It’s BBL finals time, and surprise, surprise…..the Perth Scorchers are once again the centre of attention. They’re yet to miss out on a finals campaign in this franchise, but more importantly they’ve won three titles in the process which is a huge success rate. Can the Hurricanes spoil the party for a team that has bullied the rest of the competition since it’s inaugural season?
Another dominant season for the Perth Scorchers saw them finish on top of the table in BBL 07, countless injuries & omissions weren’t enough to keep this powerhouse-outfit down. Finishing on top of the pecking order has it’s rewards, one of them being a home ground advantage which really does help with your entire city right behind you cheering you on until the very end. It can be a hostile environment for visiting teams that’s for sure, but one thing Perth won’t be able to rely on is a pitch advantage. Having played every-single home game at the WACA in BBL 07, the Scorchers will be just as unfamiliar with the surface as the Hobart Hurricanes who might have just leveled the playing field with Perth’s move across the river. This will be Hobart’s first finals appearance since 2013-14 where they lost the final to, you guessed it, the Perth Scorchers.
Had both teams kept their line-ups similar to the ones that have featured for the majority of this seasons competition, both sides would be hard to split on paper. From a Hurricanes perspective, that’s what they would’ve been hoping for so they have some chance of taking down a team already at the top of their game. Unfortunately for Hobart, their chances of winning may have just taken a huge blow with the return of the Marsh brothers set to make an appearance for the home side. That’s like a stake through the heart for the purple army, already confronted with the likes of the inform Cameron Bancroft as well as Ashton Turner, Michael Klinger, Hilton Cartwright and the skipper Adam Voges, the Scorchers are set to squeeze in Shaun & Mitchell Marsh who have both been representing Australia this summer. This is an uphill battle if ever I’ve seen one, the Hurricanes simply don’t have the bowlers to threaten a batting order of this caliber, dropping International signing Tymal Mills was a key indication of that.
Whichever way you look at it, the Hurricanes are going to have to get the job done with the bat, the Perth Scorchers just simply bat too deep. The man who was taking the competition by storm not long ago finds himself out of the team for this crucial semi-final, but even D’Arcy Short seemed to have lost that X factor he once possessed midway through the tournament. Short has been dismissed for 11 & 0 in his past two outings, so in a strange kind of way his absence might make his fellow teammates lift for the occasion, especially Ben McDermott who has been extremely prominent & aggressive at the crease this season, but hasn’t yet compiled that knockout blow like Short. Young Perth speedster Matthew Kelly has been nothing short of outstanding since his inclusion in the squad, picking up wickets regularly alongside Jhye Richardson who is another who should threaten to do some early damage to the scoreboard. If that wasn’t enough, they’ll be meters from Mitchell Johnson’s fireballs, he’s a proven performer with a deadly line & length.
Amazingly, Johnson has been held wicketless in four-consecutive matches which is very hard to believe for a player of that quality. It’s been a different sort of summer for Tim Paine in 2017-18, but now he finds himself back in this familiar Hobart Hurricanes outfit in a time of desperate need. He’s been in good form with the bat for Australia, hopefully he can bring that to the Hurricanes top order tomorrow if he’s included. George Bailey hasn’t had a great campaign with the bat, so they’ll be relying on the likes of Ben McDermott and Dan Christian to strike some damaging blows in the middle order, otherwise the Scorchers could make a quick game of it. It’s a tough proposition beating this jam-packed Scorchers side on enemy territory, especially when you’re coming off a loss against the bottom-placed Melbourne Stars.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Perth Scorchers | BBL | 1st semi-final | Perth (Optus Stadium)
- Shaun Marsh
- Jhye Richardson
- Mitchell Marsh
- Ashton Turner
Wildcard pick – Adam Voges
Top 4 fantasy picks | Hobart Hurricanes | BBL | 1st semi-final | Perth (Optus Stadium)
- Tim Paine
- Ben McDermott
- Jofra Archer
- Dan Christian
Wildcard pick – Matthew Wade
Perth Scorchers (possible) – 1. Shaun Marsh 2. Michael Klinger 3. Cameron Bancroft (wk) 4. Mitchell Marsh 5. Ashton Turner 6. Hilton Cartwright 7. Adam Voges (c) 8. Tim Bresnan 9. Jhye Richardson 10. Matthew Kelly 11. Mitchell Johnson.
Hobart Hurricanes (possible) – 1. Alex Doolan 2. Tim Paine (wk) 3. Matthew Wade 4. George Bailey (c) 5. Ben McDermott 6. Dan Christian 7. Simon Milenko/Nathan Reardon 8. Jofra Archer 9. Cameron Boyce 10. Clive Rose 11. Riley Meredith/Tom Rogers.