The Melbourne Stars have started the season in impeccable form, winning five of their first six games and currently sitting atop the BBL09 table. They will host the Sydney Thunder from MCG in the second game of the Wednesday night double-header this week, kicking off from 7.10pm.
As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for the game below!
Melbourne Stars Squad (13): Glenn Maxwell (c), Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Pete Handscomb, Clint Hinchliffe, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nick Larkin, Nic Maddinson, Haris Rauf, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa
Sydney Thunder Squad (13): Callum Ferguson (C) (12), Jonathan Cook (50), Brendan Doggett (35), Matthew Gilkes (22), Chris Green (93), Alex Hales (6), Usman Khawaja (18), Nathan McAndrew (44), Chris Morris (24), Arjun Nair (7), Alex Ross (49), Daniel Sams (60), Chris Tremain (20)
How can you fault the Stars season so far? We picked them to finish atop the BBL09 ladder and they haven’t disappointed thus far. They have won five of their first six games so far this season, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Strikers back in December. Marcus Stoinis has been the lynchpin of the Stars batting line-up so far, plundering 281 runs through six innings at a very healthy average of 70.25.
On the bowling front, the Stars have been lead by pace sensation Haris Rauf. The Pakistani seamer has bowled just 12 overs in three games this season but currently sits in third place on the top wicket-takers list with 10 wickets at a ridiculous economy rate of 5.91, the best of any player with 3+ wickets. Alongside Rauf, the Stars have an extremely talented spin attack, with Adam Zampa having claimed 9 wickets and Sandeep Lamichhane adding 6.
The Stars claimed a comfortable win over their Melbourne rivals in their last game, chasing down the Renegades total of 142 with seven balls to spare. Stoinis smashed 68 off 55 while skipper Glenn Maxwell added 40 off 32. Maxwell has been fantastic with both bat and ball this season and he is always in the game in the field, his overs look the goods again on Wednesday.
Many were writing the Thunder off at the start of the season but they have been fairly impressive with a 3-1-3 record through their opening seven games. They were unlucky in their last matchup, losing to the Brisbane Heat via the Duckworth/Lewis method in a heavily rain affected game.
Callum Ferguson has been dominant for the Thunder with the bat, racking up 253 runs at an average of 50.60 through seven innings. The Thunder have also had a bunch of valuable role players with the bat in Usman Khawaja (179 runs), Alex Hales (142) and Alex Ross (134).
All-rounder Daniel Sams currently leads the BBL in wickets with 14 through seven games and has a fantastic average of 13.28. Chris Morris has also been great, taking at least two wickets in four of the five Thunder games so far. We think he might have a bit tougher time on Wednesday though, on an MCG pitch that hasn't traditionally offered much to bowlers. His player performance line sits pretty high at 36.5.
Tough to look past the Stars on Wednesday night. They are without doubt the best team on paper in the BBL, stacked from top to bottom with world class talent. Marcus Stoinis run of form in the BBL over the last season and a half has been absolutely ridiculous and he doesn’t look like getting out at the moment. Reliability from Stoinis at the top of the order allows the likes of Maxwell, Ben Dunk and Nathan Coulter-Nile to go wild in the back end of the innings.
Stars are too deep and too strong at home to look past them here.
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