Sydney Sixers v Hobart Hurricanes

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Michael Lumb returns for the Sixers against Hobart. Image courtesy of
The Sydney Sixers  face the Hobart Hurricanes  on Boxing Day, desperately needing a win to keep its Big Bash title defence alive. After starting the season with a derby win over Sydney Thunder to extend their winning run to twelve matches, the Sixers loomed as the team to beat in the competition by are now languishing in seventh on the ladder following three straight defeats. Hobart got its campaign back on track with a 30 run victory against the Thunder on Sunday afternoon and will be hopeful of continuing its resurgence by knocking off the defending champion.

Batting has been the Sixers big problem in their past three defeats and the return of English international Michael Lumb  at the top of the order will be more than welcome for a side that has managed only one opening partnership  that has scored double figures this campaign. Lumb disappointed in the Big Bash last season but showed his worth with an unbeaten 82 in the Sixers Champions League T20 Final win. His return means that Sri Lankan Jeevan Mendis will drop out of the side with only two internationals permitted in the playing XI. Nic Maddinson continues to recover from a groin injury and could also be in contention for a recall, while youngster Kurtis Patterson is also available for selection after recovering from a quad strain.

Ricky Ponting  looked in good touch scoring 63 against the Thunder on Sunday and will again spearhead the Hurricanes powerful batting lineup at the SCG. The former Test skipper has now top scored in both of his past two matches and will play a key role in his sides run to the finals. Travis Birt  was the leading runscorer in the tournament last season but scored only eight runs in his past three knocks since scoring a match winning 57* against Brisbane at the Gabba at the start of the month. Jason Krejza has been seen just once this season when he lined up against the Renegades but has a great record in the short format and could come into the XI to strengthen a bowling attack that lacks depth.

These sides met twice in the Big Bash last season, with the Sixers gaining revenge for a 42 run defeat in the league stage with a 7 run semi-final win at Blundstone Arena. Sydney has lost just one of its five matches at the SCG, while Hobart has lost three of its past four matches away from home.

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