Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Match Prediction, BBL
Sydney Sixers await the winners of Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder, as the two teams meet in the Big Bash League 2019-20 Challenger play-off – effectively the semi-final – at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The match takes place on February 6 and is set to stat at 19:40 local time.
Melbourne Stars were the top team in the league phase of the tournament, winning ten of their first 11 matches. They topped the table despite losing their last three matches, but their lack of momentum continued when they were bowled out for 99 in the Qualifier – missing their first shot at reaching this year’s final as a result.
Sydney Thunder, on the other hand, only just sneaked into the play-offs but arrive at this match in good form. They have won two play-off matches to get this far already and boast Alex Hales in fine batting form as well as this season’s top BBL wicket-taker, Daniel Sams. With the momentum in their favour, they could set up a Sydney Derby in the final.
Last time out at the MCG, the Stars won the toss and elected to field first. It could still be a winning tactic, but the Thunder have been in good form batting first recently.
A sunny day makes way for a cloudy evening in Melbourne but conditions should otherwise be warm and with only a very minimal chance of rain.
The MCG has had something for everyone so far, neither leaning strongly to the batsmen or the bowlers.
The form and momentum for Glenn Maxwell’s side seem to have turned upside down in the last few games. While the side lost only one in their first eleven games they have lost the fast four on a trot. It was a miserable show from the side in the Qualifier game against the Sydney Sixers where they went down by 43 runs getting bowled out for less than 100 runs in the game. Maxwell will need to pump some confidence in the side ahead of the game for them to bring their miserable run to an end. They had won both their league games against the Thunder and this is something that will motivate the side going into this Challenger match.
At the top, Marcus Stoinis and Nic Maddinson will need to provide the side with a good start. Stoinis has been their best batsman this season. Nick Larkin and Peter Handscomb haven’t played well in the last few games and need to deliver this time. Maxwell, Seb Gotch, Clint Hinchliffe, and Nathan Coulter-Nile add strength to the batting down the order. Daniel Worrall and Haris Rauf need to bowl well with the new ball. Adam Zampa looks in good form which is a big positive for the side. They will need good support from the likes of Maxwell, Coulter-Nile and Hinchliffe going into this game as they are up against a side whose batsmen have done well in the last few games.
Callum Ferguson would be extremely happy with the kind of form his side is in at the moment. They have come back from behind in this tournament and find themselves in the right frame of mind at this important stage of the season. The side has won the last three games including two in the playoffs. They won the Knockout clash against the Adelaide Strikers by 8 runs holding their nerves in the end. The side has lost twice against the Melbourne Stars this season and Ferguson would look to avenge those losses by winning this all-important game. He would look to exploit the poor form Stars are going through at the moment.
Alex Hales is in good form at the moment and he needs to provide a good start in the company of fellow opener Usman Khawaja. In Ferguson, Alex Ross and Arjun Nair they have good run accumulators in the middle. Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, and Jay Lenton down the order make the batting line-up very strong for the side. They are up against a good bowling attack and shall have to approach their innings methodically. Daniel Sams has been in great form with the ball this season and he will be tasked with doing the early damage with the new ball. Jonathan Cook and Arjun Nair have also shaped well in the last couple of games. Chris Morris and Chris Tremain will need to bowl tighter lines as Stars are bringing good firepower to the table.
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We are two games away from crowing the champions for the Big Bash League 2019-20. The Challenger game would see hosts Melbourne Stars take on the Sydney Thunder at the MCG. The Stars after looking unbeatable in the league stages have hit rough weather losing their last four games and have to win the mental battle going into this one. Sydney Thunder, on the other hand, has picked up momentum at the right time and now looks in a great bit of form. It’s a high stakes battle and pressure would be on both the sides as they aim for a berth to play against the Sydney Sixers in the grand finale.
There is little to choose between the two sides but Melbourne Stars playing at home and having defeated Sydney Thunder twice earlier in the season would start favorites in this game