With 32 games of this summer’s Big Bash League now behind us, we have finally crested the hill of the longest BBL season ever. And that means it’s as good a time as any to start passing judgements on teams.
The Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes both go in search of their maiden BBL title when they clash in the Grand Final at the Adelaide Oval this afternoon. Here is my full preview, as well as The Prophet’s pick.
BBL07 Grand Final – Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes at Adelaide Oval
Head-to-head History – Adelaide Strikers 5, Hobart Hurricanes 3
Last five – Adelaide Strikers 3, Hobart Hurricanes 2
Adelaide Strikers 13-Man Squad
Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Alex Carey, Jono Dean, Colin Ingram, Liam O’Connor, Ben Laughlin, Jake Lehmann, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle, Nick Winter, Jake Weatherald, Jonathan Wells
Hobart Hurricanes 13-Man Squad
George Bailey (c), Dan Christian, Cameron Boyce, Clive Rose, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko,, Tom Rogers, D’Arcy Short, Jofra Archer, Matthew Wade, Nathan Reardon, Alex Doolan
It’s the BBL7 Grand Final as the Strikers and Hurricanes lock horns at a sold-out Adelaide Oval for the right to be crowned Champions.
If there is not enough at stake, both franchises are chasing their inaugural championship at the seventh time of asking.
The Hurricanes stunned the Scorchers with an 80-run pummelling at the new Optus Stadium, and will feel they have nothing to lose, having scraped into the finals at 5-5.
The Strikers won a thriller against the Renegades by just one run to send their fans into delirium, as they get to back up today in front of those same raucous supporters.
Big batting battle – D’Arcy Short vs Alex Carey
We have two left-handed opening batsmen here, with very contrasting styles, in D’Arcy Short and Alex Carey, both given the green light to return from Australian T20 duty after they took on New Zealand last night in Sydney.
Both have been huge reasons why the Hurricanes and Strikers have been big surprise packets this season, with them laying the foundation at the top.
Short is the leading run scorer in BBL having plundered 504 runs at an average of 56 while Carey is the second leading run scorer in BBL7, with 425 runs at an average of 53.
Big Bowling Battle – Ben Laughlin vs Jofra Archer
Here we have a battle between a canny and experienced veteran and a young gun overseas import, with Ben Laughlin and Jofra Archer leading their teams’ attack.
Laughlin has had another outstanding BBL campaign, being the third leading wicket taker in the competition, with 16 scalps at an average of 20.
Laughlin has been excellent at the death, holding his nerve to defend the 13 the Renegades required off the final over on Friday night.
Archer has had an outstanding debut season in the BBL for the Hurricanes, with 15 wickets, making him the team’s leading wicket-taker and fourth overall in BBL7.
However he has failed to take a wicket in his last two games and will be desperate to have a huge impact on this final.
Ground dynamic – Adelaide Oval
Usually we get a pretty true wicket at the Adelaide Oval, and it was in great cSemi-Finalor the Semi Final on Friday night with scores of 5/178 from the Strikers and 4/177 from the Renegades. So I wouldn’t expect anything different, despite this potentially being a used wicket.
With the straight boundaries far bigger, expect the fast bowlers to bowl a lot fuller length than they do at some other grounds around the country.
Given the pressure of a Grand Final, any score of around 170 will be tough to chase for the team batting second.
The Prophet’s pick (22-20) – Adelaide Strikers
“Unbeaten at home, the Strikers will put an end to the Canes’ fairytale season by claiming their inaugural championship in front of their home fans in a close one.”
The Prophet’s 10-unit bank (Running Tally = -51 units)
10 Units Strikers to win by 1-20 runs or 1-4 wickets @ $5.50