Our prediction is Adelaide Strikers to win.
Match 27 of the Big Bash League is a day/night clash between two sides who are well placed in the table as we move to the halfway stage of the round robin matches. These two sides meet twice in the space of two weeks with Adelaide hosting this first game.
When the Strikers hosted the Stars at the Oval last season, they ran out winners by eight wickets, making light work of a target of 152. Runs from Alex Carey and Travis Head got them home. Over the history of the BBL, this contest has been relatively even – the Stars lead the head-to-head 4-3 but the Strikers have won three of the last four and have only lost to the Stars once at home.
Several players are absent and are on duty with Australia which does rob this fixture of some star quality. However, it allows the likes of others – such as Stars batsman Nick Larkin – the chance to further enhance their reputations.
After beating Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Renegades, the Strikers lost last time out against Sydney Sixers despite Jake Weatherald’s second straight half-century. His return to form is vital for the Strikers because Carey will miss the next two matches while on duty with Australia.
Also missing will be Billy Stanlake and Peter Siddle, meaning they will have to make changes to their side. With Head not part of Australia’s plans, he will come back into the side and lead the team for the first time this season. Harry Nielsen should take over the gloves from Carey with Matt Short’s position in the middle order under threat.
Siddle has made only fleeting appearances in the BBL this season but Stanlake will be a bigger miss. Ben Laughlin could return having missed the defeat to the Sixers with any one of Michael Cormack, Wes Agar, Nick Winter or David Grant an option to come into the side.
Colin Ingram, Jake Weatherald, Travis Head (c), Jonathan Wells, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen (wk), Cameron Valente, Rashid Khan, Ben Laughlin, Liam O’Connor, Wes Agar.
The Stars started their campaign slowly with three straight defeats but bounced back strongly with wins against both Sydney sides and they triumphed in the Melbourne derby by seven wickets. Then, against Perth Scorchers, they were beaten by six wickets with 14 balls remaining.
The Stars are the side worst hit by international call-ups. Without their regular captain and vice-captain in Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson has taken the reins. Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa are also away, and Sandeep Lamichhane has swapped the BBL for the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League). With Nic Maddinson only just back from a broken arm, their squad is being tested to its limits.
At least in Dwayne Bravo and Liam Plunkett, Lamichhane’s replacement, they have plenty of experience to call on, which they will need. They would probably like to field another spinner but simply do not have the option to do so. Expect Maddinson to have to work hard to rotate his bowlers.
Evan Gulbis, Ben Dunk, Nic Maddinson (c), Seb Gotch (wk), Nick Larkin, Dwayne Bravo, Jonathan Merlo, Liam Plunkett, Scott Boland, Michael Beer, Liam Bowe
It is set to be warm, cloudy and dry all week in Adelaide, conditions which could dry out the pitch a little and offer spinners more assistance. No rain is forecast which is good news considering the impact the weather has had on some recent matches in the country.
The Adelaide Oval, one of Australia’s most well-known and picturesque grounds, has hosted 36 domestic Twenty20 matches, with the side batting first winning 21 against 15 for the side chasing. The average score batting first is 164 and this season that has jumped to 166 – no side has failed to reach 150 here. It traditionally offers support for spin bowlers without being a slow pitch that inhibits free scoring.
The side batting second here has won two out of three matches this season, but the Strikers have won the toss three times and chosen to bat first twice – including once at home. The Stars, meanwhile, have won the toss three times and chosen to bat second so expect them to choose to chase if they can.
The Strikers will not have taken well to being beaten at home last time out, particularly as they have a good record at the Adelaide Oval, winning 18 and losing 15 BBL matches. However, they can take much encouragement from the form of Weatherald and Jonathan Wells at the top of the order. More of the same from them and they are back on track. The Stars will struggle without four key players, just as they did against the Scorchers. Maddinson is only just back from injury and they are short of a spin option or two. We think this plays into the home side’s favour and are tipping the Strikers for victory.
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