Hobart Hurricanes 4/188 (20 Overs) Defeated By Melbourne Stars 3/191 (17.4 Overs) @ Bluestone Arena
Hilfenhaus Comes Back to His Old Stomping Ground
Ben Hilfenhaus clearly enjoys the surrounds of Bluestone Arena as he came back to haunt some of his old team mates last night by playing a big role in an emphatic Stars victory. Hilfenhaus bowled both danger men D'Arcy Short and Dom Michael in consecutive balls to severely affect the Hurricanes Power Play, leaving them reeling at 2/6 early. While Hobart went on to make 188, that was perhaps a bit below par with a belter of a batting wicket and a very short boundary playing right into the hands of the batting side. The Hurricanes rallied strongly, however had to delay their full-on assault on the Stars until the final 7 or 8 overs. Hilfenhaus has been a bit of a forgotten man of Australian cricket after retiring from First Class cricket back in February. Hilfenhaus cited his body not being up to the rigours of 4-5 day cricket anymore, and perhaps smartly wanted to maximise his earning capacity over the next four or five years. In preparation for this BBL6, Hilfenhaus played T20 cricket in New Zealand and came into this game fresh and firing.
Maxwell Shows His Rare Talent
When you watch Glenn Maxwell at near his best with the bat, you scratch your head as to why he isn't a lock in the Australian ODI side and in the Test squad. He would be in my my Test Squad, but then I am not privilege to all the things happening behind the scenes with Maxwell. He seems to have fallen out of love and out of favour with Victoria, requesting a pre-season trade to NSW, before bring dropped for the first Shield match of the season. He was then unceremoniously left on the bench during Australia's 3-0 series whitewash of New Zealand in the 50-over series. However, last night Maxwell was in his element, coming in at Number 3 for the Stars. He has a tendency for the flamboyant and utterly outrageous, however he left it relatively simple last night, playing some pure cricket shots to all parts of Bluestone Arena. With a First Class average of 40 with the bat, Maxwell has better numbers than Nic Maddinson, and I'm struggling to find a reason how you could say Maddinson is a better player than Maxwell. Maxwell is dynamite in the field, and is a more than handy off spinner. Australia keep talking about looking for the next all-rounder - well for me, he might be right in front of their eyes.
Quiney Move Pays off
I suggested the Stars should make a change at the top of the order and it paid off last night with Robert Quiney's 75 from 43 balls propelling them to victory. Marcus Stones didn't look comfortable at the top of the order last year, and his power game will be suited to the middle and later overs without the pressure of opening the batting. Quiney didn't have great T20 numbers coming into this game, however he was a prolific 50-over player for Victoria, opening the batting for a number of years. Quiney looked in great form last night, launching into 5 sixes and looking particularly devastating with his pick-up shots on the leg side. Despite falling out of favour for Victoria this year, Quiney looks fresh, and could provide real quality at the top of the innings. The Stars could have scored anything last night if they batted first, and once again in the regular season they remain the team to beat. The acid test for them, as always, will come during the finals, where they might lose a few players and be under pressure after previous failures at the final couple of hurdles.
Whatever Happened to Tim Paine
Tim Paine has been in slashing form to start BBL6 with scores of 63 and 91 making him the leading run scorer so far in the competition. Paine had a number of serious finger injuries which really put the brakes on his career and has obviously affected his batting over the past few years. Paine was touted as a long term replacement for Brad Haddin, and a potential Australian captain, after playing four Test Matches for Australia back in 2010-11. Paine did a more than serviceable job averaging 35 with the bat in those four Tests and has always been a more than tidy keeper. The fact that he now can't get in the 4-day Tasmanian side looks baffling on the surface, however his batting numbers have fallen off the chart in recent years. Paine averages just 28 from 89 First Class matches, and has spoken of the affect his severely mangled fingers have had on his batting long term. At 32, time has passed Paine by to make it back to the Australian set up, you would think. However, on evidence of the first two games of BBL cricket, he remains a classy cricketer and how he can't get into a weak Tasmanian side looks baffling. However when you look at his first class numbers the past couple of years you find the answer.
Hurricanes still A Factor In This competition
Their were still some positives to draw from last nights relatively one sided defeat for the Hurricanes. They backed up their great batting effort in Sydney with another big score of 4/188 here. Whilst on a s mall ground a flat wicket that was only apr it was a remarkable good effort after they had slumped to 3/40 in the 6th over. With a better state the Hurricanes would have easily made over 200 again here. Their bowlers went eh journey here however it was a against a hight class Maxwell and Robert Quiney in rare from.Shaun tait can have those sorts of days however I would not completely write this attack off. Stuart Broad has not quite hit his straps but managed a couple of wickets here. Their next game will be a big one if they want to stay in the Top 4.
The Lurker Is Having A Great Season
The Lurker last night pulled off another stunning double, tipping a Stars' win as well as landing up on Maxwell to score 50+ runs. The Lurker is now batting at a remarkable average of over 85% success rate, having tipped 5 winners from 6 to start BBL6, as well as landing a number of exotic bets at good odds. It's a long season, however The Lurker has been pretty good value so far even his haters would have to admit.