Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers, BBL, Hobart December 21, 2011

All-round Hurricanes ease to big win

Alex Malcolm

Hobart Hurricanes 3 for 169 (Jaques 73, Birt 65) beat Sydney Sixers 9 for 127 by 42 runs

The Hobart Hurricanes are probably the most unassuming and underrated side in the Big Bash League, but they are fast becoming the team to beat after another polished all-round display to dispose of the Sydney Sixers by 42 runs.

They may lack the big-name star-power but they make up for it with a well-balanced team that executes a tried and tested Twenty20 formula. It is no surprise that they have won two of two.

Just like in Perth on Sunday, Xavier Doherty won the toss and elected to bat on what looked a good surface at the Bellerive Oval. Eyebrows were raised around the ground as they rolled to the half-way point of their innings at a pedestrian six-an-over.

But, just as in Perth, the plan was to leave wickets in hand for a second half assault. At 1 for 63 after 10 overs, having lost only Jonathan Wells to the effective part-time spin of Dom Thornely, the scene was set for Phil Jaques and Travis Birt. In the eleventh over they let fly; Dwayne Bravo conceded 20 runs. Birt smashed two fours and a six before Jaques cut the last ball for four.

Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill curtailed the pair to just 11 runs from the next 12 balls but unlike Perth when panic sparked a collapse of 8 for 39, the pair of left-handers kept their powder dry before targeting Moises Henriques. Five fours and a six were dispatched in two overs the Sixers all-rounder will quickly forget. Birt and Jaques both rocketed past 50 in the process.

Their 107-run stand was broken Mitchell Starc, as he managed to snare Birt for 65 (from 41 balls) with a clever slower bouncer, but the damage was done. Starc also claimed Jaques for 73 with the third ball of the 20th over, but only after Jaques had steered him to fine leg for four and hit him over midwicket for 98-metre six.

The Hurricanes defended 140 with ease against Perth, so 3 for 169 was a luxury total. Again, they opened with a mix of off-spin from Jason Krejza and out-swing from Ben Hilfenhaus. Again, it worked perfectly as they each knocked a batsman over with the score on seven - Peter Nevill missed an innocuous straight delivery from Hilfenhaus, Michael Lumb did the same off the very next ball from Krejza.

Stand-in Sixers captain Steve Smith and 20-year-old Nic Maddinson steadied the ship with a 57-run partnership. They rode their luck but also played some attractive strokes. They took four boundaries from Hilfenhaus' third over. Maddinson showed his immense talent, hitting two of those fours off consecutive deliveries to the cover fence - one over the top, the other along the ground.

But again the Hurricanes stuck to their formula and came up trumps. Spin was ordered in from both ends at the halfway mark, and Doherty and Krejza removed Smith and Maddinson in back-to-back overs to regain control.

Then, the local cult-hero Rana Naved-ul-Hasan entered to bowl at the death. He took 4 for 6 in 11 balls to close out the contest. This is something Tasmanian fans have become accustomed to since he signed up as their star import three seasons ago. Three of Rana's wickets were bowled and he nearly managed his second hat-trick in Australia.

Birt was named Man-of-the-Match but, in reality, the sum of all parts was greater than any one contribution for the Hurricanes. The opposite could be said for the Sixers. Only three of their players reached double-figures with the bat, and they managed just three wickets with the ball despite eight of their XI having represented their country.

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  • Dummy4 on December 23, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    What the heng is wrong with the Sydney Sixers' management that they don't give the best player in their squad, i.e. S.N.J. O'Keefe a game? If he is not injured, why is he not playing. He is one of a select few who can win games for the Sixers. I would have played him from the word go, but it is the end of the second round already and he has still not made an appearance! I simply don't get this!!

  • sabir on December 22, 2011, 7:35 GMT

    Rana is the Best All rounder in the tournament.

  • Girik on December 22, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    I'm suprised Rana Naved is not part of the Pakistani team anymore. The other internationals who are still part of their countries' squads have failed unlike Rana (I think Meety alluded to this on another article).

  • Michael on December 22, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Good win by the Hurricanes, the Sydney Sixes couldnt get close to their target, but the Hurricanes bowled well.

  • wayne on December 21, 2011, 21:06 GMT

    The thing is, Tasmania (and now Hobart) play like a team, not a bunch of individuals. This has been their big strength over the last few years domestically, and they have Dan Marsh & Tim Coyle to mostly thank for that. I've been particularly impressed with their bowling this year. Glad they got the Mullett back.

  • Garry on December 21, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    It's great to see the big stars do well but I also enjoy the lesser known players get stuck in. Birt is always entertaining to watch and would love to see him back in the Aussie T20 side. Always been a fan of Laughlin & Rimmington, they're having good seasons as well (Rimmo more in the shield). Also the depth of keepers we have is outstanding. Wade & Paine are the top of the tree, Hartley is excellent with the gloves and a fighter with the bat, Ronchi is in good form with two Ryobi tons and a 80 this season, Nevill has improved a heap and has a FC average of 50, Dunk has shown some fine qualities and then one of the most impressive has been Tom Triffitt. Clean striker of the ball and very neat with the gloves. Even Crossie has been getting better with the stick. Would like to see once Haddin goes, Wade moved up to Tests and given the opportunity while Paine is injured and then guys like Nevill & Triffitt given exposure to international ODI's & T20 formats.

  • Stuart on December 21, 2011, 18:02 GMT

    Wondered what Jacques was doing early on but he sure showed you don't have to try to hit every ball out of the ground in the first few overs; himself and Birt really turned it on in the second half. Just kicking myself for not having a lazy twenty on the Hurricanes to win the tournament; looks like nobody is going to get on top of their bowling attack.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    This sub std performance from the Sixers really messed up any chance I had of a win in this www.cricketinc.com match. I ended up with a NRR (Net Run Rate) of -0.4 and this is after I used both my allotted substitutes. Tomorrow I will try again to get ahead. This is the thing with T20 cricket, both real and fantasy (because the latter is 100% linked to the former) . . . when things start to go wrong, it just about always goes very wrong, very quickly and there is either no time or batsmen or both left for any kind of recovery.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    I knew its coming like all the eyes were on deccan chargers in 1st IPL they ended second last in that tournament. My money is on adelaide and hobart :)

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