Heat On The Hurricanes In Hobart

Image courtesy of abc.net.au
Jason Krejza will replace Xavier Doherty for Hobart. Image courtesy of abc.net.au
The Hobart Hurricanes  and Brisbane Heat  meet at Blundstone Arena in what is essentially an elimination final on Saturday night, with the winner to go through to the Big Bash finals. While a win for Hobart would see them move to fourth on 10 points, Adelaide’s heavy defeat to Perth on Thursday dropped their net run rate low enough to ensure that Brisbane would finish ahead of them on the table with a victory.

With skipper George Bailey and Xavier Doherty on Australian ODI duty and Kiwi import Scott Styris injured, the Hurricanes will be forced to make several changes to the side that 38 run defeat to the Strikers in their last match. Former Australian limited overs spinner Mark Higgs has been plucked from obscurity to join up with the squad, while paceman Michael Hogan and Test opener Ed Cowan  return to the squad. The loss of allrounder Styris is a particularly painful blow for Hobart, who must know rejig the composition of the side as he was the fifth bowler in the most recent match. Jason Krejza is a straight swap for Doherty and Jon Wells  will probably replace Bailey, but Cowan may have to come in at the expense of Aiden Blizzard to provide more stability in the batting. Higgs’ powerful lower order hitting may see him get the nod to take the place of Styris. In form wicketkeeper batsman Tim Paine  will captain the side.

Brisbane Heat will be without Ben Cutting who has been named in the Australian ODI squad, with his place in the touring party taken by Matthew Gale. Chris Sabburg or Cameron Gannon appear more likely to take Cutting’s place in the XI however, with uncapped Sabburg probably in the box seat after being named as 12th man for the past few matches. He would also provide more batting depth in a lineup that has struggled for runs throughout the competition. Luke Pomersbach  and Chris Lynn  are the only players to have scored half centuries for Brisbane this season and the other batsman, particularly captain James Hopes  who is averaging just 12.83 at the top of the order, need to lift their game.

Hobart and Brisbane have scored a win apiece from the two meetings between the sides, although the Hurricanes scored a comfortable 8 wicket win at the Gabba in the opening round.

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