WACA at 6.00pm
v Hobart Hurricanes at WACA (18/12)
v Melbourne Renegades at Etihad Stadium (22/12)
v Brisbane Heat at WACA (29/12)
v Melbourne Stars at MCG (4/1)
v Adelaide Strikers at WACA (8/1)
v Sydney Thunder at ANZ Stadium (11/1)
v Sydney Sixers at SCG (18/1)
v Perth Scorchers at WACA (18/12)
v Sydney Sixers at Blundstone Arena (21/12)
v Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval (28/12)
v Sydney Thunder at Blundstone Arena (1/1)
v Brisbane Heat at ‘Gabba (6/1)
v Melbourne Stars at Blundstone Arena (9/1)
v Melbourne Renegades at Blundstone Arena (18/1)
He might be coming towards the end of his illustrious career, but there still aren’t too many more explosive batsmen than Herschelle Gibbs in the world. He plays the most outlandish strokes, like cutting fast bowlers for six or pulling off the front foot. The 37-year-old has played some awe-inspiring innings and achieved so much during his 15-year international career. None better than his 175 off 111 balls that helped South Africa win an extraordinary one-day match against Australian in 2006. The right-hander has such a good eye and is hard to stop once settled at the crease. An extra bonus, Gibbs is also a brilliant fielder and will be extremely dangerous close in on the off side for the Scorchers.
Rana Naved and Tasmania have developed a special relationship over the past couple of years. The 33-year-old played two seasons with the Tasmanian Tigers and was a huge hit with his teammates and fans. And the Imran Khan look-a-like will return to the Apple Isle once again to play with the Hurricanes in the inaugural season of the Big Bash League. Rana is the perfect T20 pace bowler, because he bowls with intelligence. He mixes his pace up, can swing the ball both ways and knows exactly where to pitch the ball at the death of an innings. With the long hair and big smile, Rana is sure to be a Big Bash fan favourite.
1. Herschelle Gibbs
2. Luke Ronchi (WK)
3. Simon Katich
4. Michael Hussey
5. Marcus North (C)
6. Paul Collingwood
7. Tom Beaton
8. Mitchell Marsh
9. Brad Hogg
10. Nathan Rimmington
11. Ben Edmonson
1. Phil Jaques
2. Rhett Lockyear (WK)
3. Ricky Ponting
4. Travis Birt
5. Owais Shah
6. Jason Krejza
7. Rana Naveed
8. Xavier Doherty (C)
9. Ben Laughlin
10. Matt Johnston
11. Ben Hilfenhaus
Two of the most exciting teams in the Big Bash League go at it tonight on the fast, bouncy WACA wicket. But perhaps the most interesting aspect to this game is the completely contrasting squads the two franchises have picked.
Hobart, who will be captained by spinner Xavier Doherty in Tim Paine’s absence, has made the strange move in picking a side that is very bowler heavy. The Hurricanes have picked a strong top five batting order, but then expect a man like Rana or Jason Krejza to come in at six and make a decent score, when they really should be batting two spots lower. Therefore the pressure on the top five batsmen tonight will be enormous.
On the other hand, Perth has selected a very bat-heavy line-up. The Scorchers can bat right down to Nathan Rimmington, who recently scored a First Class hundred for Western Australia, in 10th spot. But then, of course, the Scorchers will have to rely on their all-rounders, such as Paul Collingwood and Mitch Marsh, to do a reliable job, which they are more than capable of.
On paper, it’s hard to go past the Scorchers here. How about this for a top order: Gibbs, Ronchi, Katich, Hussey, North, Collingwood – all have had international experience in some form. And with Rimmington and Ben Edmonson expected to get plenty of life out of the fast WACA track, it’s hard not to go for the home team.
Perth Scorchers to win ($1.80 – Sportingbet)
Herschelle Gibbs, Scorchers High Bat ($4.50 – Sportingbet)
Rana Naveed, Hurricanes Most Wickets ($3.75 – Centrebet)