After going down tamely in the earlier fixture, Melbourne Stars will be looking to bounce back against the Hobart Hurricanes when the two teams clash in Match 27 of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21 at the Gabba, Brisbane in a bid to resurrect their fading campaign. The Stars started the tournament off well with two wins, but are going through a slump having lost three in a row now.
It all started on the Boxing Day, when they had set Sydney Sixers a target of 194 at The Carrara Oval. After being in the match for most chunks, a Daniel Hughes special, combined with some big hitting down the order took the match away from them by the narrowest of margins. The Stars never managed to recover from that and have slumped to two more defeats in as many matches. A win, however, could change things around for them and given that they played the Hurricanes in their previous match, they could iron out their flaws and get back into winning ways.
It will, however, not be easy given that the Hurricanes are themselves coming off the back of back-to-back impressive wins and could very well complete a double against the last season’s finalists. However, it will not be easy as they come up against a wounded Stars side, who are desperately in need of a win.
Scope for improvement
Both Stars and Hurricanes face an issue when it comes to the openers, with D’Arcy Short and Andre Fletcher having not fired all guns this season. While Fletcher has scored just 62 runs from six innings and Short since his 72 against Adelaide Strikers has scored just 42 more runs from five innings. Another failure could result in both teams looking for an alternative. With at least one wicket falling inside the powerplay, it becomes the responsibility of the middle-order to absorb the pressure and at the same time ensure that they do not get bogged, which cannot always be easy.
However, despite the fact that the opening partnership not doing particularly well, the top-order (1-3), of the Hurricanes have aggregated much better than the stars, indicating that the latter further have their task cut out. The arrival of Dawid Malan has certainly helped the Hurricanes’ cause, meanwhile, it has been a collective failure for the Stars, whose top three scored 10, 7 and 8 in the previous match against the Hurricanes.
The Stars may have to play without Nic Maddinson, who injured himself while fielding and as a result and was consequently replaced by X-Factor sub Lance Morris. Stars could consider getting in Nathan Coulter-Nile into the XI, which will not just better their bowling attack, but also improve their batting lower down the order. If they want to go in for a batsman, Nick Larkin is also at their disposal. With Adam Zampa too available for this match after serving his one-match ban, he could be roped into the XI in place of Sam Rainbird.
Stars likely XI: Andre Fletcher, Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ben Dunk, Nathan Coulter-Nile/Nick Larkin, Liam Hatcher, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Zahir Khan.
For the Hurricanes, Sandeep Lamichhane came into the side and had an immediate impact, picking up a couple of wickets. He came in for Keemo Paul and if they feel the need to play another pacer, they can get him back in place of the Nepal leg-spinner. But then, Johan Botha will be the only spinner for the side, in which case there might not be a right balance. Hence, the Hurricanes might play the same XI for this match as well.
Hurricanes likely XI: D’Arcy Short, Ben McDermott (wk), Dawid Malan, Peter Handscomb (c), Colin Ingram, Tim David, Johan Botha, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Riley Meredith, Sandeep Lamichhane.
Match: Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes, BBL 2020-21, Match 27
Where: The Gabba, Brisbane
When: January 4, 2021 (Monday)
Time: 10.35 AM IST