After breaking their three-match losing streak, Melbourne Stars will encounter Brisbane Heat on Thursday (January 7) at Carrara Oval. This will be the 32nd match of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21. ‘
Melbourne Stars have faced Brisbane Heat in the season opener which they had easily won by six wickets. But since then, things have turned around. Heat are getting back in the fight, winning back to back last two matches. On the other hand, Stars have won only one out of the last four matches.
Their second encounter is likely to be neck to neck but Melbourne Stars has the upper hand considering they have more power-hitters and a strong bowling attack.
Here, let’s take a look at how Melbourne Stars can shape in for the fixture:
The West Indies player has not been able to set the stage on fire for Melbourne Stars. In the first five matches, he has not even managed to score 20 runs in a match.
In the last two encounters against Hobart Hurricanes, he has, overall, scored 20 runs. He starts hitting from the word go but he hasn’t provided the stability at the top which Stars need to provide middle-order play more freely.
In the last meeting against Hobart Hurricanes, Marcus Stoinis remained not out and scored 97 runs off 55 balls. In his unbeaten knock, he smacked seven fours and seven sixes to take Melbourne Stars total to 183 runs.
Australia’s national team’s star allrounder is being only used as a pure batsman. He had sustained a side strain injury during India’s limited-over leg series. After which, he has been not bowling. Maybe in the latter half, he will be used in the bowling option when he regains full fitness.
Nick Larkin, who had an impressive season last year, returned back in the playing XI after Nic Maddison got injured. Against Hobart Hurricanes, he consumed nine balls but scored just four runs. Melbourne Stars will back him to give them a stable start.
Glenn Maxwell (c):
Melbourne Stars captain Glenn Maxwell is scoring a large chunk of runs but all have come under pressure after the early departure of the top-order.
In the first meeting against Hobart Hurricanes, he played a fiery knock of 70 runs but he didn’t get the support from the other end. In his innings, he smacked six fours and five sixes. However, his knock went in vain.
Maxwell has been giving his best but he will expect that he gets the team support to break the losing streak.
Continuing his good form of IPL, Nicholas Pooran has left everyone in awe with his power-hitting in his first match with Melbourne Stars. He struck eight giant sixes and two fours to score 65 runs off 26 balls and pushed the total of Stars above 180 after the early fall of top-order. If he plays another knock like this, Melbourne Stars will be no doubt in a good position.
After failing to fulfil his duty at number three, Hilton Cartwright was demoted to number sixth position in the last match. The change of position worked for Melbourne Stars. He scored 36 runs off 24 balls in which he smacked three sixes and one boundary.
Cartwright is likely to play in the same position in the coming matches and needs to get runs on the board to take the home.
As Nic Maddison is out because of injury, Sam Rainbird is likely to get the place in the playing XI of Melbourne Stars against Hobart Hurricanes. He played the last match against Hurricanes where he got expensive in his four overs, leaking 10 runs per over. With the bat, he scored only 15 runs. As this was his first match, Rainbird will bounce back stronger.
Seb Gotch (wk):
The wicketkeeper-batsman played the first match for Melbourne Stars against Hobart Hurricanes, which was the second meeting of the side. He could not open his account with the bat while also could not add a dismissal in his name. He is likely to play coming matches for Stars.
Adam Zampa has gone expensive this season. In his five matches, he has picked up eight wickets but has registered an economy rate of above 8.
The leggie had missed one match because of the obscenity remark which led to his ban for one encounter. But his return is a big positive for the team.
Liam Hatcher has got the knack of picking wickets at the crucial junctures. Against Sydney Sixer, he got the wicket of Carlos Braithwaite who was snatching the game away from them. The pacer also sent Jordan Silk early. He was the most economical bowler for Melbourne Stars among the ones, who bowled four overs.
But in the last match, he picked only one wicket and was badly beaten by Hobart Hurricanes.
After being expensive against Sydney Sixers, Billy Stanlake bounced back stronger against Sydney Thunder. He picked two wickets while gave away only 18 runs in his four overs. Similarly in the first meeting against Hobart Hurricanes, he got three wickets in his name while conceded 25 runs in four overs.
The right-hand pacer has come out in great form this season and will be looking to prove his case after being sidelined from the Australian team.