The Melbourne Stars were the team to beat in the round-robin stage of the 2019-20 BBL. The team, led by Glenn Maxwell, had won eight matches on the trot, and looked near-invincible. However, after they were assured of a top-spot in the points table, the Stars lost three matches on the trot. They will now be locking horns with the Sydney Sixers in the Qualifier on Saturday at the iconic MCG.
In their last meeting at the same venue, Marcus Stoinis notched the highest-ever BBL score. But the Sixers avenged the loss at the SCG. The Sixers, on the other hand, are on a three-match winning streak and managed to finish second on the table. The triumphs also ensured that they play the Qualifier. Ahead of the next game, the Stars have a 4-2 lead over the Sixers while playing at the MCG.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at the MCG has been fairly good for batting. Even as the 200-run mark has been breached once, scores around 145 have been the norm. The last three games went in favour of the team, batting first and hence teams may avoid chasing. There are no chances of rain during game time, though it will be cloudy. The temperature will mostly be around the 34 degrees Celsius mark.
Haris Rauf has returned to the Stars in place of Sandeep Lamichhane. Rauf is the leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa has 13 wickets in nine matches. Daniel Worrall is likely to replace Dilbar Hussain in the eleven. Marcus Stoinis will be key having scored 607 runs at an average of 60.70. Glenn Maxwell may promote himself up the order if the situation demands.
Marcus Stoinis, Seb Gotch (wk), Nick Larkin, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell (C), Nic Maddinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchcliffe, Adam Zampa, Haris Rauf, Daniel Worrall
Sean Abbott has returned from injury and has replaced all-rounder Tom Curran, who has left for national duties. In Curran’s absence, Ben Dwarshuis and Abbott have to step up. A lot will depend on Josh Phillipe and James Vince at the top of the order. The likes of Henriques and Steve Smith hold the key in the middle order. Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon’s role will also be important.
Josh Phillippe (wk), James Vince, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques (C), Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Steve O’Keefe
Probable Top Performers
Marcus Stoinis – Melbourne Stars |Josh Phillippe– Sydney Sixers
TV– Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD
Online– Sony LIV
Match Timings – 01:45 PM IST; 07:15 PM local time
The prediction is for the team, batting first to win the match.
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