The Hurricanes got off the mark in BBL07 in New Year's Day, but James Buttler believes inconsistency is their Achilles' heel and the Strikers will continue their faultless start to the tournament on Thursday...
"Archer is 11/4 to take most wickets for the Hurricanes and he is easy on the eye. The 22-year-old looks like he prepares for matches in a bath of WD40. Languid and graceful the Barbados-born paceman also plays for Sussex and has ambitions to play his international cricket for England."
Hobart Hurricanes v Adelaide Strikers
Thursday January 4 08:10 GMT
The Hurricanes lost their opening matches against Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Thunder, but started 2018 with a morale-boosting New Year's Day revenge mission over the Thunder. The Hurricanes struggle for consistency and, despite having some players with huge potential, look set to fight out BBL07 for the minor places.
The Strikers have won their first three matches of BBL07 and looked well balanced and every inch a prospective semi-finalist, at least.
They have seen off both Sydney sides and the Brisbane Heat and are starting to look like the team that topped the ladder in both BBL04 and BBL05. Last season's sixth place finish was a huge disappointment and there is a tangible desire to put things right. It is a team effort with few star names. Perhaps an ego-free dressing room is their biggest asset. The Melbourne Stars take note!
I'm often tempted by a price play and with Hobart Hurricanes available at a lofty [2.40] the carrot has been dangled by the Betfair boffins, but I'm not going to nibble. A price play is the way if you can't decide a game's outcome and one team provides significant value. For me, Adelaide Strikers, despite offering a measly [1.69] are the way to go.
The Strikers 100% record should be extended to four matches in BBL07 and the head-to-heads between the two sides don't dissuade me either with the Strikers leading 4-2 of the six completed matches. One crumb of comfort for Hobart backers was that their only win since BBL01 came in last years corresponding fixture - a crunching eight wicket win with 14 balls to spare.
In last season's win, it was D'Arcy Short who led the way with 60 from 39 balls, which included 3 sixes and 7 fours. The 27-year-old left-hander is a powerhouse at the top of Hobart's batting, and a career strike-rate of 159.25 bears testament and suggests you'll know your fate quickly if you back him at 13/5 to top score again.
Short is the leading run-scorer for the Hurricane in BBL07 after blitzing the Thunder with 97 in 63 balls. No other player has accumulated over 100 runs this season. There are alternatives. Ben McDermott scored a scintillating hundred in BBL06, but is yet to find regular form, while Dan Christian and George Bailey offer experience, but Short belies his name and provided the value in this market.
Alex Carey has scored 129 runs at 64.50 in BBL07 with a 141.75 strike rate. If Chris Lynn had not recovered from injury he may well have been included in Australia's ODI squad to play England. His omission is a huge boost for the Strikers and at 16/5 he offers far better value in this market than his team's expected leading man, Travis Head, who has yet to hit his straps in the tournament. Overseas import Colin Ingram is also yet to go big and I can't take him at 4/1 despite knowing he is more than capable of being one of this tournament's leading men.
With the ball
The difference between the sides could be in the bowling department. While Jofra Archer has taken five wickets for Hobart, the Hurricanes need more from their attack. In contrast, for the Strikers, Ben Laughlin has snaffled nine scalps and Rashid Khan six.
Archer is 11/4 to take most wickets for the Hurricanes and he is easy on the eye. The 22-year-old looks like he prepares for matches in a bath of WD40. Languid and graceful the Barbados-born paceman also plays for Sussex and has ambitions to play his international cricket for England. He has what it takes to be become a world star.
I'd take Archer at that price and also look at Khan to star with the ball for the Strikers at 5/2. The 19-year-old Afghan leggie is the poster boy of his country's incredible rise to Test status and this Big Bash tournament looks set to be another successful line in a rapidly growing CV. If he fires, I actually prefer the 7/1 on Khan to be Man of the Match.
My regular bet at 7/4 on over 1.5 run outs in the game. Repeat to fade. It's a bet that has legs for the duration of the match and every chance of success.
James Buttler at BBL07
Units Staked 12.50
Units Returned 20.74
Profit/Loss - +8.24 units