Tomorrow night’s game at the SCG could determine the Melbourne Stars fate for the remainder of the tournament, and as it stands things aren’t looking promising. Finishing last in BBL07 was a big slap in the face, now they find themselves in a mirror-image situation ten games into this seasons BBL. The Sixers will prove difficult to beat at the SCG, although they’re also coming off a defeat in the Sydney Smash and will be equally as vulnerable as the desperate-Stars.
What little-momentum the Sydney Sixers had after that opening win of BBL08 against Perth has all but disappeared after their batting line-up was humiliated by crosstown rivals the Sydney Thunder. If it wasn’t for a gallant Tom Curran and Sean Abbott down the order, the Sixers may have lost by a lot more than 21 runs. To go with his brilliant performance with the ball (3/24), England’s Tom Curran left nothing in the tank when he walked to the crease and clobbered a brisk 62 off just 40 deliveries. Sean Abbott did his best to wag with the English all-rounder, but the task proved to be too difficult to handle in the end. It’s not hard to see why it was left up to the lower order batsmen to clean up all the mess, the Sixers top order has been woeful so far in BBL08. Joe Denly, skipper Moises Henriques and experienced English opener Joe Denly have contributed very-little in the Sixers opening two games.
As of right now, the men in pink are relying on the likes of Daniel Hughes and Jordan Silk who both scored half centuries against the Scorchers in their season opener, but not even they could dig them out of a rather significant hole sprung on them on Monday night. Silk and Hughes both look in relatively good touch with the bat this season, they just need some support from some of the key names above them. Not a renowned wicket-taker in the BBL, the slow left-arm spin of Steve O’Keefe has caused some problems for opposition teams early in the tournament. Figures of 3/19 against the Scorchers and 2/27 against the Thunder has to be O’Keefe’s best start to a BBL campaign yet, the veteran is proving to be an integral part of this Sydney squad in 2018-19. Teenage spin-sensation Lloyd Pope hasn’t had the impact everyone was expecting, the red-haired leggy has been an expensive experiment so far which is why he finds himself out of the squad.
The Melbourne Stars, more like the fallen Stars….Where to now for Glenn Maxwell and his teammates? Things just haven’t gone to plan yet again for the Stars, they couldn’t take a trick in BBL07 and it’s looking like a similar path this season having started their campaign with two losses. 28-year-old batsman Nick Larkin has been a great find, he’s scored 28* and 45 in his opening two matches for Melbourne and looks a long-term prospect for them in 2018-19. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the rest of their line-up. Victoria’s Travis Dean hasn’t adapted to the fast-paced bash & crash format, and Ben Dunk looks like a man who’s terribly out of form and instead turning to survival instead of his natural game. The good news for the Stars is that Peter Handscomb has been released from the Australian test squad and will be available for tomorrow night’s all-important clash against the Sixers.
Handscomb’s return could mend Melbourne’s top order woes, but the middle order really does hold the key to success with Glenn Maxwell set to explode at any moment, anytime, anywhere. The Stars skipper showed his class in Hobart where he struck five sixes in his brief but destructive 47, albeit not finding the middle of his bat as often has he would’ve liked. All-rounder and Australian teammate Marcus Stoinis is another who’s waiting to deliver a knockout blow with the willow this season, when the time comes I’m sure he’ll deliver. The spinners proving to be the headline act so far in BBL08, and the Stars can’t complain given that Adam Zampa offered plenty in Canberra and Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane picked up three wickets in his last outing against the Hurricanes. With a glowing reputation in T20 cricket around the world, Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is yet to make his mark in this Stars outfit which hasn’t helped. With over 450 T20 wickets to his name, the “new big dog” can’t be underestimated.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sydney Sixers | BBL | 10th match | Sydney
- Daniel Hughes
- Steve O’Keefe
- Tom Curran
- Moises Henriques
- Sean Abbott
Wildcard pick – Jack Edwards
Top 5 fantasy picks | Melbourne Stars | BBL | 10th match | Sydney
- Glenn Maxwell
- Peter Handscomb
- Dwayne Bravo
- Sandeep Lamichhane
- Marcus Stoinis
Wildcard pick – Ben Dunk
Sydney Sixers (possible) – 1. Jack Edwards 2. Joe Denly 3. Moises Henriques © 4. Daniel Hughes 5. Jordan Silk 6. Josh Philippe (wk) 7. Tom Curran 8. Sean Abbott 9. Steve O’Keefe 10. Ben Manenti 11. Ben Dwarshuis.
Melbourne Stars (possible) – 1. Ben Dunk 2. Peter Handscomb (wk) 3. Nick Larkin 4. Glenn Maxwell © 5. Marcus Stoinis 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Evan Gulbis 8. Adam Zampa 9. Scott Boland/Michael Beer 10. Sandeep Lamichhane 11. Jackson Coleman/Jackson Bird.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.