About the Match
Brisbane Heat have turned the tables this year as they top the charts jointly with Melbourne Stars. The two teams lock horns on 17th January 2017 at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne in what will be the last but one game in league stage. Both Heat and Stars have been flawless this season, with Heat more often than not riding on Lynn-McCullum duo whereas Stars on brilliance of Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney and their bowlers. Both Stars and Heat faced Scorchers in their previous game; Stars managed to ramp past the Scorchers whereas Heat succumbed to chasing pressure in a mediocre chase of 157. MCG is a surface which generally assists batting and with so much batting power on either side, we expect a high-scoring thriller.
Stars top the charts currently with four wins in six matches and they’ll be looking to consolidate their position with a win at their home ground. Adam Zampa’s return will certainly boost their bowling. Although Zampa hasn’t picked many wickets, but he has been very economical and has stopped the run-flow with his accurate bowling.
Stars have two of their bowlers in top five with Ben Hilfenhaus and Scott Boland in prime form. Despite the absence of Peter Handscomb, who has joined the national squad, the Stars’ batting remains to be a formidable one with Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney and Marcus Stoinis in prime form.
With experience of David Hussey and Kevin Pietersen coupled with the flamboyance of Wright and Quiney, Stars batting can hammer any bowling lineup on their day. They’ll certainly miss the services of their international stars in Maxwell and Faulkner, but they’d have to deal with it and if they are able to do it, Heat will have a job cut out.
Brisbane Heat has arguably been one of the better sides of this year’s Big Bash League. Much of the credit goes to Brendon McCullum’s captaincy which has infused the confidence in whole of the team. He has been exceptional at the top as well striking at more than 175 runs per 100 balls. Chris Lynn, too, has been brilliant as he is topping the batting charts this season.
Heat, in this match, however, will miss the services of both Lynn and McCullum. McCullum is serving a one-match ban due to slow over rate whereas Lynn is nursing a neck injury. Onus will be on the likes of Joe Burns and Alex Ross who, too, have some good innings to their name.
It has been all batting for Brisbane Heat this season, but in the absence of Lynn and McCullum, their bowling will have to step up and if the likes of Ross, Burns and Doolan deliver against the Stars’ bowling attack, Heat might become too hot to handle for Stars.
Both the teams have been phenomenal so far in the tournament and both of them will be playing without some of their major players. While the batting of Brisbane looks to be a little lighter owing to the absence of Lynn and McCullum, Faulkner and Maxwell’s absence has certainly shifted the balance of Stars’ squad. With top-spot at stake, this match will certainly be fought hard and with home advantage and a win in their last match, Stars might just edge past the Heat here.