Two sides currently in the top four of the Big Bash League table meet in the competition on Saturday when the Melbourne Stars in fourth spot host third placed Sydney Sixers in a key clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
These two will want to be involved in the postseason when the regular stuff ends and the winner of this match will pretty much guarantee their spot in the playoffs. The loser opens the door to the chasing pack, so there is plenty at stake here.
After an absolutely terrible start to the season, where they lost their opening three matches, the Melbourne Stars have suddenly won four on the spin and have gone from being a team which flatters to deceive to one which could be peaking at the right time in terms of finally getting their hands on this title for the first time. They will need to keep winning though because they haven’t been able to repair the damage done to their net run rate in the early stages of the campaign.
Melbourne have looked very impressive in this four match winning burst. The one thing you would say is that they have won all four matches chasing and in two of them the rain have got involved so it will be interesting to see how they go if they are having to put up a score. In the main though their bowlers have come to the party recently and when you have firecrackers such as Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis in the ranks if the bowling delivers even a slightly above par total the Stars’ batting could annihilate it.
The Sydney Sixers are usually perennial challengers when the business end of this competition comes along but we haven’t really seen them firing on all cylinders this season and this feels like a big match for them. Should they lose it they will drop down to fourth spot and the Hobart Hurricanes would be two points behind them with two matches in hand and with the Sixers knowing they have the Perth Scorchers in their last match. Should they lose here things could get very rough for them.
To be fair to the Sixers, they haven’t been helped out by the weather this season. They had a washout against the Sydney Thunder when all they needed was the rain to hold off for another five minutes and they would surely have won that game and then last time out against the Brisbane Heat they were three runs behind when the rain brought that one to a close, that after a washout in Brisbane, so Sydney will be hoping that the rain stays away and gives them an even chance.
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Glenn Maxwell has continued the form he showed in India in the 50 over World Cup in this tournament. He hasn’t played that enormous innings in this competition but his cameos have been brutal. His bowling has been more than useful too.
Jack Edwards is beginning to get a bigger responsibility in this side and with some of the Sydney Sixers batters not pulling up any trees it will be interesting to see if they shove him a little higher in the batting order here.
I’m not a massive fan of taking on the Sydney Sixers but they don’t appear to be playing their best stuff at the minute and the Melbourne Stars are looking good. One issue could have been the injury to Sam Harper but he hasn’t really been batting much for the Stars of late and as such Peter Handscomb is a perfectly adequate replacement. The Stars are on something of a roll with four wins in succession, including one against the Sixers, whereas the Sixers’ season has stalled recently.
The Sydney Sixers aren’t really impressing with the bat this season and unlike in previous campaigns, there isn’t really an area of this Stars attack to get after. They have good spin options in the middle of the innings and their seamers are getting it done at the death. Melbourne bat pretty deep these days which means that they can go hard at the top of the innings when you put everything together I think we come up with a Stars win.
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