Hobart Hurricanes 8/161 (20 Overs) v Sydney Thunder @ Blundstone Arena
Bailey Saves Inconsistent Hurricanes
Hurricanes' captain, George Bailey, responded well to his Australia axing with an unbeaten half century to save his side from another top order implosion. Bailey's 69 from 54 balls has given his side a fighting chance of keeping their season alive. The Hurricanes started BBL6 with a real bang, scoring 200 in their opening game against the Sixers in Sydney. However, since then they haven't really gone close to hitting those heights and their season is now hanging by a thread. After losing 5/30 in the batting Power Play against the Strikers, the Hurricanes could ill afford another poor start, however they slumped to 2/10 inside two overs with both openers, Tim Paine and D'Arcy Short, back in the sheds. The good sides in this competition have a much narrower gap between their best and their worst, however the Hurricanes are not one of those sides. While their best might be capable of beating anyone, their worst can lose you a game in a few overs. It's why they have spent a few years in a row outside the finals - they don't put up consistent scores in the 170's and 180's. Unless they can put in an outstanding performance with the ball here, their season will be hanging by a thread.
McDermott Replaces Sangakkara
It's always a massive call when a side drops their overseas player, and the Hurricanes did just that in this must win game against the Thunder. Despite Sangakkara's poor form, it takes guts from Head Coach Damien Wright to replace one of the legends of the game in Sangakkara for a youngster like Ben McDermott. The move paid dividends, with McDermott coming in and striking the ball cleanly from Ball 1 in Sangakkara's Number 3 position. McDermott made a difference for the Hurricanes, striking 31 from 20 balls with four 4's and a six. He was unlucky to be run out just when it seemed a half century was there for the taking. McDermott has a modest first class record of 8 matches with an average of 26, however at first glance he looks like a batsman with a nice solid build and good technique. I expect him to hold his place for the Hurricanes last couple of regular season games.
Jay Lenton Making A Difference For Thunder
Jay Lenton has been really impressive behind the stumps for the Thunder since taking over from Jake Doran. His glove work has been really sharp in all three games and his sharpness got his side two key breakthroughs early in the Thunder's innings. Lenton took an excellent one hand catch, diving to the left to dismiss danger man D'Arcy Short for a duck off Pat Cummins. He then displayed outstanding game awareness to hare off after a ball, whip off his glove, and deliver a perfect one bounce throw to affect the run out of Ben McDermott at the bowler's end. Lenton's body language exudes confidence and he has given the side a bit more presence and stability since his inclusion. It's a shame Lenton hasn't had a real opportunity with the bat as the hard hitting left hander is a capable player. He looked good in scoring 16 runs from 14 balls in Perth, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him given a go up the order in the Thunder's final two games. Lennon has been one of the leading run scores in the highly competitive Sydney Grade Cricket in the past couple of seasons however opportunities at this level have been limited.
Watson Nails His Yorkers
Thunder captain Shane Watson might not have fired a shot with the bat yet, however he has made a massive difference to his side with the ball. Watson dropped his pace into the mid-120's and once again proved mighty hard to get away. It's been a bit of a lost art over recent times, the ability of seamers to consistently nail yorkers under pressure. The wider yorker, outside off stump, has become something of a new phenomena, however Watson tailed the ball in late and attacked the stumps early in his spell. Watson was largely responsible for his team's outstanding last 5 overs against the Stars, and he suffocated the Hurricanes in the middle overs here on a ground where things can get away from you easily. While he was a young tearaway bowler in his mid 20's Watson has become a far more effective bowler in his mid 30's. While is bowling has been top notch Watson will be desperate to perform with the bat and help guide his young side to a 2nd straight win.
Lurker Could be In Trouble
It's the first time The Lurker has picked the Hurricanes in six games this season, and he might be regretting that at halftime. In perfect batting conditions at Blundstone Arena, the Hurricanes scratched their way to a mediocre score of 8/161 . The Lurker has landed the first leg of his high bat double with George Bailey top scoring for the Hurricanes. Can Shane Watson finally find some form for the Thunder to complete the double?