About the Match
The Stars have won their last 4 games to make it to the third position in the league with 8 points from six matches; they will host Heat, who continue to be at the bottom of the table with only 4 points so far, on 14th January at Melbourne. Stars defeated Renegades in the last outing by 8 wickets thanks to a tremendous effort by the batsmen; on the other hand, Heat have turned a new tide in the New Year as they registered their second win of the season by defeating Sixers by a narrow margin of 6 runs that has definitely boosted their morale. Both teams will come out on the field with renewed vigour and the team that can keep a cool head above it shoulders will triumph in the end.
Chasing 156 runs against Renegades, Kevin Pietersen posted an unbeaten 67 off 43 deliveries; with Handscomb, who scored 39 runs and Wright, who contributed with 37 runs, the batsmen steered the team to their fourth consecutive victory. Earlier, Marcus Stoinis came good with the ball as he took 3-11 in just 2 overs; Zampa and Hilfenhaus also took a wicket each to provide regular breakthroughs.
Against Hurricanes last week, the bowlers performed well as they restricted the opposition to a low 124 runs, which was successfully chased down by Wright and Maxwell, who posted well-made half centuries.
They have a strong batting line up with players like Stoinis, Maxwell, Pietersen and Hussey, who have hard-hitting skills that give them a definite competitive edge. The bowling department has been consistent in stifling the opponents with their quick wickets and having players like Zampa, Hastings, Beer and Hilfenhaus, the Stars look well placed to register another victory here.
While the entire batting line-up collapsed against the Sixers, Simmons and Burns kept their nerves together and registered well-made half centuries to take the total to a competitive 162 runs. The bowling department came through yet again as they dismissed the opponents in quick succession; while Swepson and Cutting took 2 wickets each, Floros, Lalor and Hopes claimed a wicket each to win the match by 6 runs in a close finish.
However, in the last match against Strikers, despite a superior target of 175 runs posted by the determined batting line-up, the bowlers failed to step up and defend the total after a dismal performance by Fekete and Floros, who gave away too many runs. Although Cutting and Badree took a wicket each, they couldn’t stop the hard-hitting tactics of Jayawardene, Ludeman and Head in the opposition.
They have had a disappointing beginning in the series but things have started to look better in the recent matches as they won two matches to earn 4 points; they have the experience and skills to continue with their winning momentum, which is very important at this stage.
Both teams have won their last game and will be motivated to do well here; although Heat needs a win again to build their confidence level, we feel that Stars with the home advantage are clear favourites to win the match on Thursday