The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for a 1 v 2 blockbusters between the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers.
History: Played 10: Stars 6 V Sixers 4
Last meeting: February 10, 2019: Stars d Sixers by 94 runs at MCG
Final Thoughts: It’s a top-of-the-table clash in the BBL on Sunday night as the front-running Melbourne Stars host the second-placed Sydney Sixers. This is the in-form sides’ first encounter of the season.
The 7-1 Stars have won their last five in a row. They pounded the Thunder (6 wickets) and Renegades (7 wickets) in the past four days.
Glenn Maxwell’s ODI squad snubbing is paying dividends for the Stars, top-scoring with 59* off 37 and 83* off 45 respectively in their last two games.
The 6-2 Sixers are also on a five-game tear. Josh Philippe (83* off 52) led them to a seven-wicket win over the Strikers last Sunday.
The Sixers made tough work of Wednesday’s chase – again versus the Strikers – after Tom Curran’s 4/22 helped restrict their opponents to 135. But they got home with two wickets and eight balls to spare.
The Stars won both clashes with the Sixers last season comfortably.
They cruised to a five-wicket victory at the SCG in December. Jordan Silk (41*) played a lone hand as Sydney scratched their way to 9/130. Peter Handscomb’s powerful 70 of 35 balls laid the platform as Melbourne claimed victory with five overs to spare.
The result was even more emphatic at the MCG in the last match of the BBL regular season. Maxwell (82 off 43) dominated as the Stars reached 6/168. The Sixers could only manage 74 in reply, all out in the 14th over.
The Stars are without Australian ODI squad members Handscomb and Adam Zampa. The Sixers’ only ODI absentee is Steve Smith, who is yet to line up in the BBL this season. Test star Nathan Lyon and paceman Sean Abbott are on the Sixers’ injured list.
The Stars look a little short as $1.57 favourites – the Sixers are in very good touch and present plenty of value at $2.42 head-to-head.
Meanwhile, despite captain Maxwell’s middle-order heroics, Marcus Stoinis still looks the best Top Batsman option for the Stars. The opener’s duck against the Renegades snapped a run of three straight half-centuries, but he is enjoying a fabulous campaign.
Philippe and James Vince are the go-to batsmen in the Sixers line-up.