Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hobart Hurricanes: The eliminator final preview

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After a frenetic end to the KFC BBL|09 regular season, the Hobart Hurricanes will host the Sydney Thunder in The Eliminator at Blundstone Arena tonight.

The Hurricanes guaranteed their place in the BBL finals with a win over the Adelaide Strikers on Sunday night and secured a home final after the Melbourne Renegades defeated the Brisbane Heat yesterday.

The Hurricanes will welcome back Simon Milenko to the 13-man squad who replaced David Miller (returned to South Africa).

Last time we met…

BBL|09 – Match 50 –24 January 2020

Matthew Wade and Mac Wright steadied the ship after the loss of D’Arcy Short to lift the Hurricanes to 6/185 at Blundstone Arena six days ago. Wade finished on 56, while Wright top-scored with a well-made 64. Some late hitting from George Bailey (29 off 10) put the Hurricanes in a strong position, as they restricted the Thunder to 128 in reply. D’Arcy Short starred with the ball in his first game back from Australian ODI duties, taking the key wickets of Alex Hales and Alex Ross and finishing with figures of 5/21.

The match-up…

James Faulkner v Alex Hales

Hales has starred for the Thunder side this season and is coming off scores of 55 and 63 in his two outings against the Hurricanes.

Since returning from injury, James Faulkner has played a key role with ball in hand, moving the ball around early and restricting opposition scoring late.

Hales took 11 runs from the five balls he faced from Faulkner last week, which included two boundaries.

Both men have significant T20 experience and can be match-winners on their day.

The burning question…

Can the Hurricanes keep it rolling?

The Hurricanes are the in-form team of the BBL and are coming off three consecutive victories, including one against the Thunder. A packed house is expected at Blundstone Arena, with the winner travelling to Adelaide on Saturday to face the Strikers.

The Thunder have only won one of their last three games but will not be pushovers with the likes of Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson and BBL leading wicket taker Daniel Sams leading the charge.

It’s a big game for…

Qais Ahmad

With a match-winning spell of 4/12 in the Hurricanes’ first game of BBL|09, Qais Ahmad can turn a game around in an instant. His recent form hasn’t been as strong, taking one wicket in his last four games. An Ahmad masterclass is well overdue, and the Afghan leg-spinner will get his chance against the Thunder.

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