both these teams chasing specialists it should be pretty easy to work out how to bet.

Indeed, thank goodness for the toss as these two could be twins separated at birth. Both are stronger with the ball than the bat. Kane Richardson, for Renegades, and Sean Abbott, for Sixers, are vying for top wicket-taker honours. They are ably supported by a canny spinners, Cameron Boyce for the Renegades and Steve O'Keefe for the Sixers.

The similarities do not end there. The batting can be a little shaky if the respective big guns go cheaply. Aaron Finch, one feels, absolutely must bring his a-game if Renegades are going to win the tournament while Daniel Hughes has perhaps been unfortunate to be overlooked by Australia after sterling work for the Sixers.

Even when the absence of a key player threatened to give one an advantage, it was quickly rubbed out by... the absence of a key player. Mohammad Nabi, a vital spin bowler and middle-order cog, has been recalled by Afghanistan while Tom Curran has left for England duty in the Caribbean after signing a three-year Sixers contract.

We suspect that Nabi is the more significant loss, particularly as we not enamoured with Dan Christian's strokeless effort against the Hurricanes in the denouement of the group stage.

Not long ago we recognised both Renegades ([4.10] for glory) and Sixers had been underrated on the market. Sixers were a whopping [16.0] at that stage and are the [4.50] outsiders now. We can squeeze a bit more value out of them yet and given the disparity in odds Sixers batting second looks corking value at [1.90] or better.

Melbourne Renegades
Batting run rate 7.2
Bowling run rate 7
Batting first wins/defeats 3/3
Batting second wins/defeats 5/3

Sydney Sixers
Batting run rate 7.6
Bowling run rate 7.6
Batting first wins/defeats 3/4
Batting second wins/defeats 5/2

Ed Hawkins P-L

2019: +10.44pts
2018: +20.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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