Perth Scorchers v Hobart Hurricanes
Saturday January 20th
Live on BT Sport
Perth are just one win away from the playoffs of BBL07. Indeed, they can even afford to lose both of their remaining games if Adelaide win on Monday, but they will of course want to make sure of things by posting a home victory in this game.
Their position was greatly helped by a win over Adelaide in a low scoring game on Saturday. Hylton Cartwright and Ashton Agar, Australia discards both, were the stars of that game and the Scorchers will need players of their calibre to be on top form in this game, as they have lost Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye to the national limited overs squad.
They will welcome captain Adam Voges back for this game, though. He was suspended from the Adelaide game for two slow over rate offences. The veteran is one of the wiliest leaders in BBL, as well as being a very solid performer in the Scorchers' middle order.
Post-season qualification is a more complicated affair for Hobart. Winning both of their remaining games definitely takes them through. If they lose one of them, they can still make it if (again) Adelaide win on Monday. However, they have a significantly inferior net run rate compared to their rivals, so would almost certainly qualify in fourth spot with just the one victory. What is clear, though, is that two defeats would almost certainly see them miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
In their favour, they are currently on a five game winning streak, one of their best ever runs in the competition. Much of this has been down to opener D'Arcy Short. His 59 against Brisbane on Monday was his fourth consecutive score of more than fifty. In the game before that - also against the Heat - he made the highest BBL score ever. No-one has scored more runs in the first seven games of any BBL season. And, to cap it all, he left Hurricanes' coach Gary Kirsten needing emergency dental treatment after hitting him in the face during throw-downs on Tuesday.
What Hobart need now, though, is for other players to start doing more. There was a vastly improved bowling performance on Monday, with another Australian discard, legspinner Cameron Boyce, particularly impressive. But there's always that worry that runs will be hard to come by when Short fails. They cannot afford that if they want to qualify for the final week of the competition.
Venue and Conditions
The WACA has been a little bit up and down this season, which is perhaps understandable given that it ends its working life in a few weeks' time. Evidence of the games played there so far is that, on the whole, it is a ground where it is easier to chase than to set a target, so watch for the outcome of the toss before backing either side too heavily.
This is Perth's first home game for almost a fortnight. Up to that point they were unbeaten, but Hobart will be the toughest side they have faced at the WACA in BBL07. Odds of 1.774/5 on the Scorchers don't look that generous, though, which makes the 2.17 Hurricanes look a decent bet, especially if they bat second.
Top Perth Scorchers Batsman
We are fairly unashamed in our admiration for Perth's Michael Klinger, who is still a force as a T20 opening batsman well into his thirties. He made a late start to the tournament after being granted leave to deal with his wife's health issues, but has put in a couple of big scores, including in one of his home games this season. Back him at odds of 4.3100/30 or better.
We've spent a fair amount of time trying to find ways not to bet on Short in this market, but he's making it so that any other option is almost pointless. If you can get him at anything more than 4.1 then do so. Otherwise, go in-play at the start of the Hobart innings and back his opening partner, Alex Doolan, if he suffers a rare failure.