Ed Hawkins previews the first Big Bash league play-off from Hobart on Thursday with the loser knocked out...
"On the head-to-had both sides have a home win apiece this term but Thunder do travel well to Tazzy. They have one win in seven attempts"
Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Thunder
Thursday 30 January, 08:40
Live on BT Sport
Hobart lose Miller
Hurricanes looked down and out when they lost a chunk of their best talent halfway through the season. D'Arcy Short's call to Australia ODI tour of India and injuries to Riley Meredith and James Faulkner left them playing catch up.
They won their last three and will argue they are the form team. Short has reprised his destructive opening partnership with Matthew Wade who, frankly, has put his supposedly superior colleague in the shade. Wade smashed a brilliant 130 off 61 balls against Strikers.
More importantly, Hurricanes seem to have found a gem in pacer Nathan Ellis, whose emergence has meant that Meredith hasn't been missed. The bowling group looks pretty tidy. Simon Milenko has been added to the squad after David Miller departed for South Africa duty.
Probable XI Wade, Short, McDermott, Wright, Bailey, Faulkner, Rose, Milenko, Ellis, Ahmed, Boland.
Khawaja needs to fire
As we said in our play-offs preview, Thunder could well have qualified with ease had their match against Adelaide Strikers not been abandoned. This campaign has been a hard luck story so fra considering Chris Green's ban for an illegal action. Are their fortunes about to change?
What they require is Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja to hit a rich vein of form as a combination up front. Hales has been beginning to tick nicely but Khawaja is waiting to spark. A big-game player, this is the sort of situation in which he thrives. Callum Ferguson's form has fallen through the floor.
Chris Morris, not wanted by South Africa, is the man who holds it all together in the middle order. Jono Cook and Arjun Nair have the potential to tie sides down in the middle overs.
Possible XI Hales, Khawaja, Ferguson, Ross, Morris, Lenton, Sams, Nair, Sandhu, Cook, Tremain
Hosts eye big score
There is a 63% win percentage for the chaser in the last five seasons at Blundstone Arena. We would be folly to ignore that. Likewise the potential for big runs if Hobart bat first. The average score is 165 batting first and 66% of side bust the 160 mark.
We're looking for decent numbers on Hobart to go beyond that. If we can get anything bigger than 5/42.30 on them busting 170 or more we'll play. They average just shy of 168 batting first and have beaten that 160 mark an extraordinary 77% of the time.
Thunder's bowling attack is not the most miserly in the final five and they came under pressure at this ground only five days ago, conceding 185.
Visitors could trade
Hobart are as short as 8/111.73 to set up a tie with Adelaide Strikers and knock out Thunder, who are 11/82.34. As discussed in Cricket...Only Bettor (see below) there is room in the latter's price for a trade.
We would like to keep the toss bias on our side if doing so but timing could be everything. Thunder are likely to face a stiff chase so it is entirely possible the best time to get with them could be at the break.
On the head-to-had both sides have a home win apiece this term but Thunder do travel well to Tazzy. They have one win in seven attempts, conceding an average of 8.62 per over. That reinforces our wager on Hobart runs.
Listen to our full Big Bash Finals preview with Ed Hawkins, CricViz's Pat Noone and Jamie Pacheco
Wade and Short to the fore
Short's top-bat win rate has tailed off this season in Big Bash to the tune of it dipping to 26% over the last two campaigns. Wade, his opening partner, has a win rate of 34% over the same period. Wade's 9/4 (Sportsbook) is value as opposed to Short's 21/10. A shrewder wager is the 11/5 that Wade scores a fifty. He's managing the half-salute 43.4% of the time. That's 12.1% in our favour. For the record, Short has an identical fifty rate. Sportsbook make him 11/5 as well.
Edge on Thunder fours
Thunder have been underrated by Sportsbook for their four-hitting ability. They are averaging 10.6 fours per game this season compared to Hobart's 9.7. We're not sure that justifies Thunder being outsiders at even money. For fours and sixes match totals Sportsbook go over and under 26.5 (5/6 the pair) and 10.5 (10/11 and 4/5 respectively). The averages in the last two years are 27.1 and 10.3
Ed Hawkins P-L
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
Back Hobart 170 or more first-innings runs at 5/42.30 or better (2pts)