- Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Date: 31st January, Friday
- Time: 1:30PM IST
- League: 2019-20 Big Bash League
Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers will it fight it out for a place in the BBL finals in the Qualifier game played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
Melbourne Stars finished at top of the league, while Sydney Sixers are placed second in the league table at the end of round-robin stage of the competition. Melbourne Stars have collected 20 points from 14 matches, while Sixers have collected 19 points from 14 points.
Both the teams will be contesting in the Qualifier game in a bid to seal their place in the finals of Big Bash League.
The teams have clashed with each other twice in the round-robin stages– first Melbourne Stars registered a comprehensive 44-run win over Sydney Sixers in Melbourne on January 12th. But Sixers managed get one back and beat Stars in a rain-curtailed game played at Sydney on January 20th..
Melbourne Stars will be looking to field their strongest XI for this Qualifier game. Captain Glenn Maxwell and co. received a thrashing at the hands of Brisbane Heat in their final round-robin game played at Melbourne Cricket Ground. With the experienced players like Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Peter Handscomb, the side will need to put in a big performance with the bat in this contest.
On the other hand, Sydney Sixers will be confident of doing well in this game against Melbourne Stars. Captain Moises Henriques will be hoping that the side can deliver their best cricket is this all-important game.
Melbourne Stars Preview
In their last round-robin game, Stars suffered heavy defeat against Brisbane Heat at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Stars seemed to have lost the momentum at the back end of the competition and are coming into this knockout game on the back of three-match losing streak.
The big positive for Melbourne Stars is pacer Haris Rauf joining the squad for this important fixture. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane will not be available as he left the competition due to his international duties for Nepal.
Opener Marcus Stoinis has been a standout performer in the batting department for Stars in this year’s competition. He is currently leading run-scorer in the competition with 607 runs in 14 matches at an average of 60.70 with one century and five half-centuries to his name. He will be one player to watch out for Stars in this knockout game.
Besides Stoinis, Captain Glenn Maxwell has delivered credible performances with the bat this season. He has scored 373 runs in 14 matches at an average of 46.62 with three half-centuries to his name.
On the bowling front, the side will be relying on the likes of Haris Rauf and Adam Zampa to pick up wickets in this contest. Surprisingly, highest-wicket taker has been right-arm pacer Haris Rauf, who in his debut BBL season has taken 16 wickets at an economy rate of 6.89.
Sydney Sixers Preview
The franchise is coming into the game on the back of three-match winning streak in the competition. Captain Moises Henriques will feel that the side has peaked at the right moment in the competition and will be keen to bring A-game to the table against Stars.
The responsibility of that will be with their in-form opener Josh Phillipe, who has been consistent performer for the side so far in this year’s competition. He has scored 401 runs in 14 matches at an average of 36.45 with four half-centuries to his name.
In the previous, Josh Phillipe was the standout performer with the bat and finished the innings with the score of 61 runs off 42 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes. Phillipe will be eyeing a big innings in this Qualifier game against Melbourne Stars.
Apart from Josh Phillipe, Daniel Hughes is also having a decent tournament with the bat with 266 runs in 14 games. Steven Smith inclusion will certainly bolster the batting resources for Sixers for this knockout game. In the last round-robin game, Smith played exceedingly well and scored 66 not out off 40 balls with the help of seven fours and one six.
In the bowling department, the focus will be on premier pacer Tom Curran, who is currently the leading wicket-taker for Sydney Sixers with 22 wickets in 14 matches. Besides Curran, Ben Dwarshuis and Sean Abbott have done exceedingly well for the side this season.
Based on current form, Sydney Sixers look favorites to win this Qualifier game against Melbourne Stars. Sydney Sixers have the better bowling attack in comparison to Melbourne Stars, who will be relying heavily on Haris Rauf to make breakthroughs. With the inclusion of Steven Smith, Sydney Sixers will be confident of upstaging Melbourne Stars at MCG.
Fantasy Team Tips
- In-form wicket-keeper batsman Josh Phillipe will be most popular pick for the fantasy side.
- Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell have consistently done for the side this season and most likely to make notable contributions for Melbourne Stars. On the other hand, Daniel Hughes and Steven Smith hold the key for Sixers in the batting department.
- All-rounder Moises Henriques has made telling contributions with the bat for Sixers. On the other hand, Stars will be hoping that Nic Maddinson can find form with the bat and ball at Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Pacer Sean Abbott has shown excellent form for Sixers in this year’s competition. His partner, Ben Dwarshuis has also made crucial breakthroughs for the side with the new-ball. On the other hand, Haris Rauf has been standout performer in debut BBL season for Melbourne Stars
Fantasy Team Prediction
- Wicket-Keeper – Josh Phillipe
- Batsmen –Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Daniel Hughes
- All-rounders –Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson
- Bowlers – Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Haris Rauf.
- Captain – Moises Henriques
- Vice-Captain – Peter Handscomb.