Australia continues to provide more cricketing action as the Big Bash League commences with a blockbuster showdown between Hobart Hurricanes and defending champions, Sydney Sixers.
Hobart have two big-hitters in D'Arcy Short and Colin Ingram along with the consistent Peter Handscomb in their batting line-up.
Sydney has a couple of experienced all-rounders in Daniel Christian and Carlos Brathwaite with James Vince being their marquee batsman.
Hurricanes have a good mix of players in all departments. Johan Botha and Faulkner will form the backbone of their bowling attack.
Sydney will miss the services of Moises Henriques and Sean Abbott who will be a part of Australia A line up against India A in the practice match. Hence, they can test their bench strength early on in the tournament. Steve O'Keefe is a wicket-taking bowler while Gurinder Sandhu is an exciting pacer.
Pitch and Conditions
Hobart is known to produce high scores. The team batting first has a better winning record in this ground. The bowlers can utilize the swing available at the start of the innings. Rain is unlikely to occur, however, cloudy weather is expected to prevail.
Probable Playing XI
Hobart Hurricanes (HH): Caleb Jewell, D’Arcy Short, Macalister Wright, Colin Ingram, Peter Handscomb (c &wk), Johan Botha, James Faulkner, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith, Will Parker/Nick Winter
Sydney Sixers (SS): Josh Philippe (wk), James Vince, Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Carlos Brathwaite, Daniel Christian, Steve O’Keefe, Lloyd Pope, Gurinder Sandhu, Jackson Bird, Ben Dwarshuis
Peter Handscomb vs Jackson Bird
The stand-in skipper instead of Matthew Wade uses his bottom-hand technique to hit runs. He has a great awareness whenever a bowler bowls near the off-stump. He does not use the full face of the bat every time as his game is based on the typical back foot stance. He is a great player of spin and can craft an innings of precocious maturity.
Bird picked up one wicket in the recently concluded practice match against India A. His high-arm action helps to hit the deck hard. He is a wicket-taking bowler who opts for a consistent line and length without giving much room.
James Faulkner vs James Vince
Vince is a pleasing right-handed batsman to watch when he is in full flow. He must convert his quick starts into big knocks. He can play strongly on either side of the wicket. He is a vital cog in Sydney's batting line-up.
Faulkner was once considered as one of the world's best all-rounders. He is a clever pacer with so many variations in his arsenal. He has a lot of temperament and maintains composure even in pressure situations. The left-armer is a proven match-winner.
Sydney will start as the slight favorites though Hobart looks stronger on paper and are playing in home conditions.
Cricwizz predicts Sydney Sixers to win the match.