High-flying Melbourne Stars seek to continue with their winning momentum against Sydney Thunder!
Melbourne Stars to win the match!
Table-toppers Melbourne Stars will be gunning to continue their stretch of form when they face Sydney Thunder at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday. With five wins from six matches, Melbourne Stars have been on top of their game from the very beginning of the season.
In their most recent match, Stars squared off Renegades in the Melbourne derby. After choosing to bowl first, a masterful display from the spin-twins Sandeep Lamichhane Adam Zampa ensured that Renegades could only muster up 142-9. Even though Nic Maddinson and Ben Dunk fell after starts, Marcus Stoinis along with Glenn Maxwell played responsibly to help their team reach home with seven balls to spare.
Meanwhile, Sydney Thunder found themselves on the wrong side of a rain-curtailed match against Brisbane Heat which saw both sides only getting very few overs to bat. The rain delay was so long that Brisbane Heat only getting eight overs to play. From the very first ball, Thunder's bowlers were taken to the cleaners by the dangerous opening duo of Tom Banton and Chris Lynn.
The Englishman Banton was especially unstoppable as seen in the over bowled by Arjun Nair when he hit the off-spinner for five sixes in a row. Chasing a daunting 120 off 8 overs, Thunder never managed to get going with the team also guilty of not getting their batting order right for a big chase. Brisbane Heat, on their part, also bowled well to ensure Alex Hales didn’t get the majority of the strike with him only getting to face nine balls. Rain once again interrupted after 2.1 overs and this meant that Thunder had to achieve a revised target of 77 from 5 overs. In the end, Thunder only managed to score 60 and thereby going onto lose the match by 16 runs on D/L method.
It is pretty easy to find out that Melbourne Stars are a bowling heavy team. It has either been Haris Rauf roughing up the opposition Batsmen or the spin twins Adam Zampa and Sandeep Lamichhane foxing everyone with their variations. With the trio combining for a mammoth 25 wickets, Melbourne Stars won most of their games comfortably. In terms of their batting, star players Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell have been exemplary so far.
While Stoinis has been amazing with his consistency to score 281 runs in six matches, Maxwell has typically entertained fans with his 169 runs coming at a strike rate of 167. While everything has looked plain-sailing so far, Stars would still want more contributions from the likes of Peter Handscomb and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Meanwhile, there could be a change in the playing XI with Dale Steyn leading the team and this could result in Haris Rauf's comeback.
Marcus Stoinis, Nic Maddinson, Ben Dunk, Glenn Maxwell (C), Nick Larkin, Peter Handscomb (WK), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Daniel Worrall, Haris Rauf Sandeep Lamichhane.
Hilton Cartwright, Haris Rauf, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, N Larkin, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa, D Worrall, Sandeep Lamichhane
While it was easy to find Melbourne Stars' strength, it’s not as simple to analyze Sydney Thunder's problems so far that it has resulted in them losing three matches. One issue could be the fact that unlike Melbourne Stars, Sydney Thunder doesn’t quite have an X-factor bowler who could pick wickets at any juncture. Yes, Daniel Sams and Chris Morris have combined for a healthy 22 scalps but those wickets have also come at a high economy rate.
This means that Sams and Morris can’t quite win a game on their own when there is no scoreboard pressure for the opponent team. The supporting cast for the duo has also been weak with the likes of Arjun Nair, Brendan Doggett and Chris Tremain not impressing one bit.
However, there are very few problems with their batting line-up as Callum Ferguson and Usman Khawaja have led the way with 253 and 179 runs respectively. While not having the consistency as the above-mentioned duo, Alex Ross and Alex Hales have also provided good support until now. But yet again, the depth in the batting could be an issue as Chris Morris and Daniel Sams haven’t been able to add value during the death overs.
Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (C), Matthew Gilkes (WK), Alex Ross, Daniel Sams, Chris Morris, Chris Green, Arjun Nair/Liam Bowe, Gurinder Sandhu/Chris Tremain, Nathan McAndrew.
Alex Hales, CP Tremain, Daniel Sams, Jonathan Cook, Arjun Nair, Chris Morris, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Gilkes, Callum Ferguson, Nathan John McAndrew, Alex Ross
In the Melbourne derby match, the track was on the slower side with Adam Zampa and Sandeep Lamichhane relishing the kind of purchase they received from the surface. The pitch isn’t expected to change a match with batsmen still needed to only take calculated risks. In terms of the weather forecast, the day is expected to be partly cloudy although there is only a 20% chance for rain.
Not a lot needs to be said about this venue given its iconic status. The world's biggest stadium hosts the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League with the upcoming fixture against Sydney Thunder being the second match of the season at this venue. Last season, Stars won three out of their five matches at the MCG.
This is a pretty tricky decision but we would expect the captains to prefer batting first on this venue. By doing so, the spinners could also come into the game in the second half of the match with both the pitch and also the dimensions of the ground in their favour.
It’s a pretty straight-forward choice for us to go with the in-form Melbourne Stars. Their bowling attack is too good and they will look to limit the experienced Sydney Thunder batsmen to a target around 150-160. If that happens, Stars will be pretty confident that the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nick Larkin and co could chase the target pretty easily.
Melbourne Stars to win the match!