The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips as the pressure valve cranks up on the Strikers and Stars.
History: Played 11: Strikers 6 V Stars 5
Last meeting: January 22, 2020: Strikers d Stars by 11 runs at Adelaide Oval
Final Thoughts: Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Stars square off twice this week – a double showdown that could have enormous ramifications on both teams’ BBL|10 playoffs hopes.
The Stars have slipped to second-last on the ladder after losing four of their last five games. But they have a game in hand and sit just two points behind the fourth-placed Strikers, who have also hit a rough patch in recent times.
The Stars snapped a three-game losing run last Monday, with Marcus Stoinis’ (97* off 55) sensational return to form spearheading a 10-run win over the Hurricanes. But they fell short in a 10-overs-a-side clash with the Heat on Thursday, despite some late shot-making from Nick Larkin (35* off 16).
The Strikers claimed a much-needed 60-run victory over the hapless Renegades last Tuesday. Jake Weatherald (51 off 25), Ryan Gibson (43* off 31) and Peter Siddle (3/16) all made big contributions. But a last-over, six-wicket loss to the Renegades on Friday – in spite of excellent innings from Phil Salt (59 off 42) and Alex Carey (42 off 25) – was Adelaide’s third in four matches.
Strikers shoot for three straight against Stars
The Strikers inflicted two of the table-topping Stars’ four regular-season losses in BBL|09.
Jonathan Wells’ 68* off 46 led the Strikers to 4/174 on the Gold Coast. The Stars fell just five runs short after Glenn Maxwell (43 off 25) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (20* off 8) gave them a late sniff.
Wells (55* off 36) carried off Player of the Match honours again in an 11-run victory in Adelaide. Peter Siddle took 4/33 to help restrict the Stars to 8/151.
The head-to-head market for this clash, though, looks about right with the Stars as $1.74 favourites. They will be looking to skipper Glenn Maxwell to lead from the front after missing out with 6 and 0 in his last two innings. But consecutive scores of 97 not out and 34 from the previously out-of-sorts Stoinis bodes well for a late-season surge from the pre-tournament favourites.