Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers @ Blundstone Arena

The big bash begins on Thursday night when the Hobart Hurricanes take on the Sydney Sixers at Blundstone Arena in Tassie.
The Sixers won their last six games of last season which culminated in lifting the tournament trophy after being the Melbourne Stars in the final. Again they have a strong squad.

Young gun Josh Phillipe is one to watch up the top of the order after a breakout season last year, while captain Moses Henriques has shown time and time again he can control proceedings in the middle of the order.

The defending champions have brought in West Indian allrounders Carlos Braithwaite and Jason Holder this season. Both men are capable of scoring runs quickly towards the back end of the innings as well as bowling their maximum four overs. The Sixers retain Englishman James Vince who bats in the top three and is all class. They also pick up experienced all rounder Dan Christian who joins them from the Melbourne Renegades. Unfortunately for both the Sixers and the competition Tom Curran who starred last year with both bat and ball is unavailable.

Hobart exited via the Eliminator final last year. I like some of the inclusions into their squad this year. The South African Colin Ingram comes across from Adelaide – he bats in the middle order and has the ability to hit 6’s for fun. Then there is young Englishman Will Jacks. The 22 year old has big wraps on him, he is a batting all rounder who bowls off spin. Peter Handscombe is another quality addition.

The Hurricanes have the ability to make big scores but also often concede them. They will again be looking for a massive season out of Darcy Short at the top of the order. He has proven as consistent as anyone in recent times with the bat and scores at a quick rate.

Overall this looks a fairly even game on paper and at the current odds my suggested bet is a small play on the Hurricanes. They have beaten the Sixers in in three of their last four encounters and have the advantage of playing at home.

Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars @ Manuka Oval

Two of the more glamourous teams will meet under the Friday night lights in Canberra for their opening round of the competition. The Stars finished runners up last season, falling agonizingly short of that elusive first title. As is nearly always the case they have another strong squad on paper. Marcus Stoinis was dominant at the top of the order last year and he along with Maxwell controlled many games for the men in Green.

Big hitting Andre Fletcher from the West Indies is a good addition, he is a regular in his countries national side. They also bring in quick Billy Stanlake and spinner Zahir Kahn who will bolster their bowling ranks. I expect them to be up the point end of the ladder again.

In a big blow to the Brisbane Heat’s overall chances, Tom Banton has opted out of this years competition. He was dominant at the top of the order in his first season and leaves a big hole along with super star AB De Villiers who won’t be returning.

This places even more pressure on Chris Lynn who will lead the heat again this season. He is the leading run scorer in BBL history and looks in ominous form if a recent T20 game for his local district team in Queensland is anything to go by. He smashed 154 off 55 balls.

One player the Heat will be looking at to step up this year is talented young gun Max Bryant. He has shown good ability in recent years but needs to add consistency to his game. Big South African Morne Morkel improves their bowling stock although he isn’t getting any younger.

The Stars are clearly the ones to beat here.

Suggested Betting Strategy

1 Unit | Hobart Hurricanes @ 2.1

2.5 Units | Melbourne Stars @ $1.67

0.5 Units | Chris Lynn Top Brisbane Run Scorer @ $3.75

*Please note the maximum outlay on a single outcome is 2.5 units