About the Match
The boxing day BBL 07 match will be played between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars in a match where the defending champions are being billed as underdogs. The Perth Scorchers are missing a lot of their first choice players while the Stars will be packed to the gills with T20 champions. Coming into this game, though, the Perth Scorchers have one win to their name while the Stars have none.
The Scorchers continue to get jolt after jolt as players were pulled from their roster due to international duty or due to unforeseen circumstances. They ended up playing their first game against the Sydney Sixers with a batting lineup that was considerably weak.
Justin Langer, though, is an astute coach and recognized that his team had plenty of strengths to fall back upon. We are referring to the Scorchers bowling which is easily among the best, if not the best, in this competition.
The likes of AJ Tye, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Johnson, Ashton Agar, and David Willey make for an international quality bowling lineup. Hilton Cartwright was not called upon to bowl in this match but he too is very decent with the ball and can easily cover for someone having a bad day.
In the first match, every single bowler had a good day. Agar was the only one left wicketless but his economy rate of 5.72 showed the kind of effect he had on this match.
We expect the Scorchers to rely on their bowling to counter the litany of superstars that Melbourne will throw at them. The weaker part of their disciplines is their batting. The Scorchers had a tough time chasing down a small total of 132 against the Sixers and requires a quickfire fifty from Ashton Turner to help finish things off.
They seem to have given their newbies the freedom of going hard in the powerplay while their most experienced batsmen take the responsibility of playing the difficult end overs. The Scorchers are far from their best but this is a team that knows how to win and should not be underestimated.
Shane Watson threw some spotlight the Stars way at the start of this tournament when he called them out for underperforming over the years. There is some truth to that accusation and it does not help the Stars to have started with a loss to the Lynn-less Brisbane Heat.
They will be desperate to win against the Scorchers and lay claim to being one of the strongest sides this year.
There is plenty to like about the Stars. They start with Ben Dunk and Luke Wright, a new opening partnership, but two of the most reliable BBL players in the tournament's history. They then have the likes of Pietersen, Maxwell, Stoinis, and Faulkner to lad down the hammer throughout the innings.
It is not often that Glenn Maxwell gets overshadowed in T20 cricket but Marcus SToinis is fast making himself the most talked about all-rounder in Australia with the kind of performance he has been putting in. His 99 off just 51 balls was studded with 6 sixes and was a treat to watch.
If Maxwell, Dunk or some of the other big names could have played a small hand then maybe the Stars could have started their campaign with an incredible victory.
Scoring runs in this match will be a lot more difficult against the Perth Scorchers and the Stars should avoid going too had at the bowling too soon. If the Stars can get enough runs on this board then their bowling should be good enough to overpower the Perth Scorchers.
Adam Zampa had a quiet opening match but he is our pick to be the game changer in this match. Leg spin has played a huge role in the BBL so far and we think Zampa has the necessary experience to take advantage as well.
With John Hastings, Faulkner, Michael Beer, and Maxwell to chip in, the Stars are not a weak bowling side either.
Pitch and Conditions
The WACA may have hosted its last international match for quite some time but there is a lot to love about the ground. The Scorchers will hope to see the pace and bounce seen in the test match as they will help their bowlers.
Scores of about 160 should be competitive on this ground. The weather should not be a concern.
The Stars hole a 6-5 advantage in the head to head against the Scorchers, one of the few teams to do so. At the WACA, though, the advantage is with the Scorchers who have won 4 out of the seven matches played here between the two teams.
We are backing the Melbourne Stars to win t
his match, though, on the back of their stronger batting unit