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BBLSydney Sixers vs. Hobart Hurricanes – 4:20pm local time on Sunday, December 20, 2015 at the Sydney Cricket Ground

Sydney Sixers
$1.72 at

Hobart Hurricanes
$2.25 at William Hill

THE Sydney Sixers endured a rough start to Big Bash League 2015/16.

Last year’s finalists were swept away by the Sydney Thunder in the season opener on Thursday night, going down by 36 runs at Spotless Stadium.

It was the Sixers’ first-ever defeat to their crosstown rivals.

The pace trio of Jackson Bird (0/29 off three overs), Doug Bollinger (1/33 off four overs) and Sean Abbott (1/28 off three overs) took a particular hammering, while Michael Lumb (34 off 27 balls) was the only batsman to pass 20.

They will need to lift their game quick-smart if they have any ambitions of taming a supercharged Hobart Hurricanes outfit.

The Tasmanian franchise missed the finals last year, but their chances of a top-four finish have improved drastically with the acquisition of a man who has over 28,000 international runs to his name.

Sunday’s clash at the SCG will mark the Big Bash debut of Kumar Sangakkara, fresh off topping the scoring charts in the 2015 Bangladesh Premier League.

The Sri Lankan star has made no secret of his excitement at playing in what he called the “highest quality” domestic Twenty20 competition in the world.

“Looking at the Big Bash as a whole from the outside, being my first time playing in it, the cricket is outstanding,” Sangakkara said to the press on Wednesday.

“The brand has a huge appeal around the world, there is a lot of respect for this tournament and having heard some of the overseas players who have come here and played, the feedback has been amazing.

“All in all when you look at the big picture, it is unbelievable I am here playing and I feel very, very privileged.

“Probably out of all the franchise tournaments, the cricket is of the highest quality here.”

Besides the landmark signing of Sangakkara, the Hurricanes have beefed up their bowling by adding Shaun Tait, Simon Milenko, spinner Clive Rose and allrounder Dan Christian.

Also suiting up for Hobart will be Darren Sammy, who played at Bellerive early last season before joining the West Indies squad for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.

As one of several Caribbean stars to have opted for BBL05 over the ongoing Frank Worrell Trophy series with Australia, the former Windies captain said he was looking forward to an uninterrupted campaign this time around.

“I have been waiting for an entire year for the Big Bash, I am so excited to be back at a great place, it is a great city,” Sammy said.

“I’ve had great memories, the fans I think are the best fans in the league and they made me feel like I was at a home away from home.

“Last year when I just started to enjoy the Big Bash I had to go on international duties but this year I have an opportunity to be here for the full season.”

Sydney Sixers squad

Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Doug Bollinger, Johan Botha, Ryan Carters, Soumil Chhibber, Ed Cowan, Ben Dwarshuis, Mickey Edwards, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Ming Li, Nathan Lyon, Michael Lumb, Nic Maddinson, Stephen O’Keefe, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc.

Hobart Hurricanes squad

George Bailey, Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Ben Dunk, Michael Hill, Joe Mennie, Dominic Michael, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Sam Rainbird, Jake Reed, Clive Rose, Darren Sammy, Kumar Sangakkara, Shaun Tait, Beau Webster, Jon Wells, Timm van der Gugten.

Match predictions

Result – Hurricanes to win ($2.25 at
Highest opening partnership – Sixers ($1.88 at
Most match sixes – Hurricanes ($2.30 at

The Sixers were well beaten on Thursday, but will they be better for the hitout?

The bowling attack was knocked around all too easily by the class of Michael Hussey, so the last thing they’d want is to face another quality left-hander in Sangakkara.

The batting was even worse, with the sole exception of a solid dig from Lumb at the top of the order.
The Hurricanes have lost a few homegrown favourites this season, including Ben Hilfenhaus, Evan Gulbis and Xavier Doherty – the core of their bowling unit.

They’ve more than covered those departures, however, and even added an extra ingredient with the raw pace of Tait.

The Sixers have the credentials and the home advantage, but Hobart look like good value to start their BBL05 campaign with a win.

Top batsman betting

Sydney Sixers – Jordan Silk ($10 at Sportsbet)

The young Tasmanian was one of the most consistent batsmen in Big Bash 2014-15, notching 272 runs at an average of 54.40. At this price, he’s excellent value.

Hobart Hurricanes – Kumar Sangakkara ($4 at Sportsbet)

How can you not spare a few bucks for one of the game’s all-time greats? Anyone who saw him at the Cricket World Cup earlier this year will know he’s still very much a world-class player at 38 years of age.

Top bowler markets

Sydney Sixers – Nathan Lyon ($4.50 at William Hill)

The Australian selectors might not rate him as a T20 player, but Lyon was one of the Sixers’ brighter performers in the Sydney Smash on Thursday. He’s bowling well this summer and offers a little more value than the quicks.

Hobart Hurricanes – Shaun Tait ($4 at Sportsbet)

On his day, the South Australian quick is one of the most damaging Twenty20 bowlers in the world. His sheer pace makes him a standout selection in the top wicket-taker betting.

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