- In the last eight games between the two sides Sydney Sixers have won six and two out of three this season
- Sydney Sixers’ Josh Phillippe has scored close to 150 runs in the last three games and looks in good form
- Melbourne Stars’ bowlers are in poor form and Haris Rauf is the only bowler doing well for the side
It has been another wonderful Big Bash season and we have seen several new stars born and proven performers add to their records. After 60 electrifying games played over seven weeks we are one game away from crowning the new champions.
The Sydney Sixers who had qualified for the finals winning the Qualifier would take on the Melbourne Stars who have claimed their spot winning the Challenger game. The two sides would now meet at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Ground for the title clash.
The two sides had earlier met thrice in the season. They had shared the honors in the league stage winning a game each but the Sixers triumphed in the Qualifier clash where they demolished the strong batting line-up that the Stars have. The Sixers have won the title once in the past while for the Stars had to content with finishing second on two occasions.
With the two sides having been 1 and 2 on the points table during the league stage we have the two best sides in the finals in what promises to be a clash of titans.
If there is a right time to peak in a T20 league Moises Henriques’ side has timed it to perfection. With four wins in their last four games the side is looking in the perfect frame of mind going into this big final. Their batsmen and bowlers are playing complementary roles at the moment. Having defeated the Stars in a one-sided game in the Qualifier the side will go into this game with confidence.
They will look for a good start from James Vince and Josh Phillippe and these players are in great form especially Phillippe. Steven Smith makes the middle order very strong with his form and experience. With Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk and Henriques down the order they have a complete batting line-up that can mix caution with aggression and win it for the side.
Sean Abbott looks in good form and the side will look at Josh Hazlewood to show his experience and claim early breakthroughs with the new ball. Ben Dwarshuis has also played well and with Steve O’Keefe in the mix the bowling attack looks in good form. Nathan Lyon hasn’t had the best of season but he will look to make good use of the conditions at the SCG in the next game.
Josh Philippe, James Vince and Steven Smith would be the players to watch out for the Sydney Sixers in the game.
Expected Playing XI:
Moises Henriques (c), Steve O’Keefe, Steven Smith, Josh Hazlewood, James Vince, Nathan Lyon, Sean Abbott, Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Ben Dwarshuis, Josh Philippe (wk)
It was finally an end to the poor run that Glenn Maxwell’s side has been through. After four consecutive losses the side finally won the Challenger game against the Sydney Thunder by 28 runs. Their main weapon their batting rose to the occasion to put up a big score on the board. Maxwell will look to carry that confidence in the game as they are up against a side against which they have poor record.
Marcus Stoinis is the leading run getter in the season and he will look to start the innings well along with fellow opener Nic Maddinson. Nick Larkin played well in the last game and returned to form which makes their batting strong. Glenn Maxwell has played several match winning knocks earlier in the season and shall look to do it in the game that matters the most. Peter Handscomb, Seb Gotch and Nathan Coulter-Nile down the order bring good hitting abilities to the table.
The problem area for the side has been their bowling and their bowlers have been inconsistent this season. Apart from Haris Rauf none of the other bowlers have been consistent in the season. Adam Zampa did well in the last game. But the side will need better bowling performance from the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Maxwell and Clint Hinchliffe going into the next game.
Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Haris Rauf would be the players to watch out for from the Stars’ camp in this game.
Expected Playing XI:
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
The wicket being on the slower side and making stroke playing difficult most teams have opted to bowl first at Sydney after winning the toss. With forecast for heavy rains and a rain reduced game on the cards the side chasing the score would have an advantage. Hence we expect the captain winning the toss to bowl first on this surface.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
The pitch at the SCG hasn’t been the best batting surface this season. We have seen several batsmen get out due to the two paced nature of the surface. Fast bowlers have done well with the new ball while the spinners have also got good rewards with the turn and bounce they have achieved from the surface. It is a high pressure contest and both the sides would be conservative with stroke making and hence a score in excess of 150 runs would be a good one on this surface.
The weather forecast for 8th of February isn’t encouraging as there is prediction for heavy rains and we may have no match at all. The temperature would be around the 21℃ mark at the start of the game with wind speeds of 40 kmph. 80% humidity is forecast for the day with 100% precipitation. The fans would eagerly want the weather gods to show some mercy during the game.
It is fitting to see the best two sides to play the final and both the sides are packed with good players. Sydney Sixers have won their last four games and have momentum on their side and this will give them the edge going into this game.
The Melbourne Stars definitely have the better batting line-up of the two sides and are very strong at the top. This does offer them some advantage in case of a rain reduced game where their explosive batsmen can do the trick for the side.
But Sydney Sixers are playing at home and have lost just one game here this season. They have a quality bowling line-up that is very difficult to score against. Their brilliant record also adds to their confidence and hence we believe the Sixers would start nose ahead of the Stars to win the game and bag their second Big Bash title.