December 20: Hobart Hurricanes v Sydney Sixers in Alice Springs
Our XI: D’Arcy Short, Josh Philippe, Daniel Hughes, Ben McDermott, James Vince, David Miller, Moises Henriques, James Faulkner, Riley Meredith, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates
Captain: Josh Philippe
A free-flowing Philippe showed off his array of strokes in the first game with an explosive 81. We are backing him to get us points again. Being an opening batsman and a wicketkeeper has its benefits, and with spinner Steve O’Keefe opening the bowling, there could be a few dismissals for him too.
Vice-captain: D’Arcy Short
Leading run-scorer last season, Short could easily be your captain, but without his opening partner Matthew Wade, let’s wait until a few games to see how he copes. But, you can’t ignore him as the vice-captain – he can be box-office stuff.
Sixers’ most reliable and in-form middle-order batsman should not be left out of your XI. With wickets on offer, Henriques – he hasn’t been bowling much of late, though – offers a power-packed package.
Faulkner will be Hurricanes’ strike bowler in the absence of Jofra Archer. He’s not in great touch – wicketless in his last four List A games – but being their joint-highest wicket-taker with Archer last season and with his power hitting, he has the extra edge.
McDermott, an opener for Tasmania in List A cricket, could very well open the batting with Short for the Hurricanes. That makes him unmissable in a team that has a huge gap left by Wade’s absence at the top of the order. He comes into the game on the back of an 89 in his last first-class game.
With an unsettled Hurricanes bowling unit, Sixers will count on Hughes at the top. He showed promise in the first game, but Chris Jordan cleaned him up quickly enough. Among the batsmen from this game, the Sixers’ leading run-getter last season will want to get the show on the road.
Meredith is a rising star who has caught the eye of many in Australia. He’s coming into the season with five-fors and three-fors all around in the domestic circuit. Only two wickets behind Archer last season, he will lead the attack with Faulkner, so ignore him at your own risk.
Point to note
Not much is known about the track in Alice Springs, so best to stick to the proven fantasy mantra: pick more batsmen and a bowler who can bat.