The end of Matthew Wade and D’Arcy Short’s long-tenured opening partnership has given rise to Ben McDermott’s purple patch for Hobart.
His match-winning and unbeaten century (110 off 60 balls) led the Hurricanes to a seven-wicket victory against the Strikers on Monday night.
McDermott has now top-scored for the Hurricanes in three of his four games, with his two biggest innings coming after being promoted to the top order in place of Short.
“It is challenging,” McDermott said on opening the batting.
“I’m really enjoying it, I feel like I’m hitting the ball really nicely.
“Whenever you get the team over the line and finish not out at the end of the innings it’s a pretty special feeling, you can’t really beat it.”
But on whether he prefers opening or batting at number three, McDermott is a team player.
“I just bat wherever I’m told,” he said.
“I’ve rolled out for this team anywhere from one to six, I’ll bat anywhere.”
McDermott also said that the team’s “tracking in the right direction” after winning two games in a row, following a tough start to the season against the Scorchers and Sixers.
It’s a stark contrast for a team that’s traditionally lived and died by Wade and Short’s ability to fire at the top of the order, with the partnership now broken up after Short’s slow form.
The Hurricanes’ best season in club history came in BBL|08 when the duo was available for the entire tournament.
When Wade was with the Test team for the last two years, Hobart was a middle-of-the-road team that relied on his eventual return.
But by going away from what had been their greatest strength, the Hurricanes have generated a wave of momentum through McDermott.
An issue that did rear its head again for Hobart was its bowling problems, with Matt Renshaw and Jake Weatherald piling on a damaging 118-run partnership.
Joel Paris (groin injury) and Scott Boland (The Ashes) are both out, meaning the team’s depth has been tested.
When Jordan Thompson was given the ball in the 11th over, he was the seventh bowler the Hurricanes had used during the game.
But star duo Riley Meredith (3-37) and Nathan Ellis (1-31) redeemed themselves in the latter half of the innings after expensive starts, reducing what once looked like a 200 plus score to 175 runs.
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Adelaide batting a cause for concern as they look to resort to youth
It’s no secret that batting has been a major cause of concern at the Adelaide Strikers this season, with consistency being the leading issue to this point.
Adelaide was dealt a major blow at the beginning of the season, after Tim Paine’s absence meant wicket-keeper Alex Carey was called up for international duties, along with captain Travis Head.
With the Strikers having already given up two of their three international spots to bowlers Rashid Khan and all-rounder George Garton, it became apparent that their batting was a lot weaker than what they would have thought a few short weeks prior to the competition kicking off.
Unfortunately, unavailability woes struck again with Matthew Renshaw called into the Australia A squad for the opening games of the tournament.
The Strikers batting, which now suddenly was down three key players, was relying on experienced players such as Jake Weatherald and Jono Wells to steer the ship, something which hadn’t really been asked of them before, particularly Weatherald.
Weatherald’s start to the season hasn’t been what he’d hoped for with no score above 20 until his half-century on Monday night.
For Adelaide fans, it was good to see him back at his best, and they will need more of it from both him and the rest of the batting line-up to have any chance at climbing back up the ladder.
This was also mentioned by Strikers captain Peter Siddle post-match.
“The batting order have had some fantastic contributions throughout the year, but I feel it is now about doing it consecutively,” he said.
Thankfully, for Adelaide fans, there have been positives to come out of this season’s batting woes, with the side looking to turn towards youth with youngster Tom Kelly reaping the rewards.
Kelly was brought into the side in the third game of the season and hasn’t looked back since with a lot of brilliant knocks throughout the tournament so far.
This included a knock of 41 getting his side into a commanding position in that game.
The Strikers also saw Daniel Drew have an impact in the opening couple of matches, with Henry Hunt also knocking on the door of selection, after being included in the Strikers squad as of late.
While it’s no doubt Adelaide’s batting needs some work as well as consistency to get them back into form and winning games, there are some positive signs to look around for the fans of Adelaide which will only make them stronger when players of Carey & Head’s status return to the Big Bash.
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