The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for Brisbane Heat’s Gabba showdown with Melbourne Stars.
History: Played 14: Heat 10 V Stars 4
Last meeting: January 7, 2021: Heat d Stars by 17 runs (DLS) at Metricon Stadium
Final Thoughts: Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars both head into this crunch BBL|11 fixture with 2-3 records.
The Heat have won two of their last three, bookending a 53-run loss to the Thunder with victories over the Renegades (5 wickets) and Strikers (39 runs). Ben Duckett (78 off 47) and Sam Heazlett (49 off 30) spearheaded the third-highest total of the BBL season against the Strikers on Thursday, leading the Heat to 7/208 with a 114-run stand. Mark Steketee (3/27) and James Bazley (2/27) bowled superbly, while an expensive Matthew Kuhnemann (3/47) claimed some key wickets.
Heazlett has been Brisbane’s standout batsman so far despite being yet to register a half-century. He has 174 runs in five innings, failing to score more than 34 just once. The Heat are still waiting for Chris Lynn to fire – the Big Bash’s all-time top runscorer has posted just 82 runs with a top score of 32.
The Stars are coming off back-to-back losses to the Sixers (7 wickets) – despite a Glenn Maxwell century – and Hurricanes (24 runs). Andre Russell took three wickets but gave up 48 runs as the ’Canes racked up 6/180 on Christmas Eve. Joe Clarke (52 off 40) was the only Stars batsman to stick around for more than 18 balls in a frustrating run-chase.
No Stars players have produced consistently with the bat this season. Brilliant opener Marcus Stoinis is itching for a big score, managing just 65 runs from four innings. Adam Zampa returns in a timely boost to the Stars’ bowling attack, however.
The rivals split their two fixtures in BBL|10. The Stars cruised to a six-wicket win with 17 balls left in Canberra. Nathan Coulter-Nile (4/10) helped skittle the Heat for just 125, before Hilton Cartwright (46 off 42) and Glenn Maxwell (46 off 26) steadied a shaky start to the Stars’ run-chase.
In a Gold Coast showdown reduced to 10 overs per side, the Heat won by 17 runs. Chris Lynn (48 off 23) underpinned Brisbane’s handy total, while Marcus Stoinis (34 off 20) and Nick Larkin (35* off 16) were Melbourne’s best.
The Stars are $1.74 favourites to snare a vital win – and they unquestionably have the edge in the high-profile game-breaker department. But it’s not clicking for them at present and the improving Heat shape as solid value at home.