Hurricane Ben Dunk has the fastest 50 in BBL cricket. Image courtesy of cairnspost.com.au
One point separates the Hurricanes and Heat and the scenario is simple – win in Hobart and join the Melbourne Stars, Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers in the finals. It’s basically what Brisbane did last season against the same franchise and at the same venue. Heat won the corresponding game twelve months ago, squeezed into the semis and went on to win the title. They’re hoping to repeat that.
Heat is sticking largely to the same line-up which successfully defended 129 against the Strikers in Adelaide recently. All-rounder Chris Sabburg comes into the 13-man squad in place of Chris Hartley. Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz still hasn’t recovered from a calf strain, but Test hero Ryan Harris is a definite starter.
In his first start in BBL03, Harris’s figures were 2/14 with 14 dot balls. Though still troubled by a back injury, Daniel Vettori’s four overs in Adelaide yielded 2/10 and included 15 dots. Heat captain James Hopes is also finding form with the white cherry snaring seven wickets in his past three outings. But the spearhead clearly has been Cameron Gannon . The lanky paceman has picked up 15 wickets with a table-topping strike rate of 8.93 and a best of 4/10.
Heat’s star batter has been Chris Lynn who is the tournament’s leading six-hitter (14). However, he’s looking to make amends for his last two digs which netted 3 and 10. At the top of the order, Craig Kieswetter and Luke Pomersbach are the sort of players who can rip apart attacks and the middle order has been bolstered by teenager Ben McDermott who made4 30 off 26 balls on debut.
Former Queenslander Ben Dunk is Hobart's leading contributor with the bat (261 at 43.50) and his man of the match dig of 67 off 33 balls was paramount in the Hurricanes’ record chase at the Gabba late last month when the Tassie boys reeled in Heat’s 3/209. Dunk is particularly lethal during the batting powerplay where his strike-rate is 154. Captain Tim Paine and Travis Birt are dangerous with the willow in this format. Ben Laughlin has the best bowling return for the homeside with 10 wickets at a respectable 7.30 economy rate. His support includes former Test pacemen Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger .
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