Hosting tomorrow night’s game at the MCG, the Melbourne Stars are a big chance to leapfrog the Sydney Sixers which would see them rise to second spot on the BBL08 points table. Both of these teams will be affected by the Australian ODI selections for the upcoming ODI series against India, so expect to see some unfamiliar combinations at the ‘G’ tomorrow from both the Stars and Scorchers. The men in orange are in unfamiliar territory, they currently sit 8th on the standings with plenty of catching up to do and will be without some of their key names.
This Melbourne Stars outfit is set to receive a huge shakeup tomorrow night against the Scorchers, they’ll be without all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis as well as leg-spinner Adam Zampa who are all off to participate in the ODI series against India starting this Saturday. As a result of those departures, the Stars have handed the captaincy to former Sydney Sixers batsman Nic Maddinson who will also make his long-awaited debut in the emerald green tomorrow night. 20-year-old Jonathan Merlo is expected to return to the side for just his second game of BBL08 which could prompt promotions up the order to Seb Gotch, Dwayne Bravo and Evan Gulbis who’ve all been batting in the middle-lower order this season. With Stoinis and Maxwell absent from the XI, a lot of the pressure will be on Ben Dunk, Nick Larkin and Nic Maddinson which is no great surprise. If Nick Larkin continues to bat with a positive approach & intent to score, that should help the Stars lay a solid foundation for the big hitters to come such as Dwayne Bravo and Evan Gulbis.
Larkin’s not the one the Stars would be worried about, it’s the disintegrating-confidence of Ben Dunk who’s been in a form slump for about two seasons now. It wasn’t that long ago that this very man was dominating the BBL for the Adelaide Strikers, now you wouldn’t even be able to recognise him. That’s a major concern, because without Dunk firing at the top of the order, the Stars will have to rely on the likes of Nic Maddinson who’ll be a bit rusty after recovering from a broken, and the likes of Gotch, Bravo and Gulbis haven’t really shown a whole lot with the bat in the BBL. Adam Zampa however may be a bit easier to replace, they’ve got Michael Beer and Liam Bowe waiting on the sideline for their opportunity to tweak some balls. Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will need to show all his experience with the ball now, without Zampa, Maxwell, Stoinis and Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane, wickets will be a lot harder to come by.
What can Perth do to get their campaign back on track? One things for sure, going down to the Brisbane Heat on their home deck certainly didn’t do them any favours. The more realistic question would be, what can Perth do to resurrect their campaign? Currently sitting dead-last on the points table, the Scorchers are caught between a rock and a hard place. It’s comes as quite a surprise, this team has been one of the powerhouse sides in the BBL for a long time now, all of sudden they’ve dropped their bundle as the hunters and have quickly become the hunted. Things aren’t about to get better anytime soon, the Australian ODI team has plucked both strike bowlers Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson from the Scorchers squad which has left a gaping hole in their attack. It’s expected that Perth will include both David Willey and Matt Kelly in place of the Aussie-duo in their XI, they’ll be tested on this hard-Melbourne wicket. Willey has only taken one wicket in five games, so you can understand why the Scorchers left him out against the Heat. Perth’s senior bowlers must stand up, especially Andrew Tye who’s been below-average in BBL08.
A man with subtle variations that once deceived this very competition, Tye hasn’t managed to fool anyone this season. Despite his presence, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh isn’t an overly-huge loss. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Whiteman should come back into the XI which will give the Scorchers batting order a bit more flexibility along with David Willey, both can bat in numerous positions which should prove handy. Both Michael Klinger and Cameron Bancroft just haven’t been able to get going with the bat yet, that’s probably why the Scorchers have struggled so much in BBL08. In their past two matches, Scorchers skipper Ashton Turner has led from the front in the middle order with his powerful striking. Scores of 60* & 47 have set the benchmark for the rest of the team. This is a must-win game for Perth tomorrow, a loss could just about destroy their chances of qualifying for the BBL08 finals which would result in a major psychological blow heading into the remainder of the tournament.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Melbourne Stars | BBL | 25th match | Melbourne
- Nick Larkin
- Dwayne Bravo
- Scott Boland
- Ben Dunk
- Michael Beer
Wildcard pick – Nic Maddinson
Top 5 fantasy picks | Perth Scorchers | BBL | 25th match | Melbourne
- Cameron Bancroft
- Ashton Turner
- Nathan Coulter-Nile
- Andrew Tye
- Ashton Agar
Wildcard pick – Hilton Cartwright
Melbourne Stars (possible) – 1. Ben Dunk 2. Nic Maddinson © 3. Nick Larkin 4. Seb Gotch (wk) 5. Dwayne Bravo 6. Evan Gulbis 7. Jonathan Merlo 8. Liam Plunkett 9. Scott Boland 10. Michael Beer 11. Liam Bowe.
Perth Scorchers (possible) – 1. Michael Klinger 2. Cameron Bancroft (wk) 3. Will Bosisto/Sam Whiteman 4. Ashton Turner © 5. Hilton Cartwright 6. Ashton Agar 7. David Willey 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile 9. Andrew Tye 10. Matt Kelly 11. Usman Qadir.
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.