It's the first ever BBL game in Launceston’s University of Tasmania Stadium so that's a big unknown for coaches here. Reports are the bounce was good in the trial match a few weeks ago which keeps the spinners in it, but two AR’s still looks the play especially with Watson in the form he is.
Hurricanes: Doolan, Short, McDermott, Bailey, Wade, Christian, Archer, Rogers, Rose, Boyce, Mills, (Milenko, Jewell)
Thunder: Buttler, Patterson, Watson, Ferguson, Rohrer, Blizzard, Nair, Green, McCleneghan, Sandhu, Ahmed (Fekete, Gibson)
Can see young Rogers getting a game tonight ahead of Milenko, as the Hurricanes can afford to carry a bowling all-rounder given the spread of all-round overs they can get from Short and Christian if needed. Rogers is coming off an 89 in List A recently so can weld the willow if he gets the chance.
I can’t imagine Gibson nor Fekete getting games for the Thunder after the efforts they have tossed up in the first three games – Gibson bombed a very catchable effort at the Gabba which will be remembered, and Fekete has hit two yorkers in 3 games. Blizzard at least can clear the fence if on and Sandhu at his best is a genuine threat.
Until I see otherwise, I will assume this pitch is road-esque and take batting accordingly, so the double all-rounder line-up is the play tonight. No team in the BBL relies on two players like the Thunder rely on Watson and Buttler – if they go cheaply it will be a rout.
The Hurricanes actually have an incredibly good side assembled here and, unless Watson peels off another 70+, should win comfortably so wait for the toss and ensure you have coverage for a low Thunder first innings score.
Six Good Nuts
Bowler – Cameron Boyce
Price is just too appealing here. Unknown pitch makes it possible Boyce returns another low score but he's usually used between overs 8-16 and if the Thunder are 3-4 wickets down can be very economical if not damaging. A lot of coin used up in the AR section here so I'm taking Boyce hoping for his best, and not caring too much if he fails at that price.
Batsman - Callum Ferguson
The Hurricanes entire top 6 can all devastate on their day which makes picking the runs from their innings quite difficult. The Thunder however is pretty clear-cut. If they are 1-2 down early which they almost always are, then Ferguson must build an innings then go big late, which he can, and hopefully will. Bit expensive but happy to pay for runs I know I can bank on.
All-Rounder – Shane Watson
A devastating first drop who's in-form and found some confidence with the ball last game – just pay the cash. The exposure is too good and as we have seen twice in three games, if you miss on Watto and he fires, you wont cash. Like at all. Im taking two AR’s in here as I loved the look of Archer and think he will be licking his lips at the Thunder middle-lower order if he gets a look at them. Short will be a good POD tonight.
Wicket Keeper – Ben McDermott
Buttler hasn’t found his feet in this comp and I am stamping him the Sanga 2.0 after 3 games. Gave him three looks but he will now have to earn his spot back on this form guide. Taking McDermott here, his innings last year at Etihad is still burnt into my retinas. Can go really big and against this weak Thunder bowling gets his best chance so far this BBL. Wade’s batting position is just a bit deep for my liking.
POD Pick – Tom Rogers
Bargain basement price for this bowling all-rounder who took 24 wickets in 6 games coming into the BBL season, adding to that with a nice 89 in his second last innings a few weeks ago. Could come in at #7 here and if picked will probably only get 2 overs tops, but if the Hurricanes collapse Rogers could be the man to take you to the top with his clean hitting.
Avoiding – Andrew Fekete
Have made the case that he doesn’t play above but the Thunder brains trust have made picking nuffie players an art form so fully expect him to play and get 3-4 overs. Avoid like the plague and for those going to the game, park your car away from the square leg boundary on whichever end Fek is bowling from. You’ve been warned.