Brisbane Heat v Hobart Hurricanes
Sunday, 08:15 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
One should always beware about booking either side as overwhelming favourite for a domestic T20 clash. Too many random variables. Nevertheless, on paper at least, this may be an exception.
Clear gulf has opened between these sides
The league table tells what has been a familiar story in recent years. Hurricanes, strong contenders in the last three Big Bash renewals, are joint top after three wins from four. Heat, who haven’t made the play-offs in four years, are bottom having lost all three matches.
In theory, that could even up at a different venue. Hobart played all their matches at home grounds, whereas The Gabba is Brisbane’s ground. However that didn’t help last time in a defeat to Strikers that looked set for a rout before a tremendous late rally.
Heat batsmen in disarray
Avoiding that rout and getting close was down to Jimmy Pierson hitting a quick 69 from number seven, rescuing Heat from another top-order failure. With Chris Lynn out for another three weeks with a hamstring injury and Joe Denly not available yet, they look extremely light.
They’re now without their top three runscorers from last term. Openers Sam Heazlett and Max Bryant both average well below 20 across the two seasons, hitting only eight sixes. Dan Lawrence has struggled so far.
Low scores common at The Gabba
If Heat bat first, low totals are very much in play. Four of the last eight first innings here were below 130, with only two beyond 160. If available at below 1.51/2, I’ll be laying Heat to score 150 plus and 140 plus around 1.251/4.
160 is usually a very defendable total. There is no clear long-term toss bias.
All recent evidence suggest Hurricanes are much likelier to get to 160 with the bat, especially now Dawid Malan is available, and a potent bowling attack well capable of restricting to less. Faulkner, Boland, Meredith, Ellis and Botha constitutes a reliable, varied attack.
So, how best to profit from a predictable Hobart win? I don’t like to tip odds-on pre-match picks for these columns but wouldn’t quibble with 1.594/7 about Hurricanes. Let’s try my ‘25% rule‘ – place an order 25% higher than the starting odds, in this case 2.001/1.
Heat unlikely to hit many maximums
Another angle involves various options around the number of sixes. Once again, Hobart look well ahead. They’ve hit 27 in four games compared to 17 for Heat from three. The now absent Lynn hit six for the latter and nobody in this squad hit more than five in all of last season.
I’m dividing stakes between two different strategies. First 8/11 about Hurricanes hitting Most Sixes is generous. Second, Heat hitting fewer than 4.5 may be overpriced at 6/5 as maximums are relatively rare at The Gabba.
In eight of the last 11 matches here, the total for both sides was no more than eight. Only one saw more than 17. Heat only hit three against Strikers last time, all from the lower order.
Cooper rates good value from number five
As usual, there are #OddsBoosts available about a quartet of significant batters and bowlers. Malan is 3/1 to topscore for Hobart, as is Bryant for Heat. The bowler options are James Faulkner and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, both at 7/2 to be Top Clear Wicket Taker.
One market of particular interest is Top Heat Runscorer. As argued above, their top order is weak and the situation looks ripe for a middle-order finisher. Tom Cooper has already top-scored once this term and, coming in at five, 7/1 looks too big.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty