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Hurricanes' late surge to finals comes to juddering halt

Nathan Ellis was the find of the season for Hobart Hurricanes Getty Images

Season in nutshell

The Hurricanes had an up and down season with the team affected heavily by absences through injury and international duty. They traded wins and losses in the first six games before two key bowlers in Riley Meredith and James Faulkner suffered significant injuries. Meredith was ruled out for the season with a side strain while Faulkner would only return from a calf injury late in the tournament. The team went on a four-game winless stretch in the middle of the tournament to put finals in jeopardy. The dynamic opening pair of Matthew Wade and D'Arcy Short that had dominated the last two seasons was broken up by international duty. The pair only batted together in the last three games of the season and combined for a stunning 203-run stand in the final home and away game against the Adelaide Strikers to sneak into the finals. But they lost the Eliminator against Sydney Thunder at home to be bundled out of the tournament.

What went right?

Individually, a number of their batsman had excellent seasons on numbers alone. Wade and Short both scored centuries and passed 50 four times each. Wade was exceptional in his eight innings scoring 351 runs, averaging 50.14 and striking at an incredible 171.21. Short was not as prolific as previous editions but still scored 357 runs in nine innings. Unfortunately, the pair didn't get to play together enough and both men missed six games each.

What went wrong?

Their bowling really struggled without Faulkner and Meredith for large parts of the season. They also weren't able to cover the loss of Jofra Archer who was so important in the last two seasons. Faulkner, Meredith, and Nathan Ellis were the only bowlers to concede less than eight runs per over across the tournament. While spin was such a key component to the success of teams like the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers, the Hurricanes spinners were extremely expensive. Qais Ahmad went at 8.14 runs per over bowling predominantly in the middle overs, while Clive Rose and Short both conceded more than nine runs per over.

Performance of the season

The win over the Strikers was their best of the year. They had to win to play in the finals and Wade and Short put on 203 at Adelaide Oval, the second-highest partnership in BBL history, and the Hurricanes made 1 for 217, the highest score ever at Adelaide Oval in the BBL. Wade made a career-best 130 not out from just 61 balls. He faced just five dot balls and struck 11 fours and seven sixes. The Hurricanes then held their nerve with the ball with a very even performance to defend the total on a superb batting surface.

Player of the season

Ellis was outstanding in his first BBL season becoming their go-to bowler, consistently bowling the four toughest overs of the innings, overs 4, 6, 18, and 20. He was able to take 12 wickets at an economy rate of 7.94, which is outstanding in what are traditionally the highest-scoring overs of any T20 innings. His mix of yorkers at close to 140kph and slower balls made him exceptionally hard to hit and his execution got better and better through the tournament. He closed out the game against the Melbourne Renegades defending 11 off the last over against Beau Webster and Dan Christian. He then bowled one of the spells of the tournament in the Eliminator against Sydney Thunder taking 1 for 18 from four overs when the rest of the Hurricanes bowlers went at more than 9.75 per over.

Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)

The Hurricanes were heavily dependent on Wade and Short. Both of them were not available through the tournament and that showed in their performances. Last year Wade and Short carried them to the semis while this year they did not have that luxury. The Hurricanes averaged 17.87 for positions 3 to 11 - the lowest in the tournament .