The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips as the Stars and Strikers lock horns in a pivotal MCG clash.
History: Played 12: Strikers 7 V Stars 5
Last meeting: January 11, 2021: Strikers d Stars by 5 wickets at Adelaide Oval
Final Thoughts: Melbourne Stars and Adelaide Strikers square off for the second time this week. The Strikers are looking to consolidate their spot in the BBL’s top five with a repeat result, while the Stars need to turn things around to stay in the playoffs hunt.
Adelaide carved out a five-wicket win at home on Monday night. Marcus Stoinis (47 off 31) and Nic Maddinson (48* off 34) held together an otherwise disappointing Stars innings of 7/149. Wes Agar (2/19) was the pick of the Strikers bowlers.
While no Strikers batsman kicked on, the chase always looked in hand. Phil Salt (31 off 22), Jonathan Wells (36 off 27) and Ryan Gibson (22* off 13) saw the Strikers home with an over to spare. Adam Zampa (2/20) and Glenn Maxwell (1/19) did their best to stem the tide but the Stars’ seamers were expensive.
It was the Strikers’ third straight victory over the Stars, also winning both encounters against the ladder leaders in BBL|09.
The Stars – pre-tournament favourites – are in a hole, having lost five of their last six. The superstar-laden line-up is now second-last, four points from fifth, albeit with a game in hand. They will be hoping their first match in Melbourne sparks a change of fortunes; the Stars went 5-2 at the MCG last season.
The 5-5 Strikers sit fourth and have won two of their last three, but will leave themselves vulnerable with a loss here.
Maxwell has scored 6, 0 and 0 in his last three innings, while Stars top-order staples Andre Fletcher and Nick Larkin are also struggling for form. But I’m picking the MCG factor to prove decisive here as the hosts chase a desperately needed W.