BBL Matchday 1 Preview | Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes to kick start season 10
Defending champions from the last season, Sydney Sixers would feature in the opening match of this season as they take on Hobart Hurricanes at the Bellerive Oval, in latter team's city. Both sides would be missing key players due to their presence in the Australian team as well as some international imports who are coming later in the season.
Sixers enjoyed a great season last year where they performed strongly in the league phase and remained clinical in the finals also to win the title. Hurricanes, on the other hand, reached the play-offs but couldn't progress further. However, starting the season at their home ground does given them a good chance in this match.
This year, they would be missing Steve Smith as the latter would be busy with the Australian national side. So would be Mitchell Starc, though he thinks he could make an appearance towards the end of the season.
So, the Sydney team would be relying heavily on last season's find Ben Dwarshuis. He would lead the attack and hope for good support from the other frontline bowlers in the team, as well as the all-rounders who have a good presence in the team. In the absence of Tom Curran, who also withdrew due to the stress of being in bio-bubbles, the Sixers would have to rely on the expertise of bowlers such as Jackson Bird and Gurinder Sandhu with the new ball.
But there are some very prominent names among the all-rounders who can make a mark. Carlos 'Remember the Name' Brathwaite has been signed up by the team. Along with him, there is captain Moises Henriques and Daniel Christian. All three of these players are capable bowlers. All three are all-rounders as well, which will help balacne the team.
The batting looks more solid with the enigmatic James Vince in the line-up. Vince, a failure at the international level, has been very impressive in T20 leagues, especially BBL. His opening combination with Josh Philippe is likely to continue. The likes of Daniel Hughes and Jordan Silk will have to take greater responsibility in the absence of Steve Smith.
Henriques too, now becomes the most crucial element of the middle order witih Smith not in the line-up. West Indian Brathwaite has a great opportunity to regain some of that stardom which he gained after his heroics in the final of World T20 in 2016. He would be used in the lower order to give a much-needed boost to the team.
Hurricanes' on Home Soil
Hurricanes would not just be playing at home but may be favorities owing to the presence of some highly capable players. D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade formed a devastating opening partnership last season. If Wade plays in the first match, this opening pair would pose a great threat to the opposition.
A lot would also depend on captain Peter Handscomb. The nuggety batsman has managed to carve a niche for himself in the shortest format also. His appointment as captain shows the faith this team have shown in him. While not a big striker of the cricket ball, Handscomb may be useful in the middle overs to keep the scoreboard moving at a decent pace.
An important addition to the team is South African Collin Ingram. He adds much needed experience to the middle order as well as big-hitting ability. Handscomb and Ingram's addition makes the batting line-up look a lot more reliable.
The bowling department would be enthused by the entry of veteran South African Johan Botha. Out of international cricket for nearly nine years, Botha's comeback into the league is a surprise. But he would add experience to the bowling unit.
The main focus, however, would be on last season's star performer with the ball for this team, Nathan Ellis. He proved to be the perfect T20-style bowler with yorkers and slower balls in his armoury. Ellis' efforts last year played a key part in taking his team to the play-offs.
He should get good help from James Faulkner. Once a member of Australia's World Cup-winning squad, Faulkner can get the ball to bounce sharply from the left-arm over angle. Not to mention, Faulkner is also a very dangerous batsman down the order.
Two other men would be in contention to be members of the pace battery. Scott Boland is the local option while Keemo Paul from West Indies has been brought over with great hopes also. Paul would be ahead on the pecking list at the moment.
Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers: Match Details
Venue: Bellerieve Oval, Hobart
Broadcast: Sony Sports Network, Sony LIV
Date and Timing: December 10, 1:45 PM IST, 7:15 PM Local, 8:15 AM GMT
The pitch at Hobart is different from the ones at other venues of the country. In first class matches, it provides great help to swing bowlers. Jackson Bird had been very successful here in the past thanks to that quality of the wicket. However, for a T20 match, there isn't likely to be too much grass. That should make the surface more batsmen-friendly.
Weather and Toss
Weather is expected to suit the players by remaining cool. Some clouds are expected to appear in the skies but not threaten any rain. Since it's an evening match, the captain winning the toss may not be too bothered about batting first and second. In such situations, batting first seems to be the default option.
Hobart Hurricanes: D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Colin Ingram, Peter Handscomb (C), David Moody, Ben McDermott (Wk), James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Macalister Wright
Sydney Sixers: Josh Philippe (Wk), James Vince, Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Carlos Brathwaite, Daniel Christian, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird
Dream11 Fantasy League Team:
Josh Philippe, James Vince, Colin Ingram, Peter Handscomb, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, James Faulkner, Carlos Brathwaite, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Steve O'Keefe