2017-18 Big Bash League – Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Preview

When? Saturday, 20th January

Where? Melbourne Cricket Ground

Weather? Temperatures in Melbourne are expected to cool on Saturday dropping to 24-26c

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

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

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: Sydney Thunder W3, Melbourne Stars W2
All-time meetings: Sydney Thunder W4, Melbourne Stars W3

MELBOURNE STARS

Coach: Stephen Fleming

Captain: John Hastings

  • The Stars have nothing but pride to play for now as they are firmly rooted to the bottom of the BBL07 ladder and plans for next year have already started as they phase some of their younger players into the line-up.
  • Luke Wright has been ruled out of this game with concussion and has called time on his Stars’ career so the all-time leading runscorer in Big Bash history leaves the club after a relatively disappointing campaign this year.
  • Veteran paceman Ben Hilfenhaus comes into the 13-man squad but he may not get the start given the fact they have been giving opportunities to emerging talents such as Seb Gotch, Daniel Fallins, Liam Bowe, Daniel Worrall and Jackson Coleman.

SYDNEY THUNDER

Coach: Paddy Upton

Captain: Shane Watson

  • Thunder lost in the Sydney Smash last time out but still have a chance of making the final four simply making this match a must-win game for them otherwise they will drop out of contention.
  • They name the same 13-man squad for this game and there is every chance it is the same eleven that will start as they have been playing much better in the last couple of games since Khawaja and Vince joined the squad after international duty.
  • Talented young allrounder Arjun Nair is suspended from bowling due to a suspect bowling action but he will be selected to play purely as a batsman which does reduce their options a little for this game.

PREDICTION
The Stars’ miserable season continues to peter out and it is difficult to have any confidence in them as there are clear signs that the management have started to plan for next season and give opportunities to some of their younger players. Pietersen will likely be one player motivated to sign off in style at the MCG and he has an excellent record against the Thunder, but that will likely not be enough. The Thunder have looked much better with Khawaja and Vince significantly strengthening their batting line-up and they should have too much quality all-round for the Stars.