Rampant Melbourne Stars look likely to extend the gap with the rest of the competition!
Melbourne Stars to win the match!
It doesn’t look like any team can stop the Melbourne Stars at this moment and the visitors will hope to maintain the same threat when they take on Sydney Sixers at the SCG on Monday. Although Sixers are just one spot behind table-toppers Melbourne Stars, there is a massive seven points difference that separates the two teams.
Stars registered their eighth consecutive victory against Perth Scorchers in their last fixture. After choosing to bat first, Stars were arguably not at their best with only a scratchy fifty from Hilton Cartwright helping the team to post a respectable 141-6. The bowling attack led by Sandeep Lamichhane and Nic Maddinson strangled the opposition batters to help Stars register a 10-run win.
Unlike Stars, Sydney Sixers endured a forgettable outing against Sydney Thunder on Saturday. Unbelievably, the Sixers were reduced to 26-6 after being asked to bat first. It was only Justin Avendano's 28 and Ben Dwarshuis' 19 that helped Sixers avoid embarrassment to post 76. With rain intervening when Sydney Thunder were 28/2 after 5.3 overs, the hosts won by a margin of four runs according to the DLS method.
Like Melbourne Stars, Sydney Sixers don’t quite have a prolific scorer with Josh Philippe and Daniel Hughes being inconsistent to only score 278 and 231 runs respectively. The others including skipper Moises Henriques, James Vince, and Jordan Silk simply haven’t stepped up to the plate.
Although Sixers have been better with the ball, even those wickets have come at an expensive rate. Leading wicket-taker Tom Curran has leaked runs at more than 9.73 per over while Ben Dwarshuis has also given more than 8 runs per over. The shining light has perhaps been Lloyd Pope who has exhibited superb control to pick up ten scalps in eight matches. New ball bowler Jackson Bird has also stepped up in the absence of the injured Sean Abbott.
Josh Philippe (WK), Daniel Hughes, James Vince, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Justin Avendano, Tom Curran, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Steve O'Keefe/Lloyd Pope
Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon, B Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird, Justin Avendano, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Tom Curran, James Vince, Josh Philippe, Daniel Hughes
Opening batsman Marcus Stoinis will remain Melbourne Stars' biggest match-winner with the kind of form he is in. So far, Stoinis has scored 523 runs in just 11 matches with his incredible 147-run knock playing a massive role in the team's win over Sydney Sixers in the return match.
Skipper Glenn Maxwell has also had a fruitful all-round tournament with 341 runs to go along with six scalps.
With Haris Rauf being called up for national duty, Stars' bowling attack took a hit but coach David Bussey and skipper Maxwell will hope that the likes of Daniel Worrall and Nathan Coulter-Nile can step up to help the wicket-taking threat that Nepali leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane provides.
Hilton Cartwright, Marcus Stoinis, Nic Maddinson, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (C), Seb Gotch (WK), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Daniel Worrall, Lance Morris, Sandeep Lamichhane
Hilton Cartwright, Jonathan Merlo, Clint Hinchliffe, Lance Morris, Sebastian Gotch, Nic Maddinson, N Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, D Worrall, Sandeep Lamichhane
As usual, the Sydney Cricket Ground will be a very good venue for batting with the team batting first needing at least 160 to be safe. Meanwhile, the spinners should also have a big say with the SCG being one of the most spin-friendly grounds in Australia. Incidentally, Lloyd Pope took a three-wicket haul in the first Sydney derby of the season. On match-day is expected to be humid with a shower or two expected during the afternoon hours.
One of the Top four cricket stadiums in Australia and one that regularly gets a Test match, the Sydney Cricket Ground hosts the Sixers in the Big Bash League. This fixture against Melbourne Stars will be the fifth match at this venue this season. So far, the average first innings score has been 163.
Given that rain has been predicted for Monday, chasing becomes the only possible option for either captain. Sydney Sixers would also do well to how they chased down Perth Scorchers’ total in the first game of the season at this ground or even the Sydney derby where Sixers won the match via the super over method after being asked to bowl first.
Melbourne Stars have no weaknesses as such even after Haris Rauf left the team for the international series against Bangladesh. The batting line-up led by Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell looks in fine form to set up a good total for the likes of Sandeep Lamichhane and Nathan Coulter-Nile to defend. So, unless someone like Josh Phillipe or Moises Henriques comes up with a special knock, it is hard to see Sydney Sixers going past Melbourne Stars.
Melbourne Stars to win the match!