High-scoring game expected at The Optus

Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Thunder
Thursday, 07:15 GMT
Live on BT Sport

When previewing this match in the latest episode of Cricket…Only Bettor, my initial reaction was ‘horrible match to call’. The side I’ve backed for the title versus the team I rate likeliest to win. When the betting opened, Hurricanes were clear favourites but the market has since levelled up.

Correctly in my view. No way should Sydney Thunder be outsiders against anyone. They finished last season strongly and had won five matches on the spin before losing to Heat last time.

Thunder performed well in defeat last time

That defeat was immediately forgiven. They were at a big disadvantage batting first and, in any case, recorded the highest first innings totals in the last 13 matches at The Gabba.

To reiterate, Thunder are a beautifully balanced side.

Explosive, world-class openers. A strong middle-order with all-rounders perfectly suited to T20, such as Daniel Sams and Chris Green. Plus match-winning bowlers like Sams and Tanveer Sangha.

The points table shows Hurricanes haven’t quite reached the same standard yet but similar comments about balance apply. They aren’t as strong in the all-rounder department without James Faulkner but, on the flip side, they probably have more match-winners.

Hurricanes are also well balanced

Hobart were always expected to improve as the tournament progressed and players became available. Dawid Malan has been solid since arriving and is one of the most reliable batsmen in world T20 cricket. Sandeep Lamichhane can turn matches.

Again, defeat last time is entirely forgiveable having run into Marcus Stoinis at his explosive best. Hitting 173 chasing was no disgrace and Ben McDermott once again impressed with 91.

180 required batting first

I cannot think of a more consistently predictable ground than the Optus Stadium, Perth. Of the last 14 first innings here, nine finished between 174 and 185.

Scorchers have just demonstrated how to win at The Optus. Bat first, hit 180. The last eight times 174 was made in the first innings, it was defended. Anything less is unlikely to be enough.

Even bigger totals are available here - those recent numbers include a 213 and a 196. Both of these sides have the power to get there too, so I expect a high scoring game.

Try this tactic to trade the runs

Consider this trading tactic. In the #OddsOnThat section, Evens is available about both sides hitting 160, 15/8 about 170, 7/2 about 180 or more.

I expect the par 1st Innings Runs line to start off around 170-175 and that figure to be reached. 3.02/1 about 180 plus would appeal but I doubt the odds will start that high.

Instead, back any of those specials and then look to lay back after the first innings. For example take 15/8 about both hitting 170. If 180 is the subsequent target, I reckon the chasing side will be around 6/5 or 2.26/5.

So at that stage, I’d lay the chasers to get 180 at 2.26/5, thus guaranteeing an overall profit from the two bets combined, while potentially winning both if the chasers hit between 170-179.

However for the sake of clarity in the staking system, I’ll just recommend the first bet at 15/8.

Swerve Short in runscorer markets

D’Arcy Short is boosted to 3/1 but remains poor value for Top Hurricanes Runscorer. He’s failed to reach double-figures five times this season. Both McDermott and Malan are much preferred at 3/1. Especially the perennially over-priced latter.

The other #OddsBoosts are 3/1 for Alex Hales to top-score for Thunder, plus 11/4 and 7/2 respectively about Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith being clear top wicket-taker for their sides.

Finally a small interest on Man of the Match. I reckon this is likelier to go to a batsman but 25/1 about Tanveer Sangha - the joint second highest wicket-taker in the tournament - is simply too big.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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