Both Hobart Hurricanes and Melbourne Renegades are coming into this match, which will be held at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Saturday (19 December 2020), on the back of defeats, but the circumstances of their respective losses were quite different.
On one hand, the Hurricanes lost to the Adelaide Strikers with eight deliveries to spare, a huge margin you’d say in T20 cricket. But it was nowhere as bad as the Renegades’ defeat against the Sydney Sixers as the 2018/19 Big Bash League champions were blown away by 145 runs.
BASH BOOST AND ITS IMPACT
Chasing a target of 206, the Renegades were bowled out for just 60 in 10.4 overs, which resulted in the biggest loss in BBL history in terms of runs. But the overall scorecard alone doesn’t tell you the entire story. While you could very well say that Aaron Finch and co. were anyway likely to be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat after losing early wickets during their run-chase, the margin would probably have not been as embarrassing if the Renegades hadn’t been chasing the Bash Boost point.
The Bash Boost rule, which rewards the team with the higher score at the end of 10 overs with one point, has received its fair share of brickbats thus far. In that game against the Sixers, if Renegades had managed to score 76 in their first 10 overs, they would have gained one point even if they had lost by a three-digit margin. We could see more such team totals with sides deciding to go for the Bash Boost point when they presume that the 20-over target is a bridge too far.
The Renegades, needless to say, have to get that loss out of their minds heading into this match. After a poor showing in BBL 9, they began this season with a strong performance against the Perth Scorchers. They’d feel the difference between the two matches was how their bowling let the game slip away after two early wickets against the Sixers and will no doubt look to produce an improved account of themselves during the middle-overs of the opposition’s innings.
HURRICANES LOOK FOR A STRONGER START
The Hurricanes, on the other hand, will be reasonably pleased with their campaign thus far despite the loss in their previous game. They began this season with two wins and are second on the points table, albeit having played a match more than every team that are below them.
One area of the game where they’d want to strengthen upon is the start of their innings. So far, this season, they have scored at a run-rate of only 5.5 during the first four overs of the innings. One of the main reasons they’ve struggled to up the scoring rate when the fielding restrictions have been on is a loss of early wickets. In the game against the Sixers, they lost two wickets during the first Powerplay and three during the same period against the Strikers.
D’Arcy Short has been one of the top batsmen in the BBL in recent years and it is key for the Hurricanes that he holds fort at the top of the order. If Dawid Malan comes into the team right away, the top-order for the team from Hobart should be in better shape and the above numbers are likely to improve.
AVAILABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL STARS
Speaking of Malan, both teams could be boosted by the presence of international stars in this game, with a few players getting done with their quarantine on Friday (18 December 2020). For the Hurricanes, if Malan – the world’s No.1 ranked batsman in T20 Internationals – does play, then fellow Englishman Will Jacks might have to make way.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Nabi or/and Noor Ahmad could feature for the Renegades for the first time in this edition of the tournament. Nabi was excellent during his stint with the Melbourne-based franchise last season, especially with the bat. In BBL 2019/20, while he took five wickets, he scored 160 runs at an average of 53.33 and a strike rate of 160 in six matches. He would add some muscle to a middle-order that already has former South African batsman Rilee Rossouw.
Hurricanes: D’Arcy Short, Will Jacks/Dawid Malan, Colin Ingram, Ben McDermott (WK), Peter Handscomb (C), Tim David, James Faulkner, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith, Johan Botha
Renegades: Shaun Marsh (C), Sam Harper (WK), Rilee Rossouw, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi/Benny Howell, Will Sutherland, Kane Richardson, Josh Lalor, Peter Hatzoglou, Jon Holland/Noor Ahmad