It will be a clash of the second-placed and the third-placed teams in the BBL on Thursday as the Hobart Hurricanes take on Sydney Thunder at the Perth Stadium. The added incentive of getting the top spot in the BBL standings should make this a captivating contest.
Both the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Thunder come into this game on the back of defeats. But both teams have almost identical records, having won five of their matches so far this season.
The Hobart Hurricanes have a fairly balanced team despite missing Matthew Wade at the top of the order. D'Arcy Short's poor form aside, their batsmen have been performing well. Ben McDermott has raced to the top of the BBL most runs charts, with 277 runs to his name in just six matches. The world's best T20 batsman, Dawid Malan has shown glimpses of his world-class quality as well.
Sydney Thunder will have to make do without key bowling all-rounder Daniel Sams due to concussion, in what is a big blow to them. But with Alex Hales and Ben Cutting finding some form with the bat, they will fancy their chances of continuing their good start to the BBL.
Their batting order has been further boosted by the arrival of Sam Billings in recent games. The Thunder's best performer so far though, has been rookie spinner Tanveer Sangha, who has 13 wickets in seven matches. Fellow spinner Chris Green has also impressed, but the Thunder were let down by their pace bowlers in their last game.
BBL 2020-21, Hurricanes vs Thunder: Match prediction
This will no doubt be a hard-fought battle between two of the BBL's best teams so far this season. Both the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Thunder look primed to make the play-offs at the moment. And Thursday's game could well be decided by the slimmest of margins.
Both teams are stacked with quality players and global T20 specialists. The Hobart Hurricanes have the better team on paper, but the Sydney Thunder have a well-balanced unit with some new names making their mark.
The Hurricanes have one of the BBL's best batting line-ups, while the Thunder boast of one of the league's most talented spin bowlers in Tanveer Sangha. But as we saw on Wednesday, the Perth Stadium will offer more assistance to the pacers. And the likes of Riley Meredith, Scott Boland, and Co. will certainly enjoy bowling on the surface.
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one. The absence of Daniel Sams is a big blow for the Thunder, and it could end up giving the Hurricanes the edge as they look to go top of the BBL standings.
Prediction: The Hobart Hurricanes to win