- Melbourne Stars have won both the games this season against Sydney Thunder and they are playing at home
- Melbourne Stars’ opener Marcus Stoinis has been the highest run getter in the tournament and is in great form
- Sydney Thunder batting is over dependent on Alex Hales and other batsmen haven’t been consistent this season
We are in the final leg of the Big Bash League 2019-20. Sydney Sixers have already qualified for the finals and the next Challenger game would see the Melbourne Stars take on the Sydney Thunder at the MCG. The winner of this game would play the big final against the Sixers at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The two sides are coming into this game with contrasting forms. While the Sydney Thunder have won their last three games the Stars have had to face defeat in their last four encounters.
In the league stage of the series the Melbourne Stars had won both the games against the Sydney Thunder. This is likely to make them confident along with the fact that they will be playing this game at home with the large crowd supporting them.
Thunder on the other hand has been in sublime form in the last few games. The stakes are high in this do-or-die encounter and we expect it to be a great encounter.
The side’s recent form has come as a shock both to skipper Maxwell as well as their fans. They had looked unbeatable for most of the tournament and have suddenly lost their last four games. Getting bowled out for less than 100 runs in the Qualifier game against Sydney Sixers must have hurt their confidence. Maxwell will need to inspire his men to come out of these defeats and win it in front of their home crowd.
They will need a good show from Marcus Stoinis and Nic Maddinon at the top. The former being the leading run scorer of the season needs to play a good knock here. Nick Larkin and Peter Handscomb will need to steer through the middle overs and lay the perfect platform for the finishers. Maxwell, Seb Gotch, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Clint Hinchliffe with their hitting abilities will look to do well in the next game.
Their bowling attack has had mixed bag of performances in the last few games and shall need to do well in the next one. Daniel Worrall and Haris Rauf will need to get the side early breakthroughs. Adam Zampa did well in the last game and would be confident going into this one. The likes of Maxwell, Coulter-Nile and Hinchliffe will have to bowl tighter lines as they have gone for few extra runs in the last couple of games.
Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa would be the three players who are likely to define the side’s performance in the next game.
Predicted Playing 11:
Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Adam Zampa, Daniel Worrall, Marcus Stoinis, Nick Larkin, Seb Gotch (wk), Clint Hinchliffe, Haris Rauf
Callum Ferguson’s side has displayed good form in the last few games and won the last one against Adelaide Strikers by 8 runs. As they take on the Stars in the Challenger the side will be in a positive frame of mind. Ferguson would look to exploit the poor form that the Stars are going through at the moment. Having lost twice earlier in the season to the same side the skipper would be looking to win the game that matters the most.
The side will need a good start from Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja. Hales has been winning games for the side and he will have to get them off to a good start in the game. Ferguson will need to build partnerships in the middle order with the likes of Alex Ross and Arjun Nair. In Chris Morris, Daniel Sams and Jay Lenton the side has good finishers down the order. They will need a good approach as the Stars have a good bowling attack.
In the bowling front Daniel Sams has been the leading wicket taker in the season and he will have to pick wickets with the new ball for the side to win. Jonathan Cook and Arjun Nair have also done well in the last couple of games and make the bowling attack strong. The side will need good show from Chris Morris and Chris Tremain in the game.
Daniel Sams, Alex Hales and Callum Ferguson have been the three performers for the side and they will be the players to watch out for in the game
Predicted Playing 11:
Callum Ferguson (c), Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Daniel Sams, Jay Lenton (wk), Chris Tremain, Jonathan Cook, Brendan Doggett
It has been a wicket where most teams have won the game batting first but surprisingly the sides have opted to bowl winning the toss. With the conditions expected to be slightly cloudy during the game we expect the side winning the toss to invite the opposition to bat first in the game.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS:
The pitch at the MCG has so far been on the slower side. The odd ball has stopped on the batsmen and has made stroke making difficult. Batsmen have to be watchful on this surface. Fast bowlers have done well with the new ball and spinners have also got their rewards. A score of around 160 runs would be a fighting total on this surface.
It will be a pleasant day at Melbourne on 6th of February but the conditions would be slightly overcast. The temperature would be around the 25℃ mark at the start of the game with heavy winds. 62% humidity and 10% precipitation is forecast for the day
The form of the two sides has been contrasting in the build up to this game. Thunder has won its last three games while the Stars have lost their last four. But the Melbourne Stars have a better batting line-up and this will give them slight edge going into this game.
Sydney Thunder would be riding on their form they are in at the moment and hence they can’t be counted out of the game. It will be a game of nerves and the Thunder definitely has momentum on its side.
In the league stage both the games between the two sides was won by the Melbourne Stars and this is likely to give them the psychological edge as they play the next game. They are playing in home conditions and with the large crowd cheering for them it will be a big advantage for the side. This will make them favourites in this game.