Ed Hawkins previews the contest from Canberra on Saturday morning and can't believe the Hobart price...
"It will be a rare occasion indeed that you get to bet the best team in the tournament at such an inflated price so we can’t think why anyone would pass up the opportunity"
Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes
Friday 9 February, 07:15
TV: live on BT Sport
By the time you read this, Thunder's play-off aspirations could be over. This kind of tells you all you need to know about their campaign thus far. They have been infuriatingly inconsistent and seem to never have quite recovered from being denied certain victory over Brisbane Heat by floodlight failure.
From the highs of chasing down a record score at the Optus Stadium in Perth, there have been terrible lows, largely because of their flaky batting. They couldn't chase 140 against Renegades, they posted only 135 versus the Stars, bowled out for 113 against the Renegades.
They are boosted here, though, by the return of Test trio Usman Khawaja, Pat Cummins and Kurtis Patterson. Bittersweet. Had they been just slightly more efficient, that lot would have been back just in time for a serious title assault.
Faulkner still missing
Hobart Hurricanes booked a home semi-final spot by holding their nerve in a chase against Melbourne Renegades last time out. They were grateful to a woeful batting effort from Dan Christian whose bat appeared to be made of balsa wood.
Hobart, who have run away with league top spot, are dangerous with the bat and still surprisingly consistent with the ball. Yet they do see to enjoy chunky slices of luck every now and again. Christian's meltdown for example or AJ Tye's in Perth. They would argue they cause them.
They will be without James Faulkner for this one. Faulkner has been crucial to their success but must rest a dodgy knee ahead of the finals. They have already lost Johan Botha to retirement.
Little pitch guidance
This one will be played at the Manuka Oval, Canberra. There has been only one game played there this term - an easy win for Thunder for Stars after posting 181. Last season there was also one match. Renegades triumphed with 189 on the board by nine runs.
The Bash has been a topsy-tuvy highly-competitive affair this season and there have been few moments when one can categorically say that the odds have been wrong. Until this one. Thunder are [1.84] favourites with Hobart [2.18]. How on earth does that work?
Have those odds been motivated purely by the current notion that only one team needs to win? Or is it the influx of the Thunder Test players?
Before looking at the odds we thought Thunder might be a fancy here because we were expecting at least [2.2]. But there is no way we can bet them at the level. It will be a rare occasion indeed that you get to bet the best team in the tournament at such an inflated price so we can't think why anyone would pass up the opportunity.
Thunder are probably still cursing Khawaja's recall to the ODI side. The batsman was supposed to lead their play-off charge and get them over the line before returning to Test duty. It also robbed us of the opportunity to bet a consistent top-bat winner. Khawaja is a 2/1 chance on career form but https://btfr.co/sbkevent/com/cricket/2911604Betfair Sportsbook rate him at 12/5. Shane Watson is 5/2 and Callum Ferguson 7/2.
Hobart's success has been built on the flashing blades of D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade. They are rated at 2/1 and 12/5 respectively. But Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott and the excellent George Bailey all have their moments. Bailey, in particular, shouts value in case Cummins manages to knock over the big two early. He is 8s.
Back Hobart Hurricanes [2.18] (2pts)
Back Usman Khawaja top Thunder bat 12/5 (1pt)