2018-19 Big Bash League – Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars taking place? Friday, 21st December 2018 - 08:15 (UK)

Where is Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars taking place? Manuka Oval

What is the expected weather for Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars? Cloud is forecast but rain is unlikely to affect play with temperatures of 22-24c

What channel is Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars on? Channel 7 & Fox in Australia & BT Sport 2 in the UK

Where can I stream Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars? BT Sport subscribers can stream the match online via the BT Sport website

Where can I get tickets for Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars? http://www.sydneythunder.com.au/tickets

THE STATISTICS

HEAD-TO-HEAD
All-time meetings: Sydney Thunder W5, Melbourne Stars W3
Last meeting: Sydney Thunder beat Melbourne Stars by 7 wickets

THE TEAM NEWS

SYDNEY THUNDER

Coach: Shane Bond

Captain: Shane Watson

  • Sydney Thunder failed to make the knockout phase last season as they failed to produce their top level on a consistent basis but they have made some major signings and come into BBL08 with greater expectations this time around.

  • They will be without Aussie internationals Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins, and the loss of the fast bowler especially seems to leave them a little light in the pace department, but they have plenty of quality in terms of spinners that will be key in their hopes of success.

  • The big name signing was England skipper Joe Root who joins compatriot Jos Buttler and they will form part of an impressive batting line-up with the destructive Callum Ferguson and Anton Devcich also joining skipper Shane Watson who continues to defy the years and produce the goods.

MELBOURNE STARS

Coach: Stephen Fleming

Captain: Glenn Maxwell

  • The Melbourne Stars are coming off a disastrous BBL07 performance last year as they had plenty of stars in their ranks but perhaps too many egos and their roster has seen the greatest changes of any of the teams for the new campaign.

  • James Faulkner, John Hastings, Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright do not return but they have made some important signings with Dwayne Bravo, Jackson Bird, Nic Maddinson and Napalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhance joining their ranks.

  • Maddinson is unavailable due to injury but Dwayne Bravo, Travis Dean, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nick Larkin and Lance Morris are all named in the squad and could make their debuts in a team that looks to have much better balance about it this season.

THE PREDICTION

This promises to be another fascinating clash between two teams that failed to make the semi-finals last year. The Stars especially have had an overhaul of their roster and it looks to have more balance to it this year with the bowling department much improved even if their batting looks a little lighter in terms of names at least. The pressure will be on Ben Dunk to rekindle his form from two years ago, while Maxwell and Stoinis will be key with both bat and ball. The Thunder’s bowling is lacking a touch of quality but their batting looks impressive. If they click, that could be the deciding factor but there are plenty of unknowns coming into this game given all the changes to the Stars especially and it really could go either way.