Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes
Wednesday January 10th 08:10 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Brisbane might just be the most infuriating team in BBL07. Packed full of stars, seemingly invincible at home (their last game saw them thrash the previously unbeaten Scorchers) and yet almost incapable of performing away from the Gabba. They will want to make the most of that home form in this, their penultimate game in Queensland.
The Heat suffered a big blow this week, though, when Chris Lynn was ruled out for at least the next couple of fixtures with a calf strain. The big hitting opener had been key to their game plan and had just been recalled to the Australian limited overs squad. Fortunately, former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum has been in scintillating form so far, knocking up 158 runs at a strike rate of over 143, whilst one of the forgotten men of Australian cricket, Joe Burns, has contributed another 150 at a shade under 146. Both will need to continue that form to make up for Lynn's absence.
Such is the strength of Brisbane's batting that the bowling attack often gets overlooked. It is, however, supremely effective, especially in home conditions. No fewer than four bowlers have picked up six wickets apiece in the tournament so far, with Pakistani leg-spinner Shadab Khan taking his at a strike rate of 12.0, the third best in the competition so far.
The Hurricanes are unbeaten outside Tasmania this year - but only because they've only played one away fixture so far. That puts some pressure on them as they enter the second part of the competition, as they need to show that they can beat even the toughest teams on their own patch if they are to make up ground on the four sides above them in the table.
Their star performer to date has, without doubt, been opening bat D'Arcy Short. He's the second highest run scorer in the competition, and only Lynn and Perth's Ashton Turner have better strike rates than him. He's the only batsman in the top five of the rankings not to have played a T20I.
Sussex fans won't be at all surprised to learn that Jofra Archer is the man leading the attack for the Hurricanes, with eight wickets so far in his five appearances. The problem is, though, that he has not had a lot of support from his teammates thus far, with only Clive Rose and the recently-available Yasir Shah even in the top 25 bowlers. Hobart will need contributions from elsewhere if they are to take down this Brisbane team.
Venue and Conditions
One thing has become clear from the three games played at the Gabba so far: batting second is hard. It is a 'win the toss, bat first, go hard' ground. A score of 190 is barely par here.
You can't ignore Brisbane's fantastic home record in this market, even if they are only priced at 1.758/11. However, if you are tempted to play, you might also want to consider in-play betting. A fortnight ago, Sydney Thunder batted first and should, on all of the statistics, have therefore won. But they totally messed up and scored very slowly despite not losing wickets, gifting the Heat an easy win.
Top Brisbane Heat Batsman
The temptation here will be to go with McCullum, given his record in the competition to date. However, Burns has outscored him in every one of Brisbane's home games to date, so back him at odds of 4.3100/30 or better.
Top Hobart Hurricanes Batsman
Short is, of course the obvious bet here. But you'll struggle to get him at odds better than around 4.216/5. If that doesn't tempt you, then have a look at former Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. He tends to float around the batting order and is often quite effective if he's sent in at number three or four. He should be available at a more-favourable 4.67/2 or so.