Hobart Hurricanes 6/134 (20 Overs) Defeated by Perth Scorchers 3/135 (13.5 Overs)
Scorchers Crush Hurricanes to Secure Home Semi-Final
It was a no-contest at a sold out Blundstone Arena as the Scorchers crushed the Hurricanes by 7 wickets to wrap up a home semi-final. It was the 6th straight season the Scorchers have qualified for the finals, and they did so in style by dominating this match from start to finish. The Hurricanes scratched their way to 6/134 as senior fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Tim Bresnan both picked up a couple of wickets while conceding less than 6 runs per over. Shaun Marsh then returned to form in style, belting 59 from 34 balls as the Scorchers cruised over the line. By chasing the runs within 15 overs, the Scorchers secured a vital home semi-final where they will take on an undermanned and out of sorts Melbourne Stars' team. The Hurricanes had an outside chance of making the finals with a victory however were never in the hunt and were consigned to a 4th straight season outside of the finals.
Change In Hobart Needed
The Hurricanes showed glimpses during BBL6 of being a really good side, however a poor performance was always just around the corner. Their magnificent victories over the Sixers and Renegades showed that this team was capable of scoring over 200 on two occasions. However, in their five losses the Hurricanes have often been totally outplayed and bordering on uncompetitive, suggesting that changes are needed. Outside of Stuart Broad, the Hurricanes lacked genuine menace and strike power with the ball. Shaun Tait looks past his best and seems to be on the outer in Hobart after being dropped for the final couple of games. With their batting, they had some great individual moments, however could not do it consistently. Clearly it is not ideal to have your overseas import in Sangakkara sitting on the bench due to a lack of production over the past two years. I expect the Hurricanes to target a local batsman that can dictate a game for them in the batting Power Play heading into next season.
Scorchers Game Plan Consistency A Strength
So many times this year in BBL6 we have seen teams try and get a bit funky with the batting orders and it has not often paid dividends. The Scorchers are an old school type of side that like to bat first and defend their runs. It has really paid dividends for them over the years, with the Scorchers being the most consistent and successful side in BBL cricket, with six finals appearances out of 6 and two BBL titles in their back pocket. I like that approach, and I think they will stick true to it during their final's campaign. Ok, they made a little adjustment opening with Sam Whiteman and moving Shaun Marsh to Number 3, however both are top order players and it did little in terms of affecting their game plan. With Marsh back in form with 59 from 34 balls yesterday, it gives the Scorchers a much more formidable feel. Their bowling and fielding has always been a strength, however if they can post scores over 170, they will be mighty hard to beat as they go in search of their third BBL title.
Crowds Prove BBL's Growing Popularity
It's been another bumper season of crowds in the BBL as the game continues to soar in popularity. The Big Bash might have been considered a bit of a hit and giggle 5 or 6 years ago, however it is now a high quality competition that rivals, and sometimes surpasses, the Australian team for popularity. The Hurricanes managed to sell out 3 of their 4 home games, while the Heat sold out 3 games at The Gabba, despite lean turn outs for the Test match and ODI. In Melbourne, the Stars brought in 190,000 people for their four home games, while the WACA and Adelaide had some bumper crowds as usual. Right across the country numbers were consistent, or up from last season. Perhaps the next step for the BBL is possibly expansion, or having the Australian players available for a bit longer. You have to be a little careful with expansion as you do not want to dilute the talent and risk lowering the crowds by spreading teams too far and wide, however this competition is here to stay and is going from strength to strength.
Lurker Hits Back
The Lurker has been is average form for much of 2017, however he made an imprint on this game with a double strike. The Lurker correctly predicted a convincing win for the Scorchers, as well as Shaun Marsh to score 25+ into a Scorchers win. The Lurker with this victory gets to 19-12 on the season.