The final match of the regular season in the Big Bash League comes from the Melbourne Cricket Ground and quite simply it is a huge game for the home side, the Melbourne Stars. They take on the Sydney Sixers knowing that they have to win to make it through to the semi-finals.
Anything but a win for the Stars sees their campaign come to an end while the Sydney Sixers need to avoid a heavy beating in order to secure a home match in the last four at some point next week. Were they to lose big they could be forced to play away in the semi.
Things have gotten very squeaky bum time for the Melbourne Stars. A week or so ago they had three chances to make it into the semi-finals by getting the one win that they needed. They are now dining out in the last chance saloon. In many ways that will focus their attention but they have to avoid the thoughts of ‘how did it get to this stage’ from coming into their minds.
The reason why the Stars gave themselves three chances to make it into the semi-finals was because they were so good in their opening 10 matches and a repeat of the majority of them performances should still be enough here. They have stopped bowling well recently and that is something that will need to change if they are to make it through.
If you were to put forward a surprise package for the tournament then without meaning any disrespect it would probably be the Sydney Sixers who you would choose. Not many expected them to finish the campaign in the top three, which is the least they will achieve from here on in, and few expected them to be title challengers but that is very much what they are.
The success of the Sixers so far this term has largely centred round their bowling attack, which has been in sensational form throughout the campaign and as a result when they have batted well they have generally tended to win the match. They will be hoping that they have two more good batting efforts in them when it matters the most.
Although they have lost their last two matches, the Melbourne Stars have named an unchanged squad to take on the Sixers in what is basically a quarter final in all but name for the home side. Sandeep Lamichhane remains with the squad.
Australia Test star Nathan Lyon comes into the squad for the Sydney Sixers in a match which just staying close to the home side is the order of the day. He could feature in a two-prong spin attack alongside Steve O’Keefe.
The Melbourne Stars have cost me a few quid in recent times but I do believe they are the correct bet here because the Sydney Sixers may find themselves in a situation where they are playing to a different target rather than the one which is required to win the match. Their only interest is keeping close enough to secure a home semi-final. A win on top of that would just be a bonus.
Melbourne Stars know what they have to do here and they are at home which should really help them. They are at full strength so they can’t have any excuses if they don’t win this match. The Stars eased past the Sixers in their opening match of the campaign and have the necessary men in position to get the better of them again here.
WON – Back Melbourne Stars to beat Sydney Sixers for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Betfair
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