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Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes
Big Bash League Final 2017-18
|Adelaide Strikers||Hobart Hurricanes|
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The Adelaide Strikers have taken their first BBL title in what was ultimately a dominant, comfortable victory, defeating the Hobart Hurricanes by 25 runs at Adelaide Oval.
Adelaide Strikers 2/202
Hobart Hurricanes 5/177
The BBL will crown a new champion when the Adelaide Strikers take on the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Final for 2017/18 – and both sides have plenty of big names back in the fray. Join The Roar for live scores, coverage and analysis from 4:30pm (AEDT).
With their spot in the finals only determined in the very last game, and heading in off the back of a humiliating loss to the last-placed Melbourne Stars, few pundits predicted the Hurricanes to put up much of a fight at the business end of the season.
But despite missing devastating opener D’Arcy Short on national duty, the men from Tasmania stunned the first-placed Perth Scorchers at the new Optus Stadium by a whopping 71 runs, with Matthew Wade a revelation at the top of the order and Ben McDermott smashing the usually tidy Scorchers’ bowling attack into the stands with disdain.
Short’s return after Cricket Australia released him from the T20I squad is a massive boost for the Hurricanes, and with disappointing English quick Tymal Mills not even making the squad of 13, it’s a sign the purple army have plenty of bowling options in their arsenal.
The Hurricanes might have eased through to their spot in the Big Final, but the same certainly can’t be said of the Adelaide Strikers after being pushed to the brink by the Melbourne Renegades in their semi-final.
Their thrilling one-run win was largely off the back of an unbeaten 85 from captain Travis Head and some miserly bowling at the death from talismanic leg-spinner Rashid Khan and the experienced Ben Laughlin, with the latter’s ice-cool final over sealing the result.
But while the Strikers welcome back in-form ‘keeper-batsman Alex Carey, and have been able to keep Head on their books as well, their bowling has been hit hard – express paceman Billy Stanlake has not been released by Cricket Australia owing to the heavier workload on bowlers than batsmen, while Rashid is unavailable due to commitments for Afghanistan.
The loss of the wily young leggie is a bitter pill to swallow for the Strikers, and without his unplayable googly and mastery of the middle overs, their bowling attack looks a little thin.
The Strikers have built their season around their multi-pronged bowling attack, but with no Rashid and Stanlake, the onus is on Peter Siddle, Michael Neser and Laughlin to all pick up the slack and then some.
It’s going to be a close game, but the Hurricanes look settled, have what appears to be their best team on the park, and we’ve seen in the past what a difference that can make.
Hurricanes to take the title by 9 runs or 6 wickets.
With no Rashid to lead the spin bowling department, young fellow leggie Liam O’Connor is in line for a recall to the squad for the match, and having not played a BBL game in more than a year, it would be straight into the deep end for the West Australian.
Can the Strikers give the Adelaide Oval crowd something to celebrate with a maiden BBL title? Or will the Hurricanes continue their late-season surge and bring the trophy back to the Apple Isle?
Tune into The Roar’s live coverage of the 2017/18 BBL Big Final from 4:30pm (AEDT), and remember to leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.