With four wins out of six, Hobart Hurricanes are surely flying high in the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21. As far as Melbourne Stars are concerned, despite their two impressive wins in the first two matches, they did not taste success in the next three games. It’s safe to say that both teams have been inconsistent in the tournament so far and this match could be a great chance for them to begin their run of consistency as we are all set to enter the business end of the tournament.
It is going to be difficult for the Stars to recover from their heavy 75-run loss over Sydney Thunder in their previous game. This game could not come any faster for them as they look to bounce back with a win and perhaps look back at the first two matches, in which they pulled of terrific wins to learn a thing or two from it.
Hurricanes, on the other hand, know that a win here could potentially take them to the top of the table, at least temporarily, and would back themselves to etch out another win after a come-from-behind one-run win in the previous match against Brisbane Heat.
The Lamichhane factor
With James Faulkner set to miss out once again due to injury and Keemo Paul having an off day against Heat, we could very well see Nepal spinner Sandeep Lamichhane drafted into the side for the first time this season. Lamichhane is no stranger to the BBL, having represented Stars earlier, but he could be playing his first match of the season against them this time. If he is included in the side, it will most likely be in place of Paul, who was belted for 41 runs in three overs in the match against Heat. In that case, Hurricanes’ batting would become a tad weaker and could be forced to play an extra batsman in place of a bowler.
The best idea could be to get in Johan Botha – who is eligible to play as a local player – in for leg-spinner Wil Parker, with Lamichhane replacing Paul.
Also, the form of D’Arcy Short has not been particularly great, having scored just 30 runs from four innings since his 72 against Strikers. His place to could be up for grabs. They have the likes of youngsters Mitchell Owen or Macalister Wright to fill in, if needed.
Hurricanes likely XI: D Arcy Short, Ben McDermott (wk), Dawid Malan, Peter Handscomb (c), Colin Ingram, Tim David, Keemo Paul/Sandeep Lamichhane, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Wil Parker/Johan Botha, Riley Meredith
The Zampa conundrum
With Adam Zampa suspended for this game, it is a huge loss for the Stars, who will not have their main spinner. Zampa has picked up seven wickets at 18.57 and an economy rate of just over eight in four matches this season and Glenn Maxwell would have counted on having the leg-spinner for this crucial tie, as his team looks to bounce back from two straight losses.
However, that will not be the case, but it gives an opportunity for some other player to stake claim for the place. It will most likely be the chinaman bowler Clint Hinchcliffe who will take Zampa’s place. Hinchcliffe picked up two wickets from three games this season already. However, if Stars decide to go in for a like-for like replacement, they have the option of playing Tom O’Connell, who played the washed out game against Perth Scorchers, in the XI.
Melbourne Stars likely XI: Ben Dunk, Andre Fletcher, Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Nic Maddinson, Clint Hinchcliffe, Liam Hatcher, Billy Stanlake, Zahir Khan
Match: Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Stars, BBL 2020-21, Match 23
Where: Bellerive Oval, Hobart
When: January 2, 2021 (Saturday)
Time: 11:35 AM