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Hobart Hurricanes skipper Matthew Wade has put a target on explosive Sydney Thunder opener Alex Hales ahead of their do-or-die BBL finals encounter.
The in-form Hobart host Sydney at Bellerive Oval on Thursday night, with both sides bristling with top-order firepower.
The Hurricanes beat the Thunder at the same ground by 57 runs last week, though Hales emphasised his threat during an unsuccessful chase with 63 from 42 balls.
“He’s hitting the ball long and out of the park,” Wade said of the tournament’s equal second-highest run scorer.
“If we can take of business early and get him, I feel we can get right into them.”
The victors will travel to Adelaide to play the Strikers on Saturday in another elimination playoff, while the loser’s season is over.
Three straight wins and a host of favourable results catapulted the Hurricanes to fourth spot on the table and into an unlikely home final.
It’s a different feel from this time last summer, when the men in purple finished runaway ladder leaders only to be knocked out in the first semi-final. Coach Adam Griffith said confidence was high in the camp after the returns of D’Arcy Short (international duties) and James Faulkner (injury).
Hurricanes: Matthew Wade (c), Qais Ahmad, George Bailey, Scott Boland, Jake Doran, Nathan Ellis, James Faulkner, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Tom Rogers, Clive Rose, D’Arcy Short, Mac Wright
Thunder: Callum Ferguson (c), Jonathan Cook, Oliver Davies, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Jay Lenton, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Tanveer Sangha, Chris Tremain