A couple of market overreactions due to Sunday's game have led to some big prices on two Sixers veterans to shine with bat and ball, says Jamie Pacheco.
"The odds-compilers may have missed a trick. As stated already, Henriques decided he wanted to have a bat at three and came in ahead of Dan Hughes last match."
Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers
Wednesday December 8, 8:35
Wade and David lead a strong batting line-up
Quite what sort of a season they have may very much depend on how English duo Jordan Thompson and Harry Brook get on. The standard in the Bash isn't always the highest but you still need to adapt to conditions and they will have played little or no cricket here before, so it's a bit of a gamble.
Veteran James Faulkner, the one who had such a knack a few years ago of always hitting the winning runs in big games, has been released. Apparently, it was an issue over money with the Hurricanes thinking he'd accept just anything and Faulkner standing his ground. No-one else went for him but he's still only 31 and if he can stay injury-free, he might yet get a gig next year.
Tim David, a really good finisher who's had a fine year on the T20 circuit, is there. As is Sandeep Lamichhane, who's played plenty of Bash cricket but with limited success.
The biggest boost though is the availability of Matthew Wade. Opener, keeper, skipper. He does the lot. Him and D'Arcy Short form one of the best opening partnerships in the competition.
Hurricanes Likely XI: Wade, Short, McDermott, Brook, Handscomb, David, Thompson, Meredith, Ellis, Boland, Lamichhane.
Sixers flawless in opener
Talk about making a statement. The Sixers opened their season with an absolutely devastating display against the well-fancied Stars.
They posted 213/4 thanks to a good start from the consistent James Vince (44 off 29), a man of the match effort of 83 off 47 from Josh Philippe and a fine 76 off 38 from skipper Moises Henriques, who fancied a go at three when he normally comes in at four or five.
They then bowled very well, too.
There were four wickets from veteran Steve O'Keefe and three from the ultra-reliable Sean Abbott.
Hayden Kerr, making a rare appearance in the place of Ben Dwarshius, was denied the chance to take a hat-trick by his skipper, who later explained the decision by pointing out he wanted O'Keefe to get a chance at a five-fer. Which he didn't get anyway.
It was a record margin of victory and not just against anyone. Early days but they'll be very hard to stop if they carry on like this.
Likely XI: Philippe, Vince, Hughes, Henriques, Silk, Christian, Curran, Jordan, Abbott, Kerr, O'Keefe.
Venue and conditions
Just two matches were played at Launceston last year. One was washed out and the other saw the Hurricanes post 146, easily chased by the Strikers.
The season before (2019-20) there were again just two matches and again, one was rain-reduced. In the completed one, the Strikers (again) posted 186, 10 too many for Hobart.
The Hurricanes look a side best suited to chasing where fast starts from Wade and Short can put them on course before a few other big-hitters finish the job. If they're even needed.
But the Sixers look well-suited to doing both, which is why they're so dangerous. It will be interesting to see what Henriques does if he wins the toss.
I was quite surprised to see the Hurricanes are 8-5 up on the head-to-head.
Surprised because it's the Sixers who are the joint-most successful side in the history of the Bash and the Hurricanes one of only two sides to never have won it.
But I think that head-to-head has a lot to do with why the Sixers aren't shorter than the 1.84/5.
Simplistic as it may sound, this is the team who won the last two editions and is fresh from a hammering of one of the favourites just a couple of days ago.
Against one who didn't make the Playoffs last year and has seen plenty of changes in terms of personnel, who may take time to settle.
Still, a fast start from Wade/Short or an early wicket seeing Vince or Philippe back in the hutch may mean you can get odds-against on the Sixers in-running. Take it if you can.
The odds-compilers may have missed a trick.
As stated already, Henriques decided he wanted to have a bat at three and came in ahead of Dan Hughes last match.
Henriques scored a brilliant 76 and once he and Philippe got out, they then promoted other big-hitters like Dan Christian ahead of Hughes, to the extent that he didn't get a bat at all.
So? Not all matches of theirs are going to pan out like that.
And that's not to say that after years and years of coming in at four or five Henriques has all of a sudden decided he's a number three.
The fact he (7/2), Philippe (23/10) and Vince (3/1 thanks to an odds Boost) all got runs last time out plus Hughes' 'demotion' mean there's a big gulf between those three and Hughes, who is 13/2.
That's far too big for someone batting in his position and with his record. 10 fifties in 77 BBL matches, decent strike rate of 120, high score of 96.
We wouldn't bet him to be their top scorer over the course of a season, but he's definitely overpriced here.
There's also been an overreaction in the Sixers' top bowler market.
O'Keefe is chalked up at 5/2 favourite on the back of his four wickets on Sunday. But his T20 career record shows he averages less than a wicket a game.
Tom Curran (13/5) can blow hot and cold while Chris Jordan (3/1) was only given two overs on Sunday, admittedly because the Stars were bowled out before the 20 were up. But he's never been that efficient in the Big Bash before in two previous spells at two different teams.
But by far their most consistent performer over the years has been Abbott (11/4).
A strike rate of 14.57 has allowed him to take 109 wickets in 81 matches making him the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of the Bash. Ben Laughlin, unlikely to play much this season, has just two more.
Given he's obviously bowling well as evidenced by his three wickets the other day, and Abbott's a strong choice.
Get a Free £5 Bet – Every Day!
Stake £20 on multiples over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 to use on multiples. Bets must settle before 23:59 on the day they're placed. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply. And we will also be offering No Cash Out suspensions on all match odds bets on the Sportsbook for the Big Bash.