About the Match
At the end of two thrilling semi-finals, we have the finalists of Big Bash League; Melbourne Stars will meet Sydney Thunder to battle it out for the title in the finals on 24th January at Melbourne. While the Stars notched up a 7-wicket victory against Scorchers by successfully chasing 140 runs with 11 balls to spare, Sydney Thunder put up a power-packed performance to oust table toppers Strikers from the competition with an 8-wicket victory. Both teams have done well to reach the finals and they will definitely leave no stone unturned to lift the trophy on Sunday.
Kevin Pietersen smashed 62 off 36 deliveries to steer the team to the finals; Marcus Stoinis started the 140-run chase well with a well-made 44 and Pietersen built the foundation for a comfortable win. Earlier, Daniel Worrall took 3-25 to stifle the opponents and along with a wicket each by Hilfenhaus, Beer, Zampa and Stoinis, they restricted Scorchers to 139 runs.
Luke Wright, Stoinis and Pietersen are in good form and they will try to build strong partnerships here; the bowlers have been result-oriented and will up their ante to help their team cross the final hurdle to the BBL title. The middle order batsmen like David Hussey and Peter Handscomb must step up to their responsibilities and help to keep the scoreboard ticking against the rejuvenated opposition.
In the league stage, Sydney Thunder had defeated them by 1 run and despite a solid chase the Stars had fallen just short of the finish line. They will try to avenge that hurtful defeat with victory here provided they can overcome the hard-hitting tactics from the Thunder batsmen.
Usman Khawaja’s brilliant match-winning 104 off just 59 deliveries caused a heavy upset in the knock-out stage as they ousted table toppers Adelaide Strikers from the competition and won the match by 8 wickets within the 18th over. The opener kept his cool, providing a blitzing start to the chase for 160 by hitting 3 powerful sixes and driving down 13 boundaries across the park. Henry Nicholls stuck his feet firmly on the ground and gave good support by contributing an unbeaten 35.
Earlier, the bowlers had done well to provide regular breakthroughs and restrict the opposition in their run-flow; while McKay continued with his wicket-taking abilities by picking up 3 wickets, Watson claimed 2-28 in his 4-over spell. Green and Russell picked up a wicket each and they provide good variety to the attack.
They have a solid batting line-up with Khawaja in form and experienced players like Watson, Russell and Michael Hussey in the squad, who can bring the big runs on board. If the bowlers can repeat their disciplined attack against the hosts and pressurise them to make mistakes, this could be their day.
While both teams are equally matched in terms of batting performance and bowling fire-power, Stars certainly do enjoy the privilege of playing at home. Thunder have been playing well and did brilliantly in the semifinals. Stars too are peaking just at the right time. This is going to be a tight encounter but with the home advantage, we think stars will win the game to become the BBL champions