December 30: Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars in Hobart
Our XI: Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Caleb Jewell, Glenn Maxwell, D’Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Riley Meredith, Qais Ahmad, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane
Captain: Glenn Maxwell
Maxwell’s struck 83 and 43 in two of his three games of the season. He’s also rolled his arm over in every game so far and also picked up two wickets in the earlier game against the Hurricanes.
Vice-captain: D’Arcy Short
Opening batsman, gun fielder, and a part-time wristspinner too. Short has struck two fifties already, and will have the opportunity to bat the most number of balls when Hurricanes comeout to bat. With the Hurricanes middle order fairly inexperienced, Short may play the role of the anchor, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go for his shots.
He’s not bowling this season, but the Stars opening batsman still has plenty to offer. He’s batted with caution this season, scoring 81* and 33 in the last two games, and is expected to be the pivot around which his team-mates bat.
He’s taken at least one wicket in each of his last eight matches, including six in three BBL games so far. He’ll be the Hurricanes’ wicket-taking option once again, and his googlies have been difficult to pick this season.
Like Qais, Zampa’s variations have been hard to pick. His partnership with Sandeep Lamichhane means pressure from both ends. He’s also taken six wickets in three BBL games, and none of the Hurricanes batsmen stand out as supreme players of spin.
Peter Handscomb: Bats in the middle order and stands behind the stumps. If the Stars collapse, Handscomb can rebuild. If they need a move on, Handscomb can go big on the leg side. Best player of spin in his team, and his confidence should be high after being picked for Australia’s white-ball tour of India.
Riley Meredith: Gives you two overs with the new ball and then another couple at the death – both prime time for taking wickets. Bowls fast and has taken three-wicket hauls in his last two BBL games.
Caleb Jewell: Has a calm head on his shoulders, as proved by his promotion into the No. 3 spot at the Hurricanes. Has been unlucky so far, out for single digits in two of his first three games, but it’s he should come good for his team. He could be your wild card.