The Blundstone Arena is once again producing high first innings totals and Paul Krishnamurty says both of these sides have the power to make hay in tomorrow's match...
"This is a relatively high-scoring ground, with higher than average first innings totals and boundaries."
Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes
Monday, 08:15 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Covid continues to impact the sporting schedule, perhaps with significant implications for Big Bash favourites Perth Scorchers. In light of new restrictions, they will now play all their games away from home. In this case, repeating the fixture from six days ago at the Blundstone Arena.
Scorchers still boast 100% record
In truth, that can't really count as a negative as they beat Hobart easily by 53 runs and have now won their last four matches against these opponents. Bidding to maintain a 100% record, their pre-match odds are a prohibitive 1.674/6, and that despite a significant toss bias at this ground.
No doubt, Scorchers look very strong and, for now at least, enjoying the fact their best players haven't been called up for Ashes duty. Mitchell Marsh's unbeaten ton in 60 balls, however, must boost his chances while Marcus Harris' vulnerability in the opener's role could yet give Josh Inglis a chance. Losing those two would probably impact their title hopes more than losing home advantage (whatever that is worth).
Mills is a tremendous signing
On the bowling front, Tymal Mills could well prove to be the signing of the season. His 3-23 on debut was typical, following on from some strong death bowling efforts in the World Cup and The Hundred. If staying fit, Mills is a massive asset for Scorchers.
Be wary of taking those short pre-match odds about them today, though. Perth may be unbeaten so far but such runs rarely last in T20 franchise cricket. That they hammered Hobart a few days ago is by no means a signal that they will do so again.
Hurricanes too capable to dismiss
There is a lot to like about these opponents. Their top-order triumvarate of D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade and Ben McDermott oozes class. Joel Paris has started well, improving an already strong and well-varied attack. Tim David produced some great finishing efforts in various franchises during 2021. They remain very much on my radar as title contenders as the season develops.
Furthermore, we must consider the possibility that Perth enjoyed a major advantage in that last match. 11 of the last 13 matches at the Blundstone Arena went to the team batting first.
Bat first, score 170 is the key to success
A notable clue for in-running trading is that all of those 11 successful defenders hit 170-plus in their first innings. The two lower first innings totals were chased.
This is a relatively high-scoring ground, with higher than average first innings totals and boundaries. True, second innings scores rarely match the first but I reckon the 'Both to Score' odds are on the generous side.
From 'Both to Score 170/180/190/200' the respective odds are 4/1, 9/1, 19/1 and 40/1. That seems too big, considering what the odds would likely be during the second innings. For example, if Hobart hit 180, Perth would be nothing like 9/1 to chase it. More like 2/1.
Both to score can work as a back-to-lay
Therefore, whilst this bet is recommended as a single for the purposes of the column, a nice alternative strategy is to try it as a back-to-lay, re-assessing the situation after the first innings or during the chase, once we know whether the first 180 was landed.
Whilst rare, that target has won in three out of the last 27 matches at the Blundstone Arena, and I would argue this is a better opportunity for it to land than most matches. Both Scorchers and Hurricanes have the power, especially up front, to chase such totals.
For Top Team Runscorer, the two enhanced odds are about Mitchell Marsh, to 5/2 for Scorchers, and Matthew Wade to 3/1 for Hurricanes.
A trio of batsmen for Man of the Match
Given the expectation of high scores, I do think batsmen will have an advantage in the Man of the Match market. 5/1 about Marsh reflects his chance. Ditto 7/1 about Hurricanes pair D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade.
At the listed odds of 12/1 and 17/1, Josh Inglis and Cameron Bancroft look better value. For Hobart, throw in Tim David at 20/1 too. All are likely to make a match-winning impact in their turn at some stage so I'm happy to take the more generous odds now.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
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