All-time meetings: Sydney Sixers W4, Melbourne Stars W4
Last meeting: Sydney Sixers beat Melbourne Stars by 5 wickets
THE TEAM NEWS
Coach: Greg Shipperd
Captain: Moises Henriques
The Sixers come into this game having won one match against the Perth Scorchers but having lost the Sydney derby last time out against the Thunder in a match where the 21-run margin of victory flattered the Sixers significantly.
They make one change to the squad as Pope misses out in the 12-man group and 21-year-old off-spinner Ben Manenti has been called up so either him or all-rounder Justin Avendano will come into the starting line-up.
Both the batting and the bowling departments will be keen to improve from their poor display against the Thunder although the one real positive from that match was the form of England all-rounder Tom Curran who was outstanding with bat and ball.
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Captain: Glenn Maxwell
It is already looking like this will be another long Big Bash campaign filled with disappointment for the Stars as they have lost both matches against the Thunder and Hurricanes, and desperately need a win to snap this miserable form off the back of last year’s last-place finish.
They will benefit from the fact that Peter Handscombe has been dropped from the Australian Test team and that will only strengthen the batting line-up further and will also release wicket-keeping duties from Ben Dunk who can focus on opening the batting now.
Travis Dean will be the man to make way for Handscombe and the Stars will be hoping for a strong batting display to give their bowlers something to work with although they too will have to improve especially legendary all-rounder Dwayne Bravo who was poor and expensive against the Hurricanes.
It is difficult to make a case for the Stars in any game right now such has been their poor start and their losing habit from last year has carried over into BBL08. They have the individuals to win matches but they are just failing to click right now. Handscombe will be a major boost to the team and he will have a point to prove too while Bravo will be fired up after a poor bowling performance last time out. The Sixers are a difficult side to call and their two performances have been wildly mixed so far. They have a solid recent record against the Stars but the urgency and star power of the Melbourne side may just see them scrape a much-needed win here.