About the Match
The Stars kept their hopes alive with a 7-wicket victory against Scorchers but received a minor setback with the defeat against Heat in the last match; they are placed 2nd on the table with 8 points and will now gear up to take on Sydney Sixers at Melbourne on 21st January to push their way ahead to the playoffs. Sixers, on the other hand, are placed 4th with 8 points but will have to fight hard to survive competition from other teams. This is the last league match of the season and fans will surely be there in full strength to show their support; fireworks are in order but it needs to be seen which team sails through for the knock-out game next week.
Luke Wright, Seb Gotch and David Hussey kept their feet firmly on the ground to keep the scoreboard ticking while others fell like a pack of cards against the Heat bowlers; while Wright posted a tremendous 60 off 55 and remained unbeaten, Hussey and Gotch scored 30 and 29 to help them get to an honourable 138. However, Michael Beer and Zampa’s spin magic couldn’t help them stifle the opposition while speedsters Hilfenhaus, Boland and Gulbis failed to stop the Heat batsmen from scoring the winning runs despite taking a wicket each.
Against Scorchers, bowlers Hilfenhaus, Boland and Beer provided quick breakthroughs to demolish the opponent’s top-order; they each took 2 wickets and Stoinis contributed with one more scalp to restrict them to 134. Kevin Pietersen then posted a brilliant unbeaten 44 to take the team safely home with help from Rob Quiney, who scored 35, and Stoinis who scored a well-made 40.
They have experienced batsmen like Pietersen, Hussey, Luke Wright, Handscomb and Quiney, who could focus on building steady partnerships whether batting first or while chasing. The bowling squad is a good mix of spin and pace, which could leverage the home conditions to dominate here.
They have in-form batsmen like Hughes, Lumb, Maddinson, Henriques and Brad Haddin, who performed well against the Renegades to chase down 171 comfortably; however, against the Thunders in the last match, they fell cheaply to get all-out for just 99 while batting first. They will need to be cautious against the spinners and try not to lose early wickets if they want to post a big total while setting a target or give a fighting chase.
Pacemen Dwarshius, Sean Abbott and Jackson Bird have consistently taken wickets in previous outings and they could do well against the hard-hitting Stars too; spinners like Nathan Lyon, Johan Botha and part-timer Maddinson can try to outwit the opponents with their clever variations here.
They have a deep batting line-up, which can put its best foot forward to help their team overcome the challenges under any situation. They have had their highs and lows but will need to come out with all their firepower on Saturday to keep their hopes alive.
The Sixers are not yet safe to qualify for the top-four and they will definitely fight it out till the last ball; however, we feel that the Stars with the home advantage and the fiery batting contingent, is better placed to win the upcoming match on Saturday