There was very little to separate the Melbourne Stars and the Hobart Hurricanes last season, with the latter squeezing into the Big Bash League play-offs by finishing fifth just a point and a place better off.
Neither of these two sides have won the competition before, so will be desperate to change that record going into this campaign.
However, the Stars fell to an agonising low-scoring defeat in their tournament opener and the Hurricanes will be looking to capitalise on this trip to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to get their own campaign under way.
Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes Betting Tips
Melbourne fell to a last-ball defeat against the Sydney Thunder on Tuesday, but there were mitigating circumstances in that clash that may impact them on their home bow.
Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis were suffering with the effects of Covid-19 with the former also picking up a hamstring complaint that forced him to retire from the contest.
Stoinis didn’t take to the field in Sydney Thunder’s innings after registering a first-ball duck, so both are expected to miss out, with Clint Hinchliffe and Brody Couch – the Stars’ leading wicket-taker last season – pushing for a start.
Superstar Glenn Maxwell is out for the long term as he recovers from a broken leg.
Hobart have been given the luxury of an extra three days preparation for their curtain-raiser and for some of their overseas contingent to get more acclimatised to conditions.
However, the Hurricanes will be without Zak Crawley and Shadab Khan due to ongoing Test commitments, while Billy Stanlake is expected to miss at least the opener due to a back injury that ruled him out of all of last season.
Hobart Hurricanes to win @ 4/6
The Hurricanes don’t have a fantastic record at the MCG and went into the playoffs last season on the back of a 106-run hammering at the hands of the Stars at this ground, with the home side amassing a mammoth 273-2 in their 20 overs, offering temptation for another home win, particularly at odds against.
That was built around Maxwell’s blistering unbeaten 154 off just 64 balls, though, and with him being absent for this clash, along with potentially two other key players, Hobart can gain revenge with victory in this one.
It may be tough to gauge the form of their players as this is their first game, but the Stars struggled down the line-up with the bat in hand three days ago and the 4/6 Hurricanes can capitalise on the doubts in the injury-hit home camp.
D’Arcy Short – Hobart Top Run Scorer @ 3/1
The visitors arrive at the MCG knowing that they had the leading scorer in last season’s BBL, with Ben McDermott finishing the campaign with an aggregate of 577 runs – 76 clear of the next best from four games fewer – at an average of 48.08.
The right-hander is an obvious candidate to finish as the Hurricanes top run scorer at 13/5 but D’Arcy Short offers a little more value at 3/1.
Short amassed 444 runs at an average of 37.00, but holds an impressive record at the MCG, having made 323 runs from seven innings there, including three fifties.