Our prediction is Melbourne Stars to win the Final Match!
The 2019 Big Bash League final will be a Melbourne derby as the Renegades host the Stars at the Marvel Stadium. Both sides successfully chased down targets to win their semi-finals, the Stars seeing off the Hobart Hurricanes and the Renegades beating Sydney Sixers.
The Renegades hosted the Stars only a few matches ago, and on that occasion, it was the visitors that ran out six-wicket victors with Marcus Stoinis putting in a fine all-round performance. They also met at the MCG this season, when the Stars won again, this time by seven wickets. Over the course of the BBL, the Stars have dominated this rivalry, winning 11 matches to the Renegades’ four.
This will be the first time both the Renegades and the Stars play in a BBL final. The Stars previously lost all five of their semi-finals while the Renegades lost both of their semi-final appearances.
The Renegades quickly moved on from defeat to the Hurricanes in their final league game and might be relieved that they don’t have to face them again. They were under pressure against the Sixers in their semi-final with both the bat and ball but reacted brilliantly to get home by three wickets.
They needed their older heads to help them out and that is where Aaron Finch, Daniel Christian and Cameron White are so useful to them while another handy contribution from Sam Harper was just what they needed. One cause for concern was only taking three wickets. Against another powerful batting line-up, they will struggle if both Kane Richardson and Chris Tremain go wicketless again.
However, it would be a surprise to see them change the line-up that saw off the Sixers. White’s return at the expense of the unavailable Mohammad Nabi gives them more batting depth and they will back Richardson to get back to his best
Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch (c), Sam Harper (wk), Cameron White, Tom Cooper, Mackenzie Harvey, DanieL Christian, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, Harry Gurney.
The Melbourne Stars have swiftly put memories of failing to qualify for the semi-finals at the earliest opportunity behind them. They followed up their convincing win over Sydney Thunder by taking down the Hurricanes, who were favourites to reach the final after dominating the league phase of the competition. Daniel Worrall’s early wickets and then Glenn Maxwell’s cool head in the chase were the keys to their victory.
Worrall’s form since his return from injury has been a huge boost for the Stars and he has taken six wickets in their last two games. With him back, they have the luxury of being able to leave out Jackson Bird and play an extra batsman – against the Hurricanes, Ernest Gulbis got the nod.
With Dwayne Bravo, Maxwell and Stoinis also available to bowl, they have plenty of options, particularly in the spin department where Adam Zampa and Sandeep Lamichhane are a potent pair. Coming off that fine win against the Hurricanes, it would be a surprise to see the Stars make any changes and they should name the same team.
Ben Dunk, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb (wk), Marcus Stonis, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell (c), Seb Gotch, Dwayne Bravo, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane.
The Marvel Stadium, also known as the Docklands, has been one of the lowest scoring venues of the tournament so far. However, the runs flowed in the semi-final, leading to hopes that a bit of warm weather has settled the pitch down and made it one for batsmen to enjoy. More warm weather is on the way and there is no rain forecast for Saturday.
The Marvel Stadium has now hosted 36 completed domestic Twenty20 matches with the side batting second winning 21 of those times. The average score batting first is 155 but that has only been passed once this season- during the semi-final.
The toss could be crucial. The Stars have fielded first each time they have won the toss and as that worked for them against the Hurricanes, why would they change it here? Similarly, the Renegades have only once chosen to bat first after winning the toss so can be expected to also want to chase.
This is a rivalry in which the Stars have almost always had clear edge but the pressures of a final may neutralise some of that advantage. One thing they do have in their favour is that they bat a long way down. Even if the Renegades remove Stoinis and Peter Handscomb early, Maxwell, Bravo and others can still make them pay.
Early wickets with the new ball has to be the Renegades’ primary tactic, although they have shown that even if their bowlers have an off day – as they did against the Sixers – they also bat deep and have the experience required to get themselves over the line.
The toss will be crucial. Both sides will want to win it and field first, hoping perhaps that nerves get the better of their opponents and they will get the better of conditions when chasing. Therefore, considering which of these sides are more likely to win if they have to bat first, we give the edge to the Stars – after all, that’s exactly what they did against Sydney Thunder to reach the semi-finals.
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