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The Melbourne Stars will be facing off against the Sydney Sixers in the final match of the Big Bash League group stage. There is nothing complicated left in the qualification equation for the Melbourne Stars now. If they win, they are through, if they lose then Brisbane Heat will qualify for the Big Bash League semi-finals.
Standing in the way of the Melbourne Stars are the Sydney Sixers. The Sixers are in second place right now and anything but a massive loss will mean that they stay in that position. Specifically, the Sydney Sixers have to avoid losing by more than 62 runs or with more than 46 balls to spare.
A home semi-final can mean a big deal in the semi-final and so the Sydney Sixers are not going to be taking it easy in this match either. Both the teams are going to be strengthened by the availability of their test stars now that Australia’s test summer has come to an end.
The Melbourne Stars seemed to be cruising towards a place in the BBL semi-finals but two heavy losses in their last two matches have left them with a must-win scenario. It is a veritable quarter-final of sorts and that is how that Stars should approach this match.
The Melbourne Stars are playing at home in conditions that have often been slow and difficult to score in. Their batting has been quite inconsistent apart from the magnificent run that Marcus Stoinis has been having.
Stoinis top-scored with 81 in the previous match and was the only reason the Melbourne Stars reached a total of 158. Banking on him alone may not be enough for the Stars to qualify. They need some of their senior batters to stand up and be counted.
The likes of Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, and Ben Dunk must take responsibility in this important match and contribute. Peter Handscomb is the batsman that we think is most likely to step up alongside Marcus Stoinis. Handscomb is a good player of spin and playing in the top-order allows him to set the tempo of the game.
Looking at the way the Melbourne Stars have approached their past few matches, we think they are a better chasing side than they are while setting a total. The pitch at the MCG has been slow and is not the easiest to bat on but that is not going to change too much over the course of 40 overs.
The bowling was hammered to all parts of the ground in the previous match. The Melbourne Stars were unable to take a single wicket against the Brisbane Heat as they have up 158 runs in just ten overs. That has to be a demoralizing event and could force some changes.
Adam Zampa was one of the players that were taken to the cleaners but we are hopeful of him reversing his fortunes at the MCG.
Ben Dunk, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson, Dwayne Bravo, Sebastian Gotch, JM Bird, Adam Zampa, Sandeep Lamichhane, D Worrall.
The Sydney Sixers have been one of the best sides to watch in BBL 08. They have put together an exciting team that bats aggressively and has the resilience to bounce back from difficult situations. Daniel Hughes, Josh Phillipe, and James Vince have all been very good at the top of the order.
In fact, we would say the Sydney Sixers really stepped up a gear ever since they promoted Phillipe up the order and got James Vince into the side. With solid middle order batsmen like Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, and Jack Edwards, the Sydney Sixers batting side is a much stronger one than the Melbourne Stars.
Nathan Lyon is going to be available for the Sydney Sixers and will slot into the playing eleven for sure. He is likely to replace one of Lloyd Pope or Jack Edwards in the side depending on the kind of playing surface that is offered.
The MCG has been helpful to the spinners in BBL 08 and now the Sydney Sixers have three high-quality ones to attack the Melbourne Stars. Steve O’Keefe has the third most wickets of any bowler in the Big Bash League while Lloyd Pope has been very impressive as well.
The Sixers may have a better bowling attack than the Melbourne Stars to exploit the conditions that are expected.
Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, and Ben Dwarshius offer up some very good seam bowling options to the Sydney Sixers as well.
Josh Philippe, Daniel Hughes, J Vince, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, Tom Curran, Sean Abbott, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Michael Lyon, B Dwarshuis, Lloyd Pope.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Sixers is going to be played at the MCG, Melbourne. The weather forecast for Melbourne is good for cricket and we should have no rain to worry about.
The pitch has had some time to rest and so hopefully a better batting strip can be prepared. The spinners are still going to rule the roost and making the most of the new ball while batting is going to be essential.
The Sydney Sixers appear to be a better side in every respect. They have a strong batting order and a better-balanced bowling attack. The Melbourne Stars have some match winners but Marcus Stoinis is the only one that has been playing with any sort of consistency. The incentive to qualify is something that could bring the best out of them.
Still, the chances of the Sydney Sixers appearing victorious look better at the moment.
Back the Sydney Sixers to win.
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