After a long-drawn season that ran, the Big Bash League final with see Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday.
The excitement of the final is offset by the impending deluge that is expected to hit Sydney on Friday and Saturday. In case there is no action, the Sixers will win the title. However, there is a chance of some play happening and that is set to keep the excitement going.
The Sixers will hope their form from the league season will continue, while the Stars will feel that they have finally found a way to get over their playoff hoodoo.
Big Bash League Final Preview
The Sixers finished second in the group stage with nine wins and four losses. It has been a season led by the youngster Josh Philippe (435 runs, SR 125.72), who had scored four 50+ scores so far. The presence of Steve Smith gives them great stability and so does James Vince (321 runs) and Moises Henriques (260 runs) with the bat.
It is the Sixers’ bowling that gives them an edge. With Shaun Abbott (14 wickets) back in the fold, the attack looks stronger than ever with Ben Dwarshuis (16 wickets) and Nathan Lyon also key.
The Stars have traditionally struggled in the playoffs, but dusted themselves off and defeated the Sydney Thunder by 28 runs to qualify for the final. The dependency on Marcus Stoinis (695 runs) continues to be a reality that might hamper their chances in the final. Otherwise, the positive form of Nick Larkin is a good omen for the Stars.
The Stars’ bowling looks equally strong to that of the Sixers, at least on paper. Haris Rauf (20 wickets) continues to be amongst the wickets, while Adam Zampa (18 wickets) remains a strong pick to keep snaring wickets.
The sides have met three times this season already, with two matches ending up as one-sided contests. The Stars demolished the Sixers at MCG with a league-record 147*, while the Sixers smashed the Stars for a career low 99. It could come down to how well the sides play out the powerplay overs – especially since the chances of a rain-shortened match are high.
History & Statistics
- The chasing team has won 14 of the last 19 completed Big Bash matches at this venue.
- The Sixers have scored the lower powerplay score in their last five home fixtures.
- The Sixers have won the last two matches against the Stars.
- The Sixers have won eight of the last nine completed matches at this venue.
- The Stars have had the best opening partnership in eight matches this season.
Shaun Abbott has been one of the best Sixers’ bowlers through the regular season. His timely comeback to the side makes him a big threat for the Stars.
Adam Zampa should love the challenge of bowling to Smith and going by his current form, it is not beyond Zampa to produce a couple of tricks.