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Minor Premiers Hurricanes Reset For BBL Finals

10 February 2019

Having crashed the Scorchers' launch party at Perth's Optus Stadium last season, the Hurricanes are acutely aware their BBL|08 Minor Premiership counts for little in their upcoming Semi-Final against the ever so dangerous Melbourne Stars featuring the likes of skipper Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Dwayne Bravo, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane and Tasmanian favorites Jackson Bird and Ben Dunk.

The table-topping Hurricanes finished their regular home and away season with a four-wicket loss to the fifth-placed Sydney Thunder at Canberra's Manuka Oval on Saturday night.

But the club's fourth loss of a dominant BBL campaign, led by the league's two leading run-scorers D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade, had zero effect on their first ladder position.

Bookmakers suggest Hobart remain the team to beat in the play-offs, which start with the Hurricanes hosting the Melbourne Stars in a knockout fixture.

However, the BBL's short history is littered with examples of minor premiers folding in the last four.

Perth did exactly that in 2018, winning eight of ten games during the regular season then suffering a 71-run loss in the first BBL game at the city's new stadium.

The Scorchers were stunned that night by the Hurricanes, whose 5 Win - 5 Loss record for that season was quickly forgotten amid a flurry of Wade and Ben McDermott boundaries and an imposing total of 4-210.

"There's an element of luck in the way the semis are set up," Hurricanes veteran George Bailey said in Canberra post-match.

"It actually doesn't matter if you've had a good tournament or a poor tournament.

"If you've been the leading run-scorer or haven't scored a run in your last 10 games.

"You just start from scratch.

"We take a lot of confidence out of the way we've played over a sustained period.

"It's very much just playing hopefully your best game of the year (at the right time)."

Calls for a re-jigged BBL Finals system, which might reward the top-ranked team with either a double chance or direct entry to the Grand Final, have been ignored by Cricket Australia.

Bailey was unhappy with his own knock of 53 off 35 balls in Canberra, feeling he should have done more to get McDermott (44 not out) on strike.

But he gave Wade, who scored 45 against the Sydney Thunder to make it 590 runs for the season, another ringing endorsement regarding his push for a national recall.

"He's putting his hand up isn't he? He's ticking the boxes," Bailey said.

"He's doing everything that I reckon they'd be wanting."

Pat Cummins, who actually dismissed Wade in Canberra caught behind off an edge, suggested the former Test keeper is "at the top of his game".

"Like anyone, if he keeps scoring runs he's going to knock down that door eventually," Cummins said.

 

BBL|08 FINALS SCHEDULE:

7:30pm THIS Thursday Night 14 February

First Semi-Final, Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Stars - Blundstone Arena, Hobart.

CLICK HERE - MATCH TICKETS

CLICK HERE - MATCH-DAY HOSPITALITY PACKAGES

7:30pm THIS Friday Night 15 February

Second Semi-Final, Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Sixers - Marvel Stadium, Melbourne.

2:45pm THIS Sunday Afternoon 17 February

Grand Final, Hurricanes OR Stars vs Renegades OR Sixers - Venue TBC.