The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for a pivotal showdown between playoff hopefuls Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Stars.
History: Played 13: Heat 9 V Stars 4
Last meeting: December 11, 2020: Stars d Heat by 6 wickets at Manuka Oval
Final Thoughts: Brisbane Heat are on the march and have the fifth-placed Melbourne Stars in their sights ahead of a fascinating Thursday night BBL|10 encounter.
The teams met in the second game of the season, with the Stars cruising to a six-wicket win with 17 balls left. 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.
The Heat lost their next two games, but have now won three of their last four. Mark Steketee (4/33) and Max Bryant (40 off 23) starred in a four-wicket upset of the Sixers at The Gabba on Saturday.
Joe Burns then put his Test woes behind him with 52 off 38 in another successful Brisbane run-chase against the Thunder on Monday. Englishman Joe Denly (50 off 36) also notched a half-century as the Heat ran down the target of 175 with five balls to spare.
The pre-season tournament favourite Stars are just three points ahead of the Heat on the BBL ladder. But they snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday with a 10-run win over the Hurricanes, who had beaten them by 21 runs just two days earlier.
The previously out-of-sorts Marcus Stoinis scored a blistering, unbeaten 97 off 55 to lift the Stars to 6/183. Sam Rainbird (2/22), Glenn Maxwell (0/19) and Adam Zampa (1/28) stymied the Hurricanes’ chase.
The in-form Heat are tempting value as $2.20 underdogs. But Stoinis’ resurgence tips the scales in the Stars’ favour in what should be a thrilling, high-quality clash.