The BBL finals series gets underway tonight with the Adelaide Strikers “hosting” the Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG. The Strikers come in with all the momentum having won their last 4 including a couple of big wins over the Sixers and Scorchers (top two teams). Meanwhile the Hurricanes almost suffered a sorry loss to the Renegades before being blown off the park by the Stars in a record-smashing innings just two days ago. The teams split their two previous meetings this season 1-1. The Melbourne weather looks perfect for cricket tonight.


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Expected Strikers Xl: Short, Carey, Head, Renshaw, Wells, Weatherald, Kelly, Thornton, Ahmed, Siddle, Conway (Hunt, Agar, Worrall)

Expected Hurricanes Xl: McDermott, Jewell, Wade, Short, Handscomb, David, Thompson, Boland, Rogers, Kann, Meredith (Parker, Owen, Sanders, Ellis)


Check out our old friend 'Smatho' who is back with his video preview for tonight's game



The Strikers are $1.72 favourites, justified on recent form alone. The batting order has changed repeatedly throughout the season, with Matt Short the main point of solidarity with his consistent match-winning efforts. Jonathan Wells has been solid, Jake Weatherald disappointing, and Thomas Kelly an injection of youthful energy if not winning any games off his own bat. The return of Travis Head and Alex Carey from Test duties is just the ticket for the team to have even more firepower at the top of the order surrounding Short and insuring against any mishaps. The bowling has held up well despite Rashid Khan leaving, with Henry Thornton, Harry Conway and Fawad Ahmed all coming in and contributing nicely alongside stalwart Peter Siddle. Another bowler such as Daniel Worrall or Wes Agar might come in so that Matt Renshaw and Short don’t need to be relied upon as the 5th bowler.


The Hurricanes were flying high on the back of career best form from Ben McDermott and Thomas Rogers, but things are looking a little more shaky now. All of Caleb Jewell, Matthew Wade and D’Arcy Short feel like hit and miss propositions at the top of the order, although there is enough class there to hopefully rise to the big occasion. Peter Handscomb is limited in what he can do for the team, but Tim David has more than enough firepower to make up for it. The bowling unit is quite good, but has been dealt a big blow with Sandeep Lamichanne leaving to play for Nepal. Luckily, Scott Boland is ready to play after his Ashes heroics, which is crucial as the depth options in Josh Kann, Wil Parker, Mitchell Owen and Will Sanders all look a fair way off the pace at this point in their careers. Nathan Ellis being injured is the only thing stopping this from being one of the stronger bowling groups in the competition.


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Love It - Alex Carey $15,500

There’s nothing better for the Strikers than getting one of the classier short form batsmen in the country back for such a big game. Of course Carey has been in Test mode and probably focusing on his keeping more than his batting as he tried to make a good impression in the baggy green. Still, his BBL recored is very strong with a long term average of 57 points as the Strikers key man at the top of the order. That makes a mockery of this salary, so I’ll ignore his lack of preparation for this one.


Love It - Thomas Rogers $14,000

While his form has perhaps waned a little (averaging 26 in his last 5 compared to 54 for the season), Rogers is still the same bowler with the same tasty death overs role, and this is another salary that looks a little too goo to be true. With the Strikers not having the strongest lower order in the competition, this looks like another good chance for Rogers to pick up some cheap wickets late in the innings and become a strong staple in our line-ups.


Don’t Love It- Matt Renshaw $14,000

Renshaw played a beautiful innings to help bet the Sixers last time out, as well as contributing handily at the bowling crease. My concerns now are three-fold; he should drop down the order to accommodate Short, Head and Carey coming into the team, he’s likely to bowl less with Short, Head and potentially an extra bowler able to take that responsibility, and he’s not generally all that consistent and isn’t likely to back it up with another big innings. Put it all together and a salary that was very generous a few nights ago is now starting to look a bit more like a trap.


Don’t Love It- D’Arcy Short $20,600

With pricing spread out pretty evenly on this slate and plenty of good players to choose from, I’m forced to go to the top of the board for my second bit of discouragement. Short is still averaging a handy 53 points this season despite being below his best, but it’s 20 points off his career level and makes him hard to justify at this price when the likes of Head, McDermott, Carey, Wade and even the other Short are all cheaper and in better form.


Who Knows- Tim David $11,000

For a player who can be so devastating with the bat, David is often left to survive off scraps at the end of the innings. That leads to a lot of scores that don’t quite cut it in GPP land. However, a fair drop in salary and the possibility of a bit of bowling opportunity as we’ve seen at times this season does give us hope. If the Strikers strong bowling unit can get into the lower order soon enough, David could get a chance to build into an innings and become a must-have.


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