About the Match
A 52-run margin against Scorchers saw Melbourne Stars reserving a home semi-final against the same opponents; Stars are geared up to host Scorchers in the 2nd semi-final tie of the Big Bash League on 22nd January at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Chasing 147 runs became impossible for Scorchers as they were dismissed all-out for just 94 runs on board; both teams have had similar runs this season with equal points but Stars made it to the second position with a better net run rate. The upcoming knock-out match will see both sides bringing out the best to overcome this hurdle and make it to the finals; whichever team can hold its nerves together under crunch situations will be better placed to emerge victorious on Friday.
They had a poor start at the beginning of the league but their losing streak ended towards the year end and they started the New Year with 3 consecutive wins; their last match against Scorchers was a testimony of the talent and experience their squad has with players like David Hussey and Kevin Pietersen proving to be pillars in the batting line-up. Hussey continues to lead from the front as he scored a well-made 36 off 25 balls against Scorchers and got good support from Gulbis and Quiney in the middle; the bowlers Hilfenhaus and Worrall took 3 scalps each to stifle the opponents and Zampa, Gulbis and Stoinis combined well to get them all-out within 19 overs.
However, the top-order needs to be cautious and avoid losing wickets early on; against Heat when they had to chase 189 runs, barring Hussey and Gulbis, who scored a brilliant unbeaten 61, the others fell like a pack of cards and lost the match by a huge margin of 56 runs.
They have a good bowling attack with Hilfenhaus, Worrall and Gulbis taking regular wickets with their pace attack while Beer and Zampa provide options with spin. However, they must put up a disciplined attack and try to pressurise the opponents again on Friday.
Dixon’s 3-32 against Stars in the last match and Tye’s 2-25 helped them restrict the opposition to an achievable 146 runs but the batsmen failed to chase successfully with only Voges putting up a lone fight with his unbeaten 46 off 51. Players like Klinger, David Willey, Carberry, Agar and Bancroft need to step up and fire from all cylinders here.
Carberry had scored a well-made 62 off 35 against Hurricanes recently and he must repeat that performance; Klinger too has contributed well in the past and must come out all guns blazing at the top order to build a solid foundation.
Willey, Tye, Hogg and Agar have been consistently taking wickets while Behrendorff has proved to be lethal sometimes but needs to reign in the run-flow; against Hurricanes they defended 173 runs well to win the match by 1 run and they need to exude the same confidence on the field on Friday.
Stars won the most recent battle when these two teams encountered each other in the league stage. The Scorchers have been unpredictable with their batting and they will try to improve their performance with bat and ball. Stars will miss the services of Maxwell and Faulkner in this big game making their batting look a little brittle. Though, the Stars have the home advantage, Scorchers have a balanced squad and we think that they'll make it to the final with a win on Friday