Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers at the MCG
31st January 2020
On Friday the top two sides from the group stages play each other in the ‘Qualifier’. The winner progresses straight to the final, the loser gets a second chance next week.
Table topping Stars set the early pace but have lost their 3 matches. They have struggled with a few injuries and Haris Rauf’s unavailability due to his first Pakistan call-up. He has returned but Sandeep Lamichhane is now away with Nepal. Without Lamichhane expect Clint Hinchliffe to play as a second spinner to Adam Zampa while replacement overseas Dilbar Hussain and Daniel Worrall compete for the final seamers spot.
Stars batting has relied heavily on Marcus Stoinis, 607 runs, and Glenn Maxwell, 373 runs at a strike rate of 156, who have top scored in 10 of the Starts 14 matches between them. While Maxwell will float and bring himself in to accelerate the innings, Stoinis will open and look to bat through to anchor the batting effort. He has top scored in 43% of Stars games this season.
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The Sixers squad has been significantly boosted by the return of Australian Internationals Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon in recent weeks. The middle order batting looks a little weak but it’s a well balanced XI that should be favourites against the Stars. Tom Curran has left to join up with England, but Sean Abbott returns but injury to fill the gap. Abbott, who has not played since Sixers thrilling Super Over victory against the Thunder on December 28th, is the club’s all-time leading wicket taker.
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The MCG is a good batting track. Scores of 143, 145, 219, 141 and 186 have been recorded this year in the Big Bash, which included Stoinis’s record breaking 147 not out. There were 17 sixes in that Stars v Scorchers match, but historically sixes average 7.5 at the MCG, which is a large playing area.
Sell Sixes at 10 with Sporting Index
If past tosses are anything to go by, its more likely Stars will be batting first, and expect an Innings Runs Line of 163.5 which seems a little high based of previous matches. The 1st Innings average at the MCG is 166.8 this year, but 155.8 since the start of Big Bash. The weather forecast is ideal, so no interruptions are expected.
Expected Line Ups
Marcus Stoinis, Seb Gotch+, Nick Larkin, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell*, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Adam Zampa, Haris Rauf, Dibar Hussain
Josh Philippe+, James Vince, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques*, Daniel Hughes, Jordan Silk, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Steve O’Keefe