Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder are set to face each other in the top of the table clash of the Big Bash League 2018-19 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Friday, December 28.
Both sides have gone head-to-head eight times in the BBL with the Hurricanes leading the scoreline 6-2. In their previous face-off, during the seventh season of the league, the Hurricanes managed to pip the Thunder by nine runs
Batting first, the Hurricanes scored commendable 189/3 thanks to an entertaining knock (97 runs from 63 balls) by D'Arcy Short.
In reply, Thunder started their chase in similar fashion and seemed on drivers seat with Jos Buttler (81 runs from 43 balls) thrashing the the Hurricanes all over the park. But his wicket triggered a sudden collapse and they eventually fell short by just nine runs.
Hurricanes are coming into this game on back of consecutive wins against Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars. While They boasts a strong record against Thunder at this venue, and have emerged victorious on four occasions in five outings, which will give them a psychological advantage ahead of clash.
D'Arcy Short is looking in terrific touch with scores of 67 and 34 in the first two games respectively, and he looks set for another big knock here.
Meanwhile, Matthew Wade seem to be in good form and have cracked a half-century in previous game against Melbourne Stars. The opener looked fluent in his strokes and can be expected to start the innings in similar fashion.
Ben McDermott and George Bailey have both chipped in with decent contributions in previous two game and are capable of holding the innings in case of early jolts.
Jofra Archer picked five wickets in the two matches and has been their strike bowler since last season. The Caribbean pacer will be backed by skipper to rattle the Thunder top order early on.
James Faulkner, who claimed three wickets against Brisbane Heat, is likely to open the attack with Archer. Except these two, they will also bank on the likes of Johan Botha and Meredith to slow down the scoring rate in middle overs and chip in few breakthroughs.
Expected Playing XI
Matthew Wade (c) (wk), D'Arcy Short, Alex Doolan, Ben McDermott, Jofra Archer, George Bailey, Simon Milenko, James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Clive Rose and Riley Meredith
Sydney Thunder are sitting comfortably at the top of the BBL 08 points table having won their first two league matches. They beat Melbourne Stars in their opening fixture by 15 runs (DLS) and took the momentum in next game against their cross-city rivals Sydney Sixers by 21 runs.
Jos Buttler is coming off a 37-ball 63 against Sydney Sixers. The wicket-keeper batsman has been in top form in recent times, and can be a big threat for the opposition if not dismissed early. While Joe Root and Jason Sangha in their lineup.
Sangha was the top performer in the opening game with an unbeaten 63 and he will be eager to replicate his show against Hobart.
Expect these two the team will also need strong contribution from skipper Shane Watson and Joe Root. Both are among most destructive batters in T20 cricket and the Thunder will expect one of them to play a big knock against the Hurricanes.
Fawad Ahmed seems to find his form with a three-wicket haul against Sydney Sixers and he is likely to find ample support from the surface at this ground. While Chris Green and Daniel Sams have shared 12 wickets between them in two matches, and are expected to stifle the opponents in same fashion.
Expected Playing XI
Shane Watson (c), Callum Ferguson, Jos Buttler (wk), Joe Root, Jason Sangha, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Jonathan Cook, Fawad Ahmed and Sam Rainbird