After a narrow win on New Year’s Eve to end 2019 on a high, Sydney Thunder will look to start their home stretch in the Big Bash League on a high as they welcome Melbourne Stars to the Sydney Showground Stadium.
The Thunder have three wins in five matches with just one loss so far. That includes a narrow three-run win over Adelaide Strikers in their last fixture. The Stars have three wins out of four this season which includes a DLS win in their recent fixture against the Hobart Hurricanes.
The Thunder have been enjoying the batting success of Callum Ferguson (229 runs, SR 149.67), who already has three 50+ scores in five matches. Usman Khawaja (167 runs) and Alex Hales (122 runs) have been performing well too.
Daniel Sams might be struggling with the bat (zero runs in four innings), but has nine wickets this season. The biggest positive has been the effectiveness of Arjun Nair (six wickets, ER 6.75), while Chris Green (ER 6.93) has been impressive as well.
Captain Glenn Maxwell (128 runs, SR 191.04) has been the rock of Stars’ season so far with aggressive batting. Marcus Stoinis (155 runs) has been impressive as well, after staying away from the bowling crease so far.
The re-introduction of Dale Steyn (three wickets) has definitely increased the effectiveness of Stars’ bowling. Adam Zampa (six wickets, ER 6.92) will look to be among the wickets once again, while Nathan Coulter-Nile could be crucial with his pace bowling.
Without a doubt, Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Stars remain the in-form sides of the tournament. The Thunder have been reliant on Ferguson’s runs, while the Stars have been over-reliant on Maxwell’s aggression. The Thunder were able to sustain Rashid Khan’s blitz by the barest of margin, posing questions on their bowling attack. The Stars look settled with their bowling, but their batting is too much one-dimensional. It could boil down to which batting unit holds itself together on the given day.
History & Statistics
- The Thunder have won five of their last six H2Hs.
- The Thunder have won four of five H2Hs they batted second.
- The Thunder have won four of five matches at this venue they batted first after winning the toss.
- The Thunder had the highest opening partnership in each of their four completed matches this season.
- The Stars have failed to score the highest powerplay score in three of the four matches.
- The Stars have won three of the five H2Hs they batted second.
This will be a match-up between the two captains – Ferguson and Maxwell. Both have been their side’s best player so far, which puts them in the forefront of this contest. This match might well be decided by which of these two players plays well.