Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder to clash in the Challenger with an eye on the big Final.
Sydney Thunder will defeat Melbourne Stars!
T&Cs apply, 18+
Sydney Thunder lost 7 games in the group stage, but now they have won the Eliminator against Hobart Hurricanes and the Knockout match against Adelaide Strikers, both playing away from home. Melbourne Stars, who attained the top position in the league matches, were victorious against Sydney Thunder twice in this tournament. Though, the team that won 8 consecutive matches in the group-stage have now lost four matches in a row. Most importantly, this is the Challenger match, no one can afford to lose here. A thrilling Challenger game is expected between the runners-up of BBL 2018-19 and Sydney Thunder who won the title in 2015-16. Melbourne Stars need to rejuvenate themselves and break the jinx if they want their maiden title.
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In 14 group games, Melbourne Stars won 10, lost just 4 games and remained at the top of the points table. Their early winning streak helped them play the Challenger game despite losing to Sydney Sixers in the Qualifier, which was their fourth consecutive loss in the tournament. It is a cause of concern for the side that usually falters in the knock-out rounds.
While against Brisbane Heat in the last group-stage game, Stars faced 71-runs defeat in reply to Heat’s 187; against Sydney Sixers in the Qualifier, they once again failed miserably in the 143-runs chase. None of their batsmen crossed 30 in either of the matches. Their bowlers, especially Zampa (4 overs 3 for 21) did an amazing job to restrict Sixers under 150. He was also impressive against Heat with his figure of 3-for-27. They need to have a quick-fix for their batting if they want to play in the Final.
Marcus Stoinis (399 runs in last 10 matches) and Glenn Maxwell (260 runs in 10 innings) are the key batsmen for Stars, while Sandeep Lamichhane leads to bowling unit with his 12 wickets in previous 9 games followed by Adam Zampa with 9 wickets in previous 5 outings.
Key Players: Adam Zampa, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis
Sydney Thunder has now three wins in a row. They thrashed Perth Scorchers in their last group-stage game and then defeated Hobart Hurricanes in the Eliminator. In the previous “Knockout” game, they defeated third-ranked Strikers at Adelaide, which brought them here at Melbourne to play against Stars. After being asked to bat first by AS in the Knockout match, they posted a decent score of 151 thanks to Alex Hales’ 35-balls 59. Daniel Sams (3 for 26), Jonathan Cook (2 for 16) and Chris Morris (2 for 22) blocked Strikers within 8 runs and provided Sydney Thunder with the crucial win.
This game is pretty much like the semi-final game, the winner will play in the Final against Sydney Sixers. Alex Hales is in the tremendous form, as he consistently crossed 40 in the last five innings, and scored four half-centuries in those 5 games. Ferguson’s dismal form may harm the team, but Usman Khawaja, Daniel Sams, Jonathan Cook and Chris Morris collectively provide very strong support to the team. In the last 10 games, Alex Hales (446 runs) is the top-scorer for the team, while among the bowlers, Daniel Sams, (18 wickets) and Chris Morris (12 wickets) are the key bowlers.
Key Players - Alex Hales, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams.
On the match day, the weather at Melbourne is expected to be patchy rain possible. Daytime temperature can reach 24°c while nighttime minimum temperature is expected to be around 14°c. It will be mostly dry with no precipitation and cloud covering 31% of the sky, the humidity will be around 66%.
The venue for the match is Melbourne Cricket Ground. The surface looks very good for batting.
The average first and second innings score on this surface is 139 and 131, while the highest total is 184 by India against Australia. The highest total chased is 172 while the lowest defended is 127. Out of 13 T20Is played here, five times the teams batting first have won while 7 times the teams chasing have won, and one game was abandoned. 6 out of 11 times the teams batting first have won in this season. In the pressure game, it’s advisable to bat first after winning the toss.
Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars are neck-to-neck considering their overall BBL statistics. In 12 encounters overall across the BBL seasons, both the teams won 6 games. In this season Melbourne Stars won both the games but they are on a losing streak with four consecutive losses. The momentum is now with Sydney Thunder, who enter this game after 3 straight wins, including two of the high-pressure knock-out games, which gives them the edge over Stars.
Sydney Thunder will defeat Melbourne Stars!
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