The second part of the double header in the Big Bash League on Sunday sees the top two teams battling it out when the Melbourne Stars play host to the Sydney Sixers in a clash which could go some way to determining who will top the table at the end of the regular season.
These two teams have shot clear of the chasing pack and it will be interesting to see who can maintain their intensity between now and the end of the campaign and finish on top of the pile. A Stars win would send them four points clear and looking very handy.
The Melbourne Stars did what they have been doing all season in their last outing. They weren’t overly flashy until towards the end but they kept the pressure on the Melbourne Renegades, waited for them to crack and then ploughed right through when they did so. It will be interesting to see if they wind it up at any stage between now and the postseason, or whether they are happy to leave something up their sleeve.
I think the Stars have been fantastic with the ball. There is improvement to come from them with the bat but the simple fact is that they haven’t really had to bat well because their bowlers are doing such a good job of restricting their opposition to relatively little. It would be interesting to see what they have in them if their bowling does go round the park, but they are playing so well at the minute you just don’t see that happening.
The Sydney Sixers roll into the G as the form team in the competition having won their last five matches. That is quite some run, especially when you consider that at no stage in those games have they had their first choice or strongest side out so to be winning when not at full strength is a big thing. At some point their big guns are going to return so when they do the men in pink are entitled to think they’ll be very hard to beat.
It almost goes without saying that the Sixers haven’t been completely convincing with the bat this season, but much like their opponents here they have not really had to be, because their bowling attack is doing such a good job. That is likely to continue given that they get their Test players back now so if their batting decides it wants to come to the party when we should all be looking out for this lot from here on in.
The Melbourne Stars have made a couple of changes to their squad for this match with Nathan Coulter-Nile being rested and Sam Elliott coming out of it to be replaced by Jackson Coleman and Jonathan Merlo. Adam Zampa and Peter Handscomb remain with Australia.
Sydney Sixers have their captain Moises Henriques back after his son was born last week. He comes in for Josh Hazlewood who has headed off to India with the Australia squad. There is still no Nathan Lyon for the Sixers.
I took the outsiders in the first game on Sunday and I’m going to do the same in the second game as well. I wouldn’t say I am as against the Melbourne Stars in this one as I am the Adelaide Strikers in the first game but there is little to suggest the Sydney Sixers should be this price. I wouldn’t say this match is all about getting Glenn Maxwell early but if they could do that it would go a long way to winning it.
The Sixers have a really good bowling attack and with Moises Henriques back their batting should naturally improve. These big grounds really suit the Sydney attack which is a positive for them and if they can pick up a few extra runs, on a ground which actually isn’t the highest scoring anyway, they have every chance here. The Stars resting Nathan Coulter-Nile opens up a bowler to target so there is just enough in the Sixers to sway me into a bet here.
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