The Hobart Hurricanes will be aiming to get back to winning ways as they host the Melbourne Renegades at the Bellerive Oval on Saturday. The Peter Handscomb-led team began the BBL this year with two wins in a row. However, a defeat to the Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday brought their momentum to a halt.
The Renegades suffered an absolute hammering at the hands of the Sydney Sixers in their last game. An embarrassing batting collapse saw them get knocked over for just 60 while chasing a total of 205 runs.
With Aaron Finch set to miss Saturday's crunch clash, their hopes of returning to the win column have suffered a serious blow. Shaun Marsh will lead the team in Finch's stead.
The Renegades will be hopeful that Finch's absence can be offset by the return of all-rounders Mohammad Nabi and Will Sutherland, who missed the first two games.
15-year-old Afghanistan spinner Noor Ahmad is also available for selection. It will be interesting to see if head coach Michael Klinger decides to put him into the spotlight straight away.
The Hobart Hurricanes welcomed Ben McDermott back into the team on Tuesday, and the big-hitting batsman made an immediate impact. Their batting order will be further boosted by the arrival of Keemo Paul.
The player's all-round skills will be crucial for the Hurricanes, who have endured top-order collapses in two of their three games so far. Paul will likely join Colin Ingram and Will Jacks as three overseas players for the Hurricanes.
Ingram has enjoyed an impressive start to the BBL and is currently the tournament's leading run-scorer. All-rounder Tim David is behind him in second place in the Golden Cap standings.
James Faulkner is the tournament's joint-highest wicket-taker, having claimed seven scalps so far. Scott Boland and Riley Meredith have provided decent pace-bowling support to him as well.
Check the updated BBL points table 2020.
BBL 2020-21, Hurricanes vs Renegades: Match prediction
The Hobart Hurricanes are a well-oiled unit with great power in their batting line-up and excellent skill in their bowling attack. The same cannot be said about the Melbourne Renegades at this stage. Though, they will improve with the returns of Nabi and Sutherland. Whether that will be enough to offset the loss of Aaron Finch on Saturday remains to be seen.
The Hurricanes' main weakness is the inconsistency of their top order. The absence of Matthew Wade is being felt heavily, as D'Arcy Short and Will Jacks have been plagued by inconsistent form early in the tournament.
The likes of Kane Richardson and Peter Hatzoglou will be looking to exploit this form on Saturday. At the same time, the Hurricanes will now have a deeper batting order with the arrival of Keemo Paul.
On paper, the Renegades have a solid roster but the new faces in their squad will take time to find their consistency. After failing with both bat and ball in their previous game, the Renegades will be relying on Shaun Marsh, Rilee Rossouw and Kane Richardson to come up with the goods against the Hurricanes.
The outcome of this contest will depend on which version of the Melbourne Renegades team turns up. If it is the team that defeated the Scorchers in their opener, we could be in for an exciting BBL clash between two quality teams in Hobart. If that fails to happen, the Hurricanes will cruise to their third win of the tournament.Published 18 Dec 2020, 16:26 IST