2017-18 Big Bash League – Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Preview

When? Tuesday, 2nd January

Where? Melbourne Cricket Ground

Weather? Temperatures of 20-21c are expected but no rain in Melbourne that should affect play.

What channel is it on? Channel TEN in Australia & BT Sport 2 in the UK

Are tickets still available? http://www.melbournestars.com.au/tickets

Where can I stream the match? BT Sport subscribers can stream the match online via the BT Sport website


HEAD-TO-HEAD

Last five meetings: Melbourne Stars W4, Brisbane Heat W1

All-time meetings: Melbourne Stars W5, Brisbane Heat W2

MELBOURNE STARS

Coach: Stephen Fleming

Captain: John Hastings

  • The Stars have lost both of their opening two matches and the pressure is on here to bounce back and get their first win of BBL07 amid reports of their attitudes being questioned by the coaching staff after the two losses.
  • They welcome back Kevin Pietersen after he missed their last game to be with his family at Christmas but he comes back in to strengthen their batting line-up and he will start, while spinner Liam Bowe comes into the 13-man squad for Peter Handscombe who is away with Australia.
  • The opening partnership of Dunk and Wright has yet to fire so far and the reliance on the lower order has been too great up until now so the pressure is on the openers to get off to a good start here.

BRISBANE HEAT

Coach: Daniel Vettori

Captain: Brendon McCullum

The Heat were skittled for 91 last time out against the Adelaide Strikers on New Year’s Eve so they have now won two and lost two of their four matches in BBL07 and they will be keen to improve that against a Stars team which they have beaten in their last four meetings.

  • Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah replaced Shadab Khan last time out and followed his impressive performances with two wickets of his own so the bowling department remains of similar quality but the batting must improve notably.
  • They have made one change to their 13-man squad with Sam Heazlett coming in for Jason Floros so he will add batting depth to the team if they decide to make any changes to the starting eleven.

PREDICTION

The Stars have given very little indication so far that they will produce what has been expected of them as pre-tournament favourites in their opening two losses. They could and should raise their game at any time but they remain unpredictable amid talk of their poor attitudes. The Heat will be desperate to bounce back after being bowled out for an embarrassing 91 against the Strikers but this is a tough assignment for them and they may just be meeting a Stars’ side that is angry and motivated.