Brisbane Heat will take on Melbourne Stars at the Carrara Oval, Queensland in match number 32 of Big Bash League 2020-21 on Thursday (January 7).
With three wins and four losses, Heat (12 points) are placed at the sixth spot. Stars (15 points) have secured fifth berth after winning three out of six games they have played so far as one game was abandoned.
After losing the first three games, Heat bounced back into the tourney late with a notable improvement in their performances and registered unexpected wins over table-toppers Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers.
They will hope to continue their winning run as they take on Stars. Chris Lynn returned to his team as an x-factor in the last encounter against Thunder and it makes their batting line-up strong. He was not with the team in the previous games as he suffered a hamstring injury, however, he looks fit now and could play a key role in the upcoming clash as his side is keen to extend their impressive run. In the last game, Lynn accompanied Max Bryant and gave a fiery start to his side, smashing 30 runs off 16 balls with the help of three boundaries and two sixes.
Heat’s top run-scorer Bryant has earned 179 runs at a strike rate of 138 with the help of 20 fours and 5 sixes. The team, who suffered batting blow initially, have a decent line up now. Joe Burns added some fire at the top, while in the match against Thunder, Joe Denly stitched a match-winning partnership with Burns hitting a half-century.
For Stars, Marcus Stoinis could add power in their batting lineup. In the last game against Hobart Hurricanes, he blasted unbeaten 97 runs off 55 deliveries hitting seven sixes and as many fours. Overall he scored 196 runs at a strike rate of 39.
The legendary batsman Glenn Maxwell has scored the highest runs (255 runs) at a strike rate of 153. He hit 19 fours and 14 sixes this season so far and supported his side at the middle.
Nick Larkin, who replaced Nic Maddison could not produce runs against Hurricanes, while Halton Cartwright did not perform well at number three, however, he looked confident at number 6 in the last match. Andre Fletcher has also been in poor form at the top for Stars as he yet to surpass 18 runs.
In the bowling side, Steketee has been magnificent with his ball for Heat as he picked 12 wickets, however, his economy rate has not been up to the mark (8.36). Young Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman, who struck his maiden five-wicket haul against Hurricanes, can trouble the opponents in the upcoming encounter. Even against Sydney Sixers, he dismissed Jack Edwards and Daniel Christain to help his side win the match.
On the other hand, Liam Hatcher has been excellent with the ball for Stars, picking up ten wickets at an economy rate of 8.73. Adam Zampa has been expensive for the side this season. He bagged eight wickets in his five matches at an economy rate of 7.9. Billy Stanlake, who was expensive against Sydney Sixers, was in balanced form against Thunder taking two wickets and conceding 18 runs.
This could be an interesting contest as both the teams have made some significant changes after experiencing big losses in the ongoing event.
Melbourne Stars - Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell (c), Ben Dunk (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Dilbar Hussain, Liam Hatcher
Brisbane Heat - Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (C) , Daniel Lawrence, Tom Cooper, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Simon Milenko, Xavier Bartlett, Ben Laughlin, Matthew Kuhnemann, Mark Steketee, Mujeeb Ur Rahman