Tim Paine scored 74 against Perth on New Years Day. Image courtesy of news.com.au
While the Hurricanes take a three game unbeaten run into this crucial clash, the Strikers will be hoping to win their first game since before Christmas when they travel to Hobart on Saturday. With wins against both Sydney teams and Perth in its past three outings, Hobart can lock up a finals berth by collecting the two points, but the Strikers need a win to have any chance of making the knockout stages following defeats to the Stars and Renegades.
Hobart will be boosted by the return of former Black Caps allrounder Scott Styris to its side after the 37 year-old missed the past two matches to play in the domestic Twenty20 competition in New Zealand. Batting at 5, he was in tremendous form for Northern Districts smashing 77 and 68* in his past two innings. The form of Ricky Ponting and Tim Paine at the top of the order could mean that he won’t get as much of a hit for the Hurricanes however, with the pair amongst the top six runscorers in the competition. Between them, they have top scored in all five of the Hurricanes most recent matches and one of them has scored a half century in the past three. It is no coincidence that the four matches that Hobart has won during the current campaign have been in games where one of the batsmen has scored at least 50.
Kieron Pollard will be lining up in his final match for the Strikers before returning to the West Indies for the Caribbean T20 tournament and will want to go out with a bang. The burly slugger is averaging in excess of 40 for Adelaide and has also made a big contribution with the ball and in the field. Michael Klinger and Tim Ludeman have teamed up to form the most dangerous opening partnership in the Big Bash this season with 260 runs from four matches together and will be looking to get their side off to another good start. Left arm paceman Gary Putland has been ruled out of the match with an abdominal strain, with Matt Johnston returning to the squad.
The Hurricanes were 14 run victors when these sides met at the Adelaide Oval last season. A similar result could be in the offing this time around as well, with the Hurricanes boast an impressive home record. They boast five victories from seven matches at Blundstone Arena, but the Striker have won two from three away from home during the current campaign.
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