Semi Final - Scorchers vs. Hurricanes
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Semi Final - Scorchers vs. Hurricanes
Big Bash title bettingPerth Scorchers: $2.40 at SportsbetHobart Hurricanes: $5.25 at William Hill
THE Perth Scorchers will look to christen their new home at Optus Stadium in the best possible way.
Justin Langer’s men bring dangerous form into the Big Bash League finals after finishing the regular season with seven consecutive wins.
No wonder the defending champions are +140 favourites for the title at Sportsbet.com.au.
They are missing some key players, with both Ashton Agar and Andrew Tye called up for Australia’s T20 series against England.
However, those losses are offset by some very handy inclusions.
Both the Marsh brothers are available for the first time this season, while Jhye Richardson is already back from a maiden stint with the ODI team.
The Hobart Hurricanes will have to deal with the departure of master blaster D’Arcy Short, but keeper-bat Tim Paine returns after a solid summer on the international stage.
The men in purple have limped into the post-season with consecutive defeats to the Strikers, the Scorchers and the last-placed Melbourne Stars.
That slump has cost the ‘Canes a potential home final and given them the toughest possible route to the decider.
Scorchers vs. Hurricanes top batsman tips
Shaun Marsh – +275 at Ladbrokes
Remember this guy?
Shaun Marsh should be ready and raring for a hit after several weeks on the sidelines with a sore quad.
There is a question over whether that break might have let a little rust set in, but the West Australian’s Big Bash record is too good to ignore.
Marsh averages over 50 in the BBL and has 13 half-tons from only 33 digs – prime figures for a top runscorer candidate.
Ben McDermott – +550 at Sportsbet
Son of Craig has threatened to explode without managing a really big score this summer.
He has registered between 18 and 49 in all but two of his 10 knocks for a total of 249 runs at 31.12.
While that level of consistency is admirable, the ‘Canes may need a little bit more now that Short is unavailable.
If McDermott moves up one or two places in the batting order as expected, those +550 odds could be very good value indeed.
Best bets for top wicket-taker
Mitchell Johnson – +250 at Ladbrokes
No Tye, no Agar and no David Willey means the Scorchers are missing three of their most prolific wicket-takers.
Who better to step up than Mitchell Johnson?
The former Test and ODI star has played an unselfish role in recent weeks, piling on the pressure and passing on the wickets to his fellow bowlers.
Look for this big-time performer to break his four-game wicket drought in front of a packed house at the Optus.
Jofra Archer – +225 at CrownBet
If Johnson is the pick of the Perth bowlers, then Archer is the obvious choice for Hobart.
The young West Indian was a little bit loose in the loss to the Stars, missing the mark with a few attempted Yorkers late on.
However, that was a rare deviation from the premium blend of control, trickery and raw pace he has shown all season.
If Archer cannot deliver the goods, the Hurricanes will not win.
Who will win – Perth Scorchers or Hobart Hurricanes?
Should the Scorchers have waited until season’s end to relocate?
Some have suggested that leaving ‘The Furnace’ for the new stadium now is tantamount to conceding home ground advantage.
Those people don’t realise that pitch conditions have very little to do with why the WACA is such a tricky prospect for visiting teams.
It is Perth’s parochial support that makes the difference, and there will be twice as much of it at the Optus.
Then there is the form.
The Scorchers have sizzled where the ‘Canes have fizzled, and there is no reason to expect anything different on Thursday.