Days around Christmas are never dull for cricket. Boxing Day was jam-packed, with three Tests around the globe and a double-header in the Big Bash League. Though mostly talk is around the Tests, T20 action is never boring.
As action returns to The Gabba, the Heat who are in search of momentum will be in the comfort of their home. Heat who have lost all their three matches would want to capitalize on home advantage and etch their first win of the season. As for the Hurricanes, a Peter Siddle special was the only hurdle in their journey this season so far. They are sitting pretty at the top of the table and will look to continue the same against a deflated Heat.
With an air of uncertainty over Chris Lynn’s injury, Heat might have a concern keeping the schedule in mind. A winless campaign so far can be further affected with a skipper-less side. It was a similar kind of start for Heat in the last season as well when they lost the first two matches, but they went on to win four of the next five. However, most of those wins were on the back of their skipper, Lynn’s sensational performances. Now, the onus is on youngsters to find momentum.
Going in under pressure situations without one of their most experienced players is a disadvantage for any team. On the contrary, Heat have been struggling to score runs even in the presence of Lynn. They have scored at a runs rate of 7.5 runs this season, which is the second-lowest among all the teams. But, adding salt to their wounds has been the frequency at which they have been losing wickets. They have lost a wicket every 14.4 balls and 18 runs, the worst balls/dismissal ratio and the average. The problems for the Heat start after the first Powerplay (1-4 overs). Even after good starts, the batsmen have faltered in the next phases of the innings.
It is just not about losing wickets, Heat have been struggling to score quickly in any of the next three phases. The bowlers seem to have followed a similar pattern. They have been exceptional in the first four overs, bagging a wicket every 12 balls – the joint-best among all teams. As the innings progresses, the performance keeps fading.
On the other side, Hurricanes, even after having some explosive top-order batsmen have failed to capitalize in the first four overs of the field restrictions. In fact, both the Powerplays has been the heebie-jeebies for Hurricanes. In total, Hurricanes have lost 14 wickets (seven in the first four overs and seven in the Power Surge overs) in the two field restriction phase in three games. Their bowling, especially the spinners need to chip in with wickets or stop the run flow, but, they haven’t been good in either of those. They have bagged only two wickets at an economy of 8.5 that is the joint costliest.
Amidst all these concerns, few things have gone right for both teams. To start, Heat have been extremely successful in the Power Surge, scoring at over 13 runs. Wherein, other teams have strived to cross over 12 runs.
When it comes to bowling, both team bowlers have enjoyed bowling in the first four overs. Hurricanes have bagged seven wickets at a balls/wicket ratio of 13.7 and Heat bowlers have six wickets at a balls/wicket ratio of 12.0.
In the absence of Lynn, Jimmy Peirson is likely to take up the leadership role once again for the Heat. The bowlers have come good for them, which means, if there are any changes, it could only be in the top-order. However, Heat might go with the same team in their match against Hurricanes
Brisbane Heat: Sam Heazlett, Max Bryant, Simon Milenko, Daniel Lawrence, Tom Cooper, Jack Wildermuth, Jimmy Peirson (c) (wk), Mark Steketee, Xavier Bartlett, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ben Laughlin.
Throughout this season, Hobart Hurricanes haven’t tinkered their playing XI that much and why would they if they are winning. In four matches played, they have made only one change, the joint-least number of changes by a team this season. Riding on a comfortable victory in their last match, Hurricanes are also expected to go in with the same XI.
Hobart Hurricanes: D’Arcy Short, Will Jacks, Ben McDermott (wk), Peter Handscomb (c), Colin Ingram, Tim David, Keemo Paul, James Faulkner, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith.