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These are early days in the Big Bash League 2019 and the points table is jam-packed in the middle with every match likely to have a major impact on standings. With two wins in two matches, Melbourne Stars have arguably been the best side of the tournament and will be looking to get to the top of the table with a win in their upcoming encounter. They'll be up against Adelaide Strikers, who haven't done badly either. However, a loss for Strikers would push them into the bottom half of the table should Sixers win their ongoing match against the Strikers. The match between the two sides will be played at Carrara Oval, Carrara on Friday, 27th December.
It's just the beginning of the tournament, but Melbourne Stars have displayed the kind of dominance that no other team have in the tournament so far and their net run-rate of 1.85 is an evidence of how fluent and dominating they have been.
While their batting appeared to be a bit of struggle in the first match before Glenn Maxwell bailed them out. Their bowlers, however, did a terrific job to restrict Brisbane Heat to just 145 in a defence of a total of 167.
Glenn Maxwell failed to have any influence whatsoever against Hobart Hurricanes, but the other batsmen contributed to perfection. Batting first after winning the toss, Nic Maddinson and Marcus Stoinis got them off to a flying start before Maddinson perished after scoring 40 off 39 deliveries. Stoinis combined with Ben Dunk for a quick-fire 37-run partnership in a little over three overs to put Stars in the driving seat. A flurry of wickets, however, left Melbourne Stars in a spot of both at 127 for 4 in 15 overs. They failed to score quickly at the death as Stoinis and Cartwright just managed 37 runs in the final five overs.
While Marcus Stoinis was brilliant in setting up the total for the Stars, their win was set up but their bowlers. After DJ Worrall gave away 20 runs in his first two overs, Glenn Maxwell pulled things back for the Stars as he dismissed D'Arcy Short in the fifth over. It was all about Haris Rauf thereafter as he ran through Hurricanes' batting lineup. He picked up five wickets for 27 runs. Rauf was ably assisted by Adam Zampa and Sandeep Lamichhane in the middle overs. The duo returned with the figures of 29 for 2 and 18 for 1 respectively.
While the Stars' batting lineup has done reasonably well, it is still to perform to its potential. Their bowlers, however, look all set and rearing to go and getting past their superb spin attack would be a challenge for Adelaide Strikers in the upcoming encounter.
Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, Ben Dunk, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, D Worrall, DW Steyn, Sandeep Lamichhane.
Adelaide Strikers were left stranded in their first match as they had to settle for one point after rain further play with the match hanging in balance. They bounced back with a superb win in their subsequent encounter, against the Scorchers, as they scored a massive total batting first and then defended it with considerable ease. With three points to their name, the Strikers are currently placed at the fourth position on the ladder and a win here could take them to the first spot, ahead of Sydney Thunder.
In both their games gone so far, the Strikers have tried to follow a similar template. Their batsmen aim to accumulate as many runs in the first few overs, rotate strike in the middle overs, and launch an assualt on the opposition's bowling attack in the death overs. While they failed to execute the plan against the Thunder and were restricted to just 161, it went all according to the plan against the Scorchers.
After putting into bat first, the Strikers got off to a poor start, losing Phil Salt on the fourth delivery of the match. Jake Weatherald then combined with Matthew Short to score 86 runs in the next 53 deliveries and drove them into a dictating position. Alex Carey then played a blinder of an innings, hammering 55 off 24 deliveries, as the Strikers ended up scoring a total of 198 runs in 18 overs.
Their bowlers were put under the pump right from the beginning of the innings as Liam Livingstone and Josh Inglis scored 124 runs for the first wicket in just 8.4 overs. With Thunder needing 75 runs in a little under 10 overs, Strikers need to strike and stike hard. Rashid Khan strangled Thunder's middle-order as he, along with ample supprt from Conway and Wes Agar, picked up seven wicket in the space of 8 overs to rock Sydney Thunder. The Strikers eventually won the match by 15 runs.
Jake Weatherald, Philip Salt, Matthew Short, Alex Carey, JW Wells, CL White, Cameron Valente, Rashid Khan, Peter Siddle, WA Agar, Billy Stanlake.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team for the Big Bash League 2019 between Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers
Both the sides have done pretty well in their previous match and will be brimming with confidence. The match will push the winners to the top of the table and both sides will be aiming for that. While Stars' batting has been largely inconsistent, their bowling has been brilliant. On the contrary, the Strikers have been terrific with the bat, but their bowling seemed to struggle against the Scrochers before their spinners pulled it back for them. Comparing the two teams on the basis of performance, there's nothing to separate them. On paper, however, the Strikers appear to be a better unit with almost each of their batsmen capable to hit it big from the first ball. Therefore, placing your money on a Stars' win would be the way to go in this all-important encounter.
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