About the Match
The Stars registered a massive win against the Renegades in their last match by 46 runs to climb up to the 4th position with 4 points in their bag; they will take on Strikers, who too won their last game against Hurricanes and are placed 6th with 4 points, on 10th January at Melbourne. It has been a mixed bag for the two teams till now and they would like to accelerate from here on by keeping the winning momentum going. While both teams are well matched to give a tough contest, the side that can cleverly use the resources to suit the field conditions, will be better placed to emerge victorious.
Spinners Michael Beer and Adam Zampa toppled the Renegades batting line-up helping the team defend 200 runs successfully. While Beer finished with 3-32, Zampa put up a disciplined attack taking 3-19; speedsters Scott Boland and Ben Hilfenhaus contributed well with 3 wickets between them. Earlier, it was a powerful knock of 73 off 46 by Kevin Pietersen that kept the scoreboard ticking while Rob Quiney’s superb 51 off 30 gave them a solid start batting first.
Against Thunder however, they could muster only 166 runs which the bowlers found difficult to defend against a determined opposition. Although Zampa, Hilfenhaus and Boland provided regular breakthroughs, others gave away too many easy runs. Pietersen, Maxwell and Luke Wright performed well but the middle order failed to get the big runs on board.
Overall, the batting unit has been doing well with players like Pietersen, Maxwell, Quiney and Wright consistently scoring well; they can stabilize the innings in the upcoming match as well. The spin combination of Beer and Zampa could prove to be deadly here.
Fielding first against Hurricanes, fast-bowlers Chris Jordan, who claimed a superb 3-24, Stanlake and Laughlin, who took 2 wickets apiece, stifled the opponents to a meagre 161 runs. The batsmen then came out with a focused approach with opener Ben Dunk posting an unbeaten 79 off just 49, and steered the team across to the finish line with almost 2 overs to spare. Brad Hodge, Pollard and all-rounder Jordan helped keep the runs flowing and they add depth to the batting line-up.
Against the same opponent in the previous outing however, they were able to garner only 143 runs batting first after a dismal show by the lower middle order; Hodge led from the front with a brilliant 55 while Head and Dunk played useful knocks. With players like Pollard, Jordan and Dean failing to impress much with the bat, they didn’t have enough to fight for. The bowlers also put up a dismal show and they couldn’t stop Hurricanes from hitting the winning runs.
The team has strong all-rounders like Jordan, Head and Pollard, who can contribute with bat and ball to help the team achieve its goals; with a sharp pace attack and some clever spin from Travis Head, they could try to outwit the Stars here at their own backyard.
The two teams meet for the first time this season but their respective wins in the last game would keep their morale high to perform well on Tuesday; while the Stars have a solid batting unit, the Strikers have a well-balanced team of experienced bowlers and batsmen. The contest could go either way but we feel that Stars with the home advantage and the in-form batting line-up, are clear favorites to win the match.