Here it is, 55 games have led to the biggest match of the season, the BBL09 Final. The Sixers host the Stars as the Sixers attempt to win their first title since BBL01, whilst the Stars are striving for their first title after a shattering loss in the BBL08 Final. We have a full preview and betting tips for the clash here.
The Sixers come into the BBL09 final full of confidence after upsetting the Stars at the MCG in ‘The Qualifier’ last week. The Sixers are on a four game winning streak, with two of those victories coming against the Stars. The additions of Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon have had the Sixers firing on all cylinders at the back end of the season. The Stars ended their four game losing streak with a victory on Thursday night against the Thunder at the MCG. The Stars finally got back to their early season form with the bat as Nick Larkin and Marcus Stoinis both scored 83 runs each in a 28 run victory. Haris Rauf (3/17) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (2/29) led the way for the Stars with the ball. The Sixers and Stars have met three times in BBL09, with the Sixers winning two out of the three matches. In the first encounter, the Stars won by 44 runs on the back of Marcus Stoinis' record-breaking 147 not out off 79 balls. In the second match, the Sixers won a rain-affected match by 21 runs thanks to Moises Henriques' 72 off 31 balls. Whilst in ‘The Qualifier’, the Sixers bowled out the Stars for their lowest total in franchise history, en route to a 42 run victory.
All the talk surrounding the BBL09 Final revolves around Sydney’s inclement weather as the forecast is expecting 120-200mm of rain on Saturday. Each side needs to face at least five overs for a match to be completed, whilst the Sixers will be awarded the title if the match is washed out. The Stars will be kicking themselves for losing ‘The Qualifier’ to the Sixers, as their fate now will largely be decided by the weather after surrendering the chance to host the final. At the selection table, the Sixers are remaining with the same thirteen man squad that defeated the Stars in ‘The Qualifier’. The Stars have made one change to their squad that defeated the Thunder on Thursday, with Jonathan Merlo replacing Dilbar Hussain.
Sydney Sixers Squad (13): Moises Henriques (c), Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Ben Dwarshuis, Josh Hazlewood, Dan Hughes, Nathan Lyon, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith, James Vince
Sydney Thunder Squad (13): Glenn Maxwell (c), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Peter Handscomb, Clint Hinchliffe, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Jonathan Merlo, Haris Rauf, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa
The Sixers are peaking at the right time of year, led by an international standard bowling attack in Josh Hazlewood, Sean Abbott, Nathan Lyon, Steven O’Keefe and Ben Dwarshius. They have shown they are capable of defending any score after rolling the Stars for just 99 defending only 141 in ‘The Qualifier’. The form of Josh Phillipe, James Vince, Steve Smith and Moises Henriques during their four game winning streak has shown the Sixers will be well equipped with the bat if the final is a shortened game. Home ground advantage in the BBL final hasn’t necessarily been a big factor, in the eight finals, the home team has won four, lost three whilst the BBL04 final was at a neutral venue. The home ground advantage this season for the Sixers has been important as the Sixers are 3-1 at the SCG, including a victory over the Stars in January at the SCG.
Moises Henriques has played in two BBL finals and has top scored for the Sixers in both of them. In the BBL01 final, Henriques was the player of the match. Henriques smashed 70 off 41 deliveries as an opening batsmen, to lead the Sixers to their only title. In the BBL04 final Henriques top scored with 77 off 57 balls, and would have been man of the match if not for the Sixers losing a thriller, in one of the greatest BBL matches of all time. Henriques is a big game player and he has performed well against the Stars. This season Henriques has scored 130 runs at an average of 43.33 against the Stars, with scores of 41, 73 and 16. Henriques has a career strike rate of 140 against the men in green. A proven big game player who is having a great season, Henriques will be primed to lead the Sixers to their second BBL title.
The Stars snapped their four game losing streak on Thursday night with a 28 run victory led by Marcus Stoinis and Nick Larkin. The Stars fate in this final will be dictated by the weather gods as their lost in ‘The Qualifier’ becomes even more crucial with the Sixers only needing a draw to claim the title. The Stars will be well suited to a shortened game with the ability to push Glenn Maxwell up to open with Marcus Stoinis. The Stars have shown a heavy reliance on Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, if those two don’t get going, the Stars struggle to win. With the ball the Stars have been fantastic with the pace of Rauf and Coulter-Nile, complemented by the swing of Dan Worrall. Adam Zampa has been the best spinner in the competition with 18 wickets at an average of 16, with an economy rate of 7.14. There’s no doubt the top end talent is there for the Stars, but can they bury the ghosts of their previous finals campaigns and Finally claim their maiden BBL title?
Marcus Stoinis has dominated this BBL campaign and was awarded player of the tournament earlier in the week and in ‘The Challenger’ just days later he produced a crucial knock of 83 off 54 balls that set the platform for the Stars to post 1/194. Stoinis broke the record for the most runs in a BBL season on Thursday, with his season now sitting at 695 runs at an average of 57.91, with a strike rate of 135.74. Stoinis has produced plenty against the Sixers. In six games Stoinis has scored 258 runs at an average of 51.60. Stoinis dominated the Sixers during the regular season with scores of 147 not out and 62. In ‘The Qualifier’ was dismissed for just 5 as the Stars were knocked over for 99. The Stars chances in this final are going to rest on Stoinis’ shoulders, and he has lived up to this pressure all the way through the tournament, expect no different in the final on Saturday night.
The Sixers possess all the momentum coming into the BBL09 final on the back of four consecutive wins. On the back of an international standard bowling attack and a versatile batting line up, the Sixers have all bases covered. The Stars have plenty of demons to bury with finals failures in every campaign they’ve featured in, most notably the BBL final where they lost 7/19 to lose the unloseable against the Renegades. In the back end of the season it has become clear that the Stars rely far too much on Stoinis and Maxwell, in ‘The Challenger’ Nick Larkin stood up, can they get some more contributions outside of their key duo? At home where they have been so dominant this season with proven big game players across the board, the Sixers will go on to claim their second Big Bash title.
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