The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for the last game of the regular season – a showdown between high-profile rivals Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers.
History: Played 15: Sixers 8 V Stars 7
Last meeting: December 26, 2020: Sixers d Stars by 1 wicket at Metricon Stadium
Final Thoughts: The BBL|10 regular season closes with a repeat of last year’s final. But while the defending champion Sydney Sixers are potentially playing to claim top spot, Melbourne Stars’ chances of being in the mix for a third straight BBL Final are hanging by a thread.
The seventh-placed Stars need the Hurricanes and Heat to lose if they are to squeak into the playoffs. There’s also a chance they could bump the Strikers out with a bonus-point victory. The Stars do have the advantage of a superior net run rate over all three rivals if a tie-break situation comes into play.
The Sixers – equal with the Scorchers at the top of the ladder but with an inferior net run rate – will have a clearer understanding of the equation after Perth’s match earlier on Tuesday. But they can finish lower than second.
Stars, Sixers lose form at the wrong time
Both sides are coming off back-to-back losses.
Superb consecutive knocks from Nick Larkin (61* off 47 and 70 off 44) were not enough to get the Stars past the Renegades (5 wickets) and Scorchers (11 runs).
The Sixers lost their Friday night derby by 46 runs after allowing the Thunder to pile on 5/232. Jordan Silk (78 off 49) got the Sixers agonisingly close in a seven-run loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday. The superb form of captain Moises Henriques since returning from the Test squad has been a bright silver lining of the late-season slide, however, scoring 56 off 35 and 43 off 25 in his only two outings.
The Sixers edged the Stars by one wicket on Boxing Day in one of the all-time great BBL games. A mesmerising partnership from Glenn Maxwell (71* off 47) and Nicholas Pooran (65 off 26) lifted the Stars to 5/193. But the Sixers got home on the final ball after interim skipper Daniel Hughes (96 off 51) singlehandedly rescued them from a shaky start to their chase.
Results earlier on Tuesday may take the steam out of this regular-season closer for at least one of the combatants. Form-wise it’s hard to go past the Sixers, who offer solid value as $1.80 favourites.
The Stars need Marcus Stoinis, who has only really kicked on once this season, and Glenn Maxwell, who has five scores of six or less in his last seven games, to fire. It would be only fitting for these talent-laden sides to turn on another classic – regardless of what may or may not be at stake.