Two improving sides meet to begin the double header of action in the Big Bash League on Saturday as the Melbourne Stars take a home match to the Gold Coast when they go up against the Sydney Thunder at the Metricon Stadium.
The Stars were slow to get going in this tournament but they have found a groove in recent times whereas the Thunder have had a rollercoaster of a campaign so far and will be looking to nail down some consistency from here on in.
After successive defeats in their first two matches to begin the season, the Melbourne Stars have bounced back with a pair of victories and will be looking to push on and secure a spot in the top four come the end of the regular season. One beauty of playing on a ground which held a Test match in the early stages of the campaign is that they have matches in hand on those above them so if they can maintain their current run they should be fine.
In those two victories two of their international batsmen have produced substantial innings of note which has got them over the line but they will not be able to rely on individual performances throughout the season so they really need their batting line up to start to deliver the goods as a whole, especially with players to depart soon for international duty.
After winning their opening two matches, the Sydney Thunder went missing in a couple of games before returning to winning ways last time out. In fairness to them, one of their defeats came against the runaway leaders Hobart Hurricanes and given how strong the Tasmanian side look it would be harsh to condemn them for defeat in that contest.
The trend tends to be when the Thunder bowling attack performs well then the entire side do, although I guess that isn’t exactly the biggest surprise in the world. The one thing which has served the Thunder well has been the form of Jos Buttler. He has provided fast starts and stability throughout the competition but there is more than a slight concern about them should he fall cheaply.
Melbourne Stars have to do without Sandeep Lamichhane for the foreseeable future as he has left to play in the Bangladesh Premier League. He has been replaced by Englishman, Liam Plunkett who is in line to make his debut here. Liam Bowe is in the squad but Peter Handscomb is playing for Australia.
Sydney Thunder have made one change to their squad from the win over the Perth Scorchers last time out. Arjun Nair has been replaced by Jay Lenton for this one. Usman Khawaja is away with Australia.
The best bet in this match, as it has been in the other two matches that have been played here when the Brisbane Heat have hosted games here, comes along in the form of the sixes. These two pretty big hitting sides and both of them should be able to clear these boundaries easily enough, as we’ve seen in the other matches here.
With Lamichhane now off the Stars attack has more of a hittable look to it while the Thunder attack have gone around the park at times in this tournament already. There have been 14 and 16 sixes in the two matches here so far and when the pair met in Canberra earlier in the campaign the Thunder hit eight sixes on a bigger ground than this. I like over 12.5 sixes in this match.
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