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Hobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars preview: Marcus Stoinis absence looks key

Having suffered defeats in their last two matches, Hobart Hurricanes need a win over Melbourne Stars to keep themselves firmly in the hunt for a Big Bash play-off spot.

The recent loss to the previously misfiring Adelaide Strikers could prove to be especially damaging, but a clash with the rock-bottom Stars offers an ideal opportunity to put a fourth win of the season on the board.

Meanwhile, the Stars simply have to win to maintain any sort of realistic prospect of extending their season, with the Melbourne outfit having lost six of the eight matches they have played to date.

WhatHobart Hurricanes v Melbourne Stars
WhereBlundstone Arena
When19:15, Monday 9th January 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Fox Cricket
OddsHobart Hurricanes 4/6, Melbourne Stars 6/5

Hurricanes need to end recent slide

The Hurricanes have been frustratingly inconsistent this season, going LWLWLW before being beaten by the Strikers and the Melbourne Renegades in their last two matches.

The margin of those two most recent losses have to be something of a major concern, with the Hurricanes being blown away by seven and six wickets respectively.

No batter got past 28 as the Hurricanes totalled 162-8 against the Renegades, who then powered home with 11 balls to spare at Docklands Stadium.

However, there are positive signs there with the bat, with Ben McDermott having made 53, 57 and 28 in his last three knocks after enduring a slow start to the campaign.

England ace Zak Crawley has added an extra option in the middle order and his 54 not out from 28 balls in the loss to the Strikers showed what he is capable of.

Crawley, who bats at the top of the order for his country, is 15/4 to be Team - Top Batter, while a seemingly reinvigorated McDermott can be backed at 3/1 in the same market.

With the ball, the Hurricanes lack a truly world-class performer, however left-arm wrist spinner Patrick Dooley continues to impress, having taken 12 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.36.

Paceman Riley Meredith is just one wicket behind Dooley, but his have come at a touch over nine runs an over, with the Australia T20 international having gone for more than ten runs an over in his last two outings.

Dooley is 3/1 to be Team - Top Bowler, while Pakistan seamer Faheem Ashraf is available at 10/3, with the latter needing to improve on his current form.

Ashraf was blasted for 61 runs from 3.3 overs in the high-scoring defeat to the Strikers, before tightening up a little as his three overs cost 24 in the loss to the Renegades.

Stars are failing to sparkle

The Stars have endured a campaign to forget so far and will have to cope without New Zealand left-arm quick Trent Boult from hereon in.

In truth Boult had been adequate but nothing more in his eight outings for the Stars and similar can be said of Australia internationals Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa.

The pick of the bowlers for the Stars has been Englishman Luke Wood, who has taken 14 wickets across the eight matches he has played, although an economy rate of 8.84 is far from ideal.

The 28-year-old left-arm seamer has shown signs of slowing down in recent matches, having opened up with eight wickets in his first three matches of the season - including 3-25 in the 38-run win over the Hurricanes in Melbourne in mid-December.

Despite that apparent slight dip in performance, Wood is 12/5 to be Team - Top Bowler on Monday, with leg-spinner and skipper Zampa rated an 11/4 chance.

With the bat, the Stars have an additional problem for this fixture, with all-rounder Marcus Stoinis ruled out by a hamstring strain.

Stoinis made a very poor start to the season, before springing into form with 74 against the Strikers and 52 last time out against the Sixers, so his absence is a major blow.

With Stoinis sidelined, even more responsibility falls on the shoulders of Joe Clarke, with the English right-hander topping the Stars' runscoring charts with 244 at a strike-rate of 129.78.

Clarke excelled in the first meeting of these two sides this season, making an unbeaten 101 from 66 deliveries as the Stars registered a comfortable victory on home turf.

At 10/3 to be Team - Top Batter for Monday, Clarke may well need to be in peak form if his side are to avoid another reverse.

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