Hobart-H and Melbourne-R will face each other after a two-day break in Australia T20 League 2020-21. Finch’s Melbourne faced a humiliation against the defending champions, while Hobart lost to Adelaide after securing two back-to-back wins.
Match Timings: Dec 19, 1:45 PM
Melbourne-R made a good start to the season, but all the smiles faded away in Bellerive Oval when they suffered the biggest defeat in the history of the tournament. Finch’s troops were outperformed in all departments against Sydney-S. First, they conceded 205 with a poor bowling-show and then bowled out on just 60, the second-lowest score in the tournament history. It was utterly a turnaround for the 2018-19 tournament winner after a one-sided 7-wickets victory in season-opner. Melbourne-R bowled out Perth on 130 and chased down the target with 21 balls spare. Shaun Marsh scored 62 off just 47 balls and the pace duo Lalor and Richardson scalped 3-wickets each.
The previous game's defeat has given a big scare to Melbourne-S, and the poor show with the bat questions its attitude. Finch can try changes in the squad, but they need to form confidence between the current players. James Pattinson and Marcus Harris both haven’t been included in playing XI for the first Test, so we might expect to see both players in Melbourne-R.
Finch would take this match as the comeback game. After a bottom finish in 2019-20, Melbourne-R would avoid giving a woeful start to this new season. The opening slot would be crucial, and Marsh-Finch had a great start in the first game. Finch is in good form, starting with the white-ball series against India, and Shaun Marsh also scored a fine half-century against Perth. Until the spin attack joins the squad, Melbourne would aim to get vital points.
Meanwhile, Hobart also lost its previous encounter against Adelaide, but they had taken seven points from the first two matches. They defeated Sydney-S in the opening fixture, pulling off a great comeback, and in the second game, they edged past Adelaide-S in Bellerive. In the previous game, Adelaide took revenge for this defeat and had a laugh in Launceston by 5 wickets. McDermott and Colin Ingram were in good touch, but Hobart couldn’t get the support in middle-overs. Despite picking two early wickets, Hobart failed to maintain the pressure in middle-overs, and Adelaide crossed the line with half-centuries from Weatherald and Alex Carey.
Hobart look like a balanced side this season. Tim David has provided good depth in the finishing end with scoring 103 runs from the first three with a strike rate of 168.85. Colin Ingram showed a good sign at the starting of the season, and Ben McDermott also got runs in the previous game. D Arcy Short needs to retain the consistency at the top. James Faulkner’s improvement caught all the attention. The left-arm pacer has scalped 7 wickets at an average of 11.14. Johan Botha’s experience will be significant in the absence of Sandeep Lamichhane, and he had bowled exceptionally well. Dawid Malan is serving the quarantine period, and Hobart can replace him with Will Jacks, but it will be decided as per the bubble rule.
Bellerive Oval’s surface is a decent T20 track, and in the first week, we saw some different results. Sydney got 200 plus, and Melbourne-R bowled out on just 60. Batsmen just need to showcase a sensible approach to bat. Spin can trouble, but the new ball will be crucial.
Aaron Finch (c), Shaun Marsh, Sam Harper (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Beau Webster, Benny Howell, Kane Richardson, Josh Lalor, Peter Hatzoglou, Jon Holland
D Arcy Short, Will Jacks, Colin Ingram, Ben McDermott (wk), Peter Handscomb (c), Macalister Wright, Tim David, James Faulkner, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith, Johan Botha
AUS T20 League (last season) – M: 9, Runs: 363, SR: 153.99
White-ball series vs. India – M: 5, Runs: 284, Avg: 56.8
AUS T20 League (last season) – M: 12, Runs: 449, Avg: 37.41
This season – 62 (47), 13 (17)
AUS T20 League 2020-21 – M: 3, Runs: 126, Avg: 42
Previous match – 46 (35)
AUS T20 League 2020-21 – M: 3, Wickets: 7, Avg: 11.14
Previous match – 4-0-35-2