They joke in the football that a World Cup is a tournament played out over several weeks … and then the Germans win. In Australia’s Big Bash, the country’s domestic T20 franchise tournament, it could be said that over two months eight teams vie for superiority … and then Perth win.
And when the Perth Scorchers won their first four matches this season, they looked a sound bet to retain their title – their fourth in seven seasons. But, curiously, Perth have been consistently underrated by BMR’s green-listed bookmakers this season.
Time and time again they have gone off in matches as outsiders, despite having the best win-loss ratio, economy rates and bowling average of any team. Indeed, their win percentage is still the best in the world. In any league. It is no exaggeration to call Perth the best T20 team ever.
Before their game against Sydney Thunder on Thursday, +300 (Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral) was available about them winning the trophy. Fair enough, you might say. That’s the sort of price you would expect for jollies. But they are not favourites. Melbourne Renegades are +250 with William Hill.
Renegades are going well this term. But they have only once made the semi-finals and they were beaten by Perth last time out in a monumental clash. They are third in the table with one win fewer than Perth in six games.
Top of the tree are Adelaide Strikers, who are mounting a serious challenge to Perth as bowling kings. It would be much fairer if they were at the head of affairs, but the same layers can’t split them and Perth. Although it is strange to see Renegades so well-backed, it does still open opportunities for punters. Arguably both Strikers and Scorchers are good wagers even at this late stage.
But the real value could be the Hobart Hurricanes, who have blown up the table in the last few days displaying all the attributes you want in a T20 winner. Their batting is on fire and their bowling is being led by the irrepressible Jofra Archer, who is terrifyingly quick and accurate.
You can get +650 (Ladbrokes and Coral) about the Canes winning their first-ever title, and considering they kept Brisbane Heat’s strong batting down on a very good batting wicket (plus a toss bias for the chaser) in their last outing there are far worse bets. They have now won four in a row. That sort of momentum is not to be sniffed at.
What we like about them is their all-around game. We do worry about the batting of Strikers and Scorchers for example even if their bowlers consistently do all the hard work. The Hurricanes have both units performing and D’Arcy Short, the opener, is the top run-scorer in the tournament.
Hurricanes will be praying that he is not selected for Australia as a late replacement for the injured Chris Lynn for the ODI series against England. We’ll be doing likewise.