By Stu Warren, Omnisport
Tim Paine says his objective is "to bat the innings and win games" after he fired the Hobart Hurricanes to victory over Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League on Tuesday.
A third consecutive win has seen the Hurricanes jump to third place on the ladder and with Paine the latest top-order batsman to find form, last season's semi-finalists are starting to build momentum towards the back end of BBL|02.
Paine told reporters his confidence was returning after a slow start to the season and a sparkling 74 not out in the six-wicket win over the Scorchers was evidence of just how important the 28-year-old will be for Hobart in the run home.
"It's nice to be back on track a little bit, albeit on some pretty favourable wickets," he said.
"What I suppose I plan to do is bat the innings and win us games. I've missed out on doing that the last couple of years so it was pleasing to be out there in front of another good crowd."
Paine batted through the Hurricanes' chase, helping the home side mow down the 153-run victory target with nine balls to spare in front of 12,110 fans at Blundstone Arena.
He stroked seven boundaries and two sixes in his 57-ball knock, taking out man of the match honours as the Hurricanes racked up their fourth win in six starts this campaign.
Having struggled to find touch following a long lay-off with a badly broken finger, Paine said his return to form was largely thanks to time spent at the crease, the unbeaten half-century his third score over 40 for the tournament.
"(Spending) time in the middle and to start to believe I can do it again is certainly holding me in good stead," he said.
"Pretty much from the first BBL game in Brisbane I've started to feel a little bit of flow and confidence. Hopefully I can bottle that and take it into the rest of the year."
With Adelaide and Brisbane due to visit Hobart in the next two rounds, Paine believes the Hurricanes can still lay claim to a home semi-final.
"You win those games and I think we'll make the four (and) from there we can do some damage," he said.
"If we win both our last two games we're a very, very good chance to have a home final."
Defeated Scorchers captain Simon Katich admitted his side had posted a below-par score in racking up 8-152, lamenting a slow start with bat and ball.
"You can't afford to (be slow) in this form of the game, you're always playing catch-up and that's what happened to us tonight," he said.
Katich made 66 to lead the Scorchers on a counterattack with the bat after they stumbled to 2-11 early, but despite his best efforts the visitors were probably 20 runs short on a Hobart pitch conducive to run scoring.
Although they have fallen out of the top four on the back of Tuesday's loss, Katich still believes the Scorchers can repeat last year's performance by making the finals – a feat that requires wins in both remaining games.
"(Tonight) hasn't gone to plan but I'm sure we'll bounce back on Friday," he said.
"We're proud of making the finals last year and we certainly aim to do that this year. Everything's in our hands now – we have to win both."