We make our way to the Gold Coast where the resurgent Brisbane Heat take on the Melbourne Stars in a crucial match as both sides search for their fourth win of BBL10. The Stars come into this after breaking a streak of losses while the Heat have found some form, winning their last two matches.
The Heat will be brimming with confidence after pulling off one of the upsets of the season, taking down ladder leaders Sydney Thunder in a thrilling last over victory. Strong performances from Joe Burns (52 off 38) and Joe Denly (50 off 36) led the way for the Heat as they chased down 175 runs with 5 balls to spare.
The Stars will also take some confidence from a hard-fought win over Hobart where they avoided a fourth-straight loss. The win keeps Melbourne in the hunt to play finals and was much needed after a slump in their form. Our best mate Marcus Stoinis finally went berserk (the first time I’d jumped off him this season) and bashed 97 off 50 odd balls to lead the Stars to a win.
This match is set to be a belter between two sides finding form at the same time of the season and will be crucial in the race to a finals spot. The Heat were boosted by the return of their skipper Chris Lynn last match, who looked solid and will be hoping to make up for lost time here tonight.
Metricon Stadium, Thursday 9.20pm (AEDT)
Stars Squad: Glenn Maxwell (c), Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Clint Hinchliffe, Nic Maddinson, Jonathan Merlo, Lance Morris, Tom O Connell, Will Pucovski, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa
Heat Squad: Tom Banton, Chris Lynn (c), Max Bryant, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper, Matthew Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Ben Laughlin, Mitchell Swepson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Jack Wildermuth, Lewis Gregory
We are set up for a close match tonight with both sides sitting on three wins each and slowly finding some form with the bat and ball. These two teams have already met once earlier this season where it was the Stars who won convincingly by 6 wickets. Both teams are in completely different positions as they were back then however, with the Stars losing three straight matches since and the Heat winning their last two.
I’m going to side with the Stars to get the job done here again. They found that elusive win in their last match where they showed good fight to beat the high-flying hurricanes down in Tasmania. The return of Adam Zampa was a massive boost to the boys in green as he broke a crucial partnership just as the Hurricanes were looking to close in on the Stars’ total.
I think the Stars may have got their mojo back and a tough win away from home was just what they needed to get some confidence back throughout their side. Marcus Stoinis finally found some runs and showed some of the form which saw him lead the run scoring charts in BBL09. While their bowlers struggled to close out the match, they found a way to win and I think they will only build on this performance.
The Heat are also in a nice patch of form and will be playing with a lot of confidence as well. In saying that, they come up against one of the stronger batting sides in the competition who will be looking to get on top of the inconsistent bowling lineup which the Heat have.
The Big Bash all-time leading run scorer in Chris Lynn returned to the line-up for Brisbane’s last match and looked to be in dangerous touch. Lynn was just getting going and had belted his way to 30 from 16 balls before a rush of blood saw him play a false shot.
I think the Heat skipper will be keen to make up for lost time and will need to be at the peak of his game if his side are any hope of taking the win here tonight. Lynn has been in good touch in the few games he has played, averaging a tick under 40 in three innings so far this tournament while striking at a massive 150. It’s safe to say he is seeing the ball well and will just need time at the crease to pile on the runs.
Once again we are faced with the conundrum of finding the Stars’ top performer. I’m still scarred after jumping off the Stoinis bandwagon one match too early, so we need to bounce back here.
After being burned by Stoinis and Maxy in the last match we are going to look towards the bowlers and hone in on Adam Zampa. We already touched on the importance of Zampa to his team and they arguably would have lost their last match if it wasn’t for his wicket-taking ability in big moments.
The Stars’ bowlers have been ravaged by injuries throughout the season so the pressure is certainly on Zampa to lead from the front as the top bowler in the team. He looked fired up the other night and will be keen to carry that into this match tonight. He’s taken 8 wickets in his last 4 matches and 6 wickets in his last 3 against the heat so we’re going to back him in to keep that solid run going.
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