T20 Big Bash League - KFC

Preview: Hurricanes v heat

11/1/2013 10:49 AM
Ricky Ponting

It will be winner takes all when Hobart Hurricanes and Brisbane Heat clash at Blundstone Arena on Saturday with a spot in the Big Semi Finals up for grabs.

The final match of the Big Bash League before the finals begin, the Hurricanes will host the Heat with either team able to move above Adelaide Strikers into fourth spot if they win in Hobart.
Melbourne Renegades (14 points), Perth Scorchers (10) and Melbourne Stars (10) have wrapped up semi-final berths already.
But after the Strikers (eight points, -0.16 net run rate) lost to the Scorchers by 98 runs on Thursday, Hobart (eight points, -0.29 NRR) and Brisbane (six points, 0.13 NRR) still have an opportunity to squeeze into the finals at the last moment.
The Hurricanes and the Heat head into Saturday's game on the back of defeats to the Strikers and Sydney Sixers respectively.
Hobart's bowling attack will need to be on alert against the Heat's powerful batting line-up.

Luke Pomersbach and Chris Lynn rank in Brisbane's top five for both most runs scored and best strike rate.

Pomersbach is the Heat's highest run scorer with 166 at a strike rate of 123.88, while Lynn (150 at 140.19) has provided power hitting further down the order.

Hobart's hopes will rest on Ben Laughlin's shoulders, as the 30-year-old paceman is the equal highest wicket-taker in BBL02, alongside the Stars' Lasith Malinga with 13.
Tim Paine and Ricky Ponting are the key pair with the bat for the Hurricanes as both are ranked in the top 10 in BBL02 for runs scored with 237 and 219 respectively, while Ben Cutting (8 wickets) is Brisbane's main strike bowler.
Key Battle
Laughlin v Pomersbach and Hopes. Brisbane's opening batsmen Luke Pomersbach and James Hopes have been a barometer for the Queensland-based side this season. The Heat have only won one match in BBL02 when they have lost their first wicket with less than 25 runs on the board (on that occasion, Pomersbach scored 65). Ben Laughlin looms as the Hurricanes' best avenue for an early breakthrough and if the fast bowler succeeds, Hobart could be on their way to the semi-finals.
Dark Horse

Cutting – with all eyes likely to be on Roach, the 25-year-old Queenslander may sneak under the radar and surprise the Scorchers. Cutting has three wickets at an average of 18.66 this BBL season and a respectable economy rate of eight runs per over. He is unlikely to open the bowling but may be the difference through the middle overs.
Last time
In the opening round of this season, the Hurricanes cruised to an eight-wicket triumph at the Gabba with Travis Birt (57 not out) and Owais Shah (36 not out) scoring an unbeaten 95-run partnership to claim victory over Brisbane with an over to spare.
The Heat batted first but lost openers Shane Watson and Luke Pomersbach cheaply and never recovered with Evan Gulbis (3-29 off four overs) helping Hobart keep the home side to 172, with Dan Christian (49) the top-scorer for Brisbane.
In response, all four of Hobart's players who spent time in the middle produced decent scores, with openers Tim Paine (28) and Jonathan Wells (38) giving the Hurricanes a great start to their run chase.

Hurricanes: Tim Paine (c), Ricky Ponting, Travis Birt, Aiden Blizzard, Doug Bollinger, Ed Cowan, Evan Gulbis, Mark Higgs, Michael Hogan, Jason Krejza, Ben Laughlin, Owais Shah, Jon Wells

In: Mark Higgs, Michael Hogan, Ed Cowan
Out: George Bailey (Aus ODI squad), Xavier Doherty (Aus ODI squad), Scott Styris (hamstring)

Heat: James Hopes (c ), Alister McDermott, Nathan Hauritz, Dan Christian, Luke Pomersbach, Joe Burns, Chris Hartley, Peter Forrest, Chris Lynn, Chris Sabburg, Kemar Roach, Cameron Gannon, Matthew Gale

In: Matthew Gale
Out: Ben Cutting (Aus ODI squad)

Facts and figures
Hobart's Travis Birt has scored just 65 runs in BBL02 but his highest score (57 not out) came against the Heat in the first round.
The Heat's Dan Christian has taken seven wickets this season including 5-26 in Brisbane's five-wicket victory over the Sydney Thunder, the second-best individual haul across the competition.
Tim Paine (Hurricanes) has scored 156 runs at an average of 52 over the past four games, Hobart  winning three of those to move within striking distance of the top four.
Nathan Hauritz (Heat) has failed to take a wicket in Brisbane's past three games, conceding on average 9.43 runs per over.