It’s the battle of the two remaining unbeaten teams in the Big Bash League as Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers battle out at Metricon Stadium on Friday.
The Stars (P2, W2) have started their season with a bang with victories against the Brisbane Heat (22 runs) and the Hobart Hurricanes (52 runs). The Strikers (P2, W1, NR1) were lucky to have picked up a point in a no-result against the Sydney Thunder, but were clinical in a 15-run win in a rain-shortened match against the Perth Scorchers.
The Stars have enjoyed the dominant batting of Glenn Maxwell (85 runs, SR 202.38), while Marcus Stoinis (97 runs, SR 132.87) is showing signs of getting back to his best form. However, it is the bowling consistencies of Haris Rauf (seven wickets, ER 5.87) and Adam Zampa (five wickets, ER 7.37) that give Stars the edge.
Concerns remain over the top-order’s form, with Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson yet to hit stride. Regardless, Stars look set to continue their winning momentum.
The Strikers have been excellent at the top in both their matches, with Jake Weatherald (125 runs, SR 156.25) and Alex Carey (100 runs, SR 156.25) leading the way. With Jonathan Wells (73 runs, SR 178.04) striking it the clean way he is, Adelaide will be looking to pick up a second win in a row.
The biggest positive coming out of their recent match is the form of Rashid Khan (3/40). The fan favourite will hope to continue that and keep picking up wickets. Harry Conway’s emergence as a death bowler adds strength to the side, as does Wes Agar’s performances in the tournament.
The Stars have been the team of the tournament so far, with their batting strengths leading their charge. Maxwell’s aggression and Stoinis’ top-order performances remain the key to success – of course, adding to what Rauf has been doing with the ball. The Strikers will be challenged with the bat, as Weatherald and Carey will look to surprise the hosts. However, it is the Stars who have a tiny edge, thanks to their form leading into this encounter.
History & Statistics
- Seven of the ten results this season (excluding one no-result) have favoured the side batting first.
- Both the Stars’ wins this season have come while batting first.
- The home side on the day has won eight of the nine H2Hs, including the last seven.
- Stars have won each of their four designated home H2Hs.
- Strikers have won four of six H2Hs when losing the toss.
Haris Rauf’s transformation from a club bowler to Big Bash success received a big boost with the start he had to his tournament. If he continues to be amongst the wickets, Stars will continue to enjoy success.
Jake Weatherald has been the silent hero for Strikers at the top of the order. His runs could be crucial in thwarting Rauf’s threat.