The Hurricanes are a confident bet to beat the flaky Stars while two big-hitting middle-order batsmen make appeal at big prices, says Jamie Pacheco.
"But that’s missing the point. Not only do the Hurricanes have their own big hitters in Short, Malan, David and Ingram but crucially, they have the better bowling unit. They’re also at home so should be more familiar with the wicket."
Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes
Monday January 4, 05:05
TV: live on BT Sport
Stars riddled with problems
Not for the first time we have to wonder if the Stars aren't a sort of fair weather cricket team. When Marcus Stoinis or Glenn Maxwell are smashing it to all parts and not thinking about par scores and run rates, they look unbeatable.
But when conditions are tricky and they need good game management or to get over the line the ugly but pragmatic way, it all seems like too much effort.
To be fair to Maxwell himself, he's been their best player by a country mile with the bat and has even taken a few handy wickets. But certain players need to take a long, hard look at themselves.
Overseas 'star' Andre Fletcher has just 62 runs from six knocks, Stoinis just 99 in five innings and only one bowler- Nathan Coulter-Nile- has been going at less than eight an over. Coulter-Nile, to sum up their last couple of weeks, is now injured.
At this rate they'll do well to finish third or fourth in the Group Stages.
Hurricanes blowing strong
The Hurricanes have been really good so far. In the past few seasons their fortunes have been closely linked with how well D'Arcy Short has played, so it says a lot that they've been flying without the left-hander being in any sort of form. He's scored just 114 runs from seven knocks, poor by his standards.
Thankfully for the Hobart side, all of Colin Ingram, Tim David, Brian McDermott and now Dawid Malan have done their bit with the bat at one stage or another. Malan already has 129 runs from just three knocks.
With the ball, they have seven players currently going at less than eight an over, a stark contrast to the Stars. Their bowling already looked good but now that Sandeep Lamichhane is available to play, they also have the gun spinner who's so essential to any team's success in this format.
Hurricanes hold all the trumps
This one's in Hobart, which may actually suit the Stars in a way because it's a high-scoring ground where you get good value for your shots rather than having to work out where the scoring areas are and occasionally being patient when the ball is doing something. A good first innings score would have to be over 170.
The Stars continue to be overated on the Exchange presumably because they fear an assault by Stoinis, Maxwell and Pooran on a good wicket could give the Hurricanes too much to do.
But that's missing the point. Not only do the Hurricanes have their own big hitters in Short, Malan, David and Ingram but crucially, they have the better bowling unit. They're also at home so should be more familiar with the wicket.
As if all that wasn't enough, the Hurricanes beat them pretty convincingly just two days ago.
So quite why the market is struggling to split the pair, I don't know.
The Hurricanes are a strong selection at 1.9620/21.
Price makes Pooran the selection for Stars top bat
Only Stoinis will know why he's struggling so much this Big Bash, a competition he has dominated for the past couple of seasons. At 5/2 we have to swerve him on form.
Fletcher can be dismissed at 9/2 as well. He looks great when he plays those straight sixes where he holds his pose and doesn't even look at the ball sailing over the fence, but there have been very few of those. An average of 12 is certainly not what you're looking for from an overseas opener.
The dangerman and justified favourite is Maxwell at 5/2. As we said already, he's more than done his bit for the team: 249 runs, average of 62, strike rate of 156. World class.
But I'd rather take a punt on Nicolas Pooran.
Maxwell has to fail at some stage and the classy left-handed West Indian, a monster hitter on his day, is preferred at a far bigger 11/2.
We'd prefer it if he bats higher than five but then again, he can score so quickly that it might not be a problem.
Time for Tim?
If, as expected, the Hurricanes Top 4 score plenty of runs between them then Short (5/2), McDermott (3/1) and Malan (3/1) will be the obvious men to win this market.
But what if the game doesn't go to script?
It's not impossible that the Stars score a lot of runs first up and the Hurricanes have no choice but to take plenty of risks in the chase.
Or that the Stars actually start well with the ball for a change and take a couple of early wickets with the Hurricanes batting first.
Either scenario could open the door to Tim David, a 13/1 chance. Despite batting at five or six, he's the second top runscorer for the men in purple. His strike rate of 160 is Maxwell, AB de Villiers or David Warner territory.
With skipper Peter Handscomb horribly out of form, he's batted at five of late and a slight wobble at the top of the order could give him a real chance because like Pooran, his acceleration at the back end of an innings can be brutal.
BIG BASH 2020-21 P AND L
Points Staked: 15pts
Points Returned: 20.56
P and L: +5.56