Faulkner returns for Canes semi-final
Allrounder James Faulkner's late season rest pays off with key player fit to return for semi-final showdown with Melbourne Stars
13 February 2019, 01:50 PM AEST
Allrounder James Faulkner has returned to the Hobart Hurricanes side for their knockout KFC BBL semi-final against the Melbourne Stars tomorrow night.
The 28-year-old was rested from the past two games due to a minor knee problem and returns in place of Tom Rogers.
Faulkner's comeback leaves Hobart selectors with a dilemma as to who to leave out of the XI to face the Stars.
Paceman David Moody could be the unlucky bowler to miss out, although tearaway Riley Meredith has been well below his best recently after making a strong start to the season. The right-armer played the opening day of Tasmania's Future's League match in Canberra on Monday in order to rediscover his rhythm after he was hammered for more than 12.5 an over in his past four BBL matches.
Meredith bowled five maidens with the red ball from 13 wicketless overs on Monday, conceding 32 runs at an economy of 2.46 an over.
Spinner Clive Rose could also be under pressure after bowling a total of just four overs in Hobart's past two games, with Afghan recruit Qais Ahmad and left-armer D'Arcy Short both bowling their full complement of overs in those matches.
"(I) wouldn't be surprised if he fronts up on Thursday and takes 3-20 and is a match-winner," Faulkner said of Meredith's recent form.
"We're good as a group, and we're good as a bowling line-up, so we'll be fine."
Having battled a chronic knee problem in recent years, it was Faulkner's "good leg" that had caused him some problems in the past fortnight.
But the World Cup-winner says he's fit to play this week after visiting medicos in Melbourne.
"I've had few issues with my good leg, the so-called good leg," he said.
"And I've seen medical staff over in Melbourne and I'm good to go. Once I step over the line, it is business as usual."
The Stars are expected to field the same XI from their win over the Sixers on Sunday, although they've made a change to their squad, with Nick Larkin replacing fast bowler Jackson Coleman.
In the same Future's League match that Meredith played in this week, Larkin struck a century, hitting 102 from 192 balls with 10 fours and a six opening for ACT/NSW as they piled up 419.
Hobart Hurricanes: Matthew Wade (c), Qais Ahmad, Jofra Archer, George Bailey, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Caleb Jewell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Simon Milenko, David Moody, Clive Rose, D'Arcy Short
Melbourne Stars: Glenn Maxwell (c), Jackson Bird, Dwayne Bravo, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Dan Worrall, Adam Zampa.