• Home
  • Cricket News
  • Bbl Matchday 2 Preview Melbourne Stars Take On Depleted Brisbane Heat

BBL Matchday 2 Preview | Melbourne Stars take on depleted Brisbane Heat

The second match of Big Bash Legue would feature Melbourne Stars taking on a depleted Brisbane Heat side. The latter team would be without its regular opening batsman Tom Banton as he withdrew from the tournament. Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne are also missing due to their place in the Australian Test squad. 

On the other side, Melbourne Stars too would be missing key players in the form of Jonny Bairstow and Will Pucovski. While Bairstow, like his compatriot Banton, withdrew from the league, Pucovski was supposed to be away playing for Australia A but sustained a blow on the head which ruled out of that match as well. Luckily for Stars, their other key players are ready to go, including Glenn Maxwell, the captain whose red-hot form would be a big plus for the team.

The spin bowling attack of Heat has been completely defanged due to both Mitchell Swepson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman not ready to play. This means that even in the bowling department, there is a clear edge for the Melbourne team. 

Batting Disparity

Stars clearly have an advantage when it comes to the batting department. Despite not having Bairstow in the line-up, they still have Maxwell, whose prowess in limited-overs cricket is renowned. To assist him, Marcus Stoinis would be in the line-up as well. 

Stoinis' batting abilities have come into full view in recent times, especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The pair of Maxwell and Stoinis could wreak havoc in the middle overs if they get going. Another exciting player in the Stars' line-up is West Indian Nicholas Pooran. Supremely talented, he has scored runs both in T20 leagues as well as international level. 

Another West Indian, wicketkeeper-batsman Andre Fletcher, is another powerhouse. Though he hasn't enjoyed the level of stardom that many of his compatriots have.

Compared to this, Heat would be disproportionately reliant on Chris Lynn. Considering the fact that he hasn't been in good form this year, both in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and IPL, the Brisbane-based team will have to bat out of their skins to match their opponents. 

Bowling Strength

The bowling attacks of both teams would be exciting to watch. Here, we have a more even contest. Brisbane have brought in Morne Morkel. He could be the difference maker for his tea. Alongside him, there will be the experienced Ben Laughlin. Mitch Swepson and Mujeeb ur Rahman, the spinners in the squad, are both unavailable currently.

On the other side, Stars have a very skillful pair of new ball bowlers in Nathan Coulter Nile and Billy Stanlake. While the former is good at swinging the ball, the latter has the ability to get some extra bounce. 

To make things even better for Melbourne, they will also have the services of their leading spinner Adam Zampa. Coming off a good series against India, his confidence would be high. Stars have another spinner in their squad, chinaman bowler Zahir Khan. As of now, Zampa will be picked ahead of him. But if the pitch is dry, perhaps both can play. 

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat: Match Details

Venue: Manuka Oval, Canberra

Broadcasters: Sony Sports Network, Sony LIV

Date and Time: December 11, 1:45 PM IST, 7:15 PM Local, 8:15 AM IST

Pitch Report

The pitch in Canberra was used recently for the India vs Australia ODI and T20I series. As expected, it was flat and produced a whole heap of runs. Lenght balls were punished mercilessly by batsmen and only the best yorkers seemed to be safe. Another high-scoring match can be expected. Short boundaries will also mean more sixes. 

Weather and Toss

Clouds may come over in the evening but they are not likely to be rain-bearing. Otherwise, it would be a cool and comfortable time for both teams. What the captains decide at toss will have more to do with their teams - whether they are more comfortable chasing or defending. 

Probable XI

Melbourne Stars: Nic Maddinson, Ben Dunk, Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell (C), Nicholas Pooran, Andre Fletcher (Wk), Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Billy Stanlake, Jackson Coleman

Brisbane Heat: Max Bryant, Chris Lynn (C), Dan Lawrence, Sam Heazlett, Tom Cooper, Jimmy Peirson (Wk), Lewis Gregory, Matthew Kuhnemann, Ben Laughlin, Morne Morkel, Xavier Bartlett

Powered by Froala Editor

Powered by Froala Editor

Discover more
Top Stories

BBL 2020 Team Preview: Brisbane look to Heat up their performance in season 10

Brisbane Heat is an underachieving team in the short history of Big Bash League. They won the title in the 2012/13 season but since then, have made it to the finals series just once, in 2016/17 season. Last year, they came a cropper once again and ended up at the second-last position. This time, the team would be without some of their most important players from the ninth edition. South African genius AB de Villiers is not in the team, nor is the impressive Matt Renshwaw. On the bowling front, James Pattinson, who bowled well in the latter part of the previous season, is not part of the squad too. To make matters worse, Tom Banton, who enjoyed some success last year, opening the innings, had to withdraw from the league due to mental stress caused by living in bio-bubbles. Another overseas players, rising spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman from Afghanistan has contracted COVID infection. This has thrown the team balance and equation into some flux. Replacing these players isn't easy. Certainly, de Villiers is irreplacable. But there is some compensation for the Queensland-based side. Morne Morkel has been picked up in the squad, though, as a local player. The former South Africa pacer, after retiring from international cricket, has settled down in Australia with his wife and, after gaining rights for permanent residence, now is qualified to be selected as a local player, not overseas. This is a huge gain for the former champions. Morkel has proven himself across the world as a top-class performer. Even in T20 leagues, he has managed to produce impressive results. With his height, he is well endowed to utilise the extra bounce available in Australia. He also knows the best length to deliver on such pitches. Batting Strength Brisbane's batting capabilities are severely compromised due to the presence of their players in the Australian Test squad for the series against India. Joe Burns and Marnus Labuschagne are going to be away. In their absence, Chris Lynn becomes the leading batsman in the side. Lynn has become a leading T20 batsman around the world. Unfortunately, his form isn't looking all that good either. In Caribbean Premier League (CPL), he didn't produce enough runs and spent most of his time in Indian Premier League on the benches for the eventual champions Mumbai Indians. With Banton having withdrawan from the league, focus shifts to his replacement. Luckily for Heat, they have signed on a highly talented youngster in England's Dan Lawrence. He has been getting runs across formats in English domestic cricket, including in the T20 Blast. To add to his credentials, he has knowledge of Australian conditions thanks to a tour with England Lions where he plundered nearly 500 runs. Coach of Heat, Darren Lehmann expressed his happiness with the signing of Lawrence. "Dan is a really exciting pick-up for us and has a good reputation as a young player who can influence results with his skills and experience. He caught the eye during the Lions tour with the way he adapted so successfully to local conditions and that is something we think will help at the start of the tournament when we are playing in Canberra and at the Gabba and Metricon Stadium," Lehmann said. Lawrence himself is thrilled with his opportunity. "The BBL is a bit of a staple diet for us at home during our winter and it will be enormous to be a part of the League out there this summer. The Lions tour was a rewarding one for a lot of the squad and we certainly enjoyed the competitive cricket we got. We were able to play in some excellent venues during the tour. We didn’t get to play at the Gabba but we had a match at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast which was great." Two other talented batsmen in the team are Sam Heazlett and Max Bryant. Heazlett got one fifty in the last season but has been, otherwise, without any success in T20 cricket. This season, with vacancies opening up in the batting line-up, the 25-year old should get ample opportunity to show his talent. He has already made his international debut, in an ODI against New Zealand earlier this year. A good return in BBL would bring him back in contention for a spot in Australian national team. Bryant opened the innings on several occassions last season. But he turned out to be a big disappointment, averaging just 14.50 in 10 matches. Eventually, he lost his opening spot to Chris Lynn who moved up the order. But that isn't the whole story as far as this young batsman is concerned. When one looks at his overall BBL record, it is a little more convincing. In 24 matches, he has scored 480 runs, including two half-centuries, at an average of 21.82. His strike rate of 148.15 is eye catching. In fact, in the eighth season of BBL, he and Ben Cutting combined to score 94 in the six overs of Power Play, in a match against Melbourne Renegades. Tom Cooper has been a veteran in BBL and has played every season since the inception of the league. After spending the past nine editions with Melbourne Renegades, he has now come over to Heat. A former Netherlands international, Cooper has 75 BBL matches under his belt. Experience is also an asset with the wicketkeeper batsman Jimmy Peirson. He has been in a BBL match 60 times and has managed an average of 19. This may look ordinary but unlike wicketkeepers who prefer batting in the top order, Peirson is in the old mould, providing boost lower in the order, thanks to a strike rate of 123.12. In conclusion, it can be said that the batting stocks of Brisbane Heat have diminished considerably since last season. The mammoth hole in their line-up left by AB de Villiers cannot be fully filled up. It will require a big return to form from Lynn to provide weight of runs to his side. Heat would also be hoping that players such as Lawrence, Heazlett, and Bryant step up to score more runs they have so far. Bowling Prowess The Test series between Australia and India hasn't just affected the batting department of Heat. Among the players that would be on Australia duty is Mitchell Swepson. A highly useful leg-spinner, Swepson has been a long-time servant of Heat and has more wickets than any other tweaker for the Brisbane-based team. With him away with the Australian Test side, the player to take the load of spin bowling for the team would have been Afghan unorthodox off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman. Unfortunately, as stated above, Rehman's testing positive for COVID has ruled him out of the early part of the season. As a result, Heat would only have part time spinners to rely on in the begining of their season. Unless they opt for the relatively unheralded Matt Kuhnemann. A slow left-arm spinner, Kuhnemann is a largely unknown commodity in this league. When he does get ready to play, though, Mujeeb can be a very tricky bowler for Australian batsmen. A man with many variations in his bowling armoury, Mujeeb has managed to clamber up the T20I bowler rankings thanks to impressive performances last year. The success of his compatriot Rashid Khan in BBL would also motivate him to go further. The pace bowling department of Heat looks more assured. Morne Morkel's addition to the squad cannot be overstated. With his tonnes of experience, he could be the difference maker this season. He would also provide much needed guidance to other bowlers in the group. Among them is young Xavier Bartlett. Yet to play a BBL match, he has been with the team for some years. Now 21, with experience of 13 List A matches under his belt, he may finally be ready to get going on the big stage. At the other end of the age spectrum is 37-year old Ben Laughlin. With over 100 wickets in the league, he would have spearheaded his team's attack if it wasn't for the entry of Morkel. Still, his experience would be very useful. Last season did not go as well for him as expected. An economy rate of 8.77 and a strike rate just under 18 isn't very impressive. But that was the case with other bowlers in the team also. Another useful seamer in the squad is Mark Steketee. His stocks have risen in the last few days thanks to a brilliant performance against the Indian team in a practice match. He picked up a five-for in the second innings, which, though not necessarily a harbinger of success in an entirely different format, is a proof of his ability. Conclusion A depleted batting line-up and a temporarily deganged spin attack are not an auspicious sign for Heat at the begining of the season. But the experience in their pace attack and young talent in the batting department are things which captain Lynn and coach Lehmann would be hoping sees them through. One big positive for the side is the fact that they would play seven of their matches, that is half, at home. This enlarged home advantage has to be used by the former champions to buttress their chances of getting to the title a second time.


Cricket South Africa confirms first tour of Pakistan in 13 years

The South Africa cricket team will tour Pakistan for the first time in 15 years in the January-February window next year for a T20 and Test series, Cricket South Africa has said in its release. The Proteas will play three T20Is and two Test matches from January 26. The Proteas will arrive in the country on January 16 and will undergo quarantine before they could begin training for the series and they will also play an intra-squad match to get ready for the first Test that will be played in Karachi from January 26, followed by the second Test from 4 February in Rawalpindi. The Test series will be quickly followed by a three-match T20I series scheduled to take place on February 11, 13 and 14 in Lahore. Notably, South Africa will be the only fourth team in the world to have agreed to tour Pakistan after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009 which led to international teams and their players showing hesitation and strong reluctance to return to the country. South Africa had toured Pakistan the last time under the captaincy of Graeme Smith, and the tourists had won the Test series 1-0 while the ODI series was won by the margin of 3-2. The Test series was an iconic one as one of the best batsmen of Pakistan, Inzamam-ul-Haq played his last Test match of a decorated career in the final Test of the series and missed out on breaking Javed Miandad’s record as the leading run-scorer of Pakistan’s cricket team at that time by just 3 runs. 15 years later, Graeme Smith is in a different role for the South African side as he is the Director of Cricket with CSA and he has welcomed the confirmation of tour and lauded the ‘cricket-loving’ people of Pakistan while also thanking them for giving enormous support on the previous tours when he was there in the country as a player and the captain of the Proteas team. “It’s pleasing to see so many countries making a return to Pakistan – a proud, cricket-loving nation. Cricket South Africa is delighted to be counted among them. As someone who has toured the country on more than one occasion back in my playing days, I know how much passion the people of Pakistan have for the game as well as the love and support that the Proteas enjoy there as a team,” Graeme Smith said. Tour Schedule 26-30 January – 1st Test, Karachi 04-08 February – 2nd Test, Rawalpindi 11 February – 1st T20I, Lahore 13 February – 2nd T20I, Lahore 14 February – 3rd T20I, Lahore Powered by Froala Editor


BBL Matchday 1 Preview | Sydney Sixers and Hobart Hurricanes to kick start season 10

Defending champions from the last season, Sydney Sixers would feature in the opening match of this season as they take on Hobart Hurricanes at the Bellerive Oval, in latter team's city. Both sides would be missing key players due to their presence in the Australian team as well as some international imports who are coming later in the season. Sixers enjoyed a great season last year where they performed strongly in the league phase and remained clinical in the finals also to win the title. Hurricanes, on the other hand, reached the play-offs but couldn't progress further. However, starting the season at their home ground does given them a good chance in this match. Sixer's Combination This year, they would be missing Steve Smith as the latter would be busy with the Australian national side. So would be Mitchell Starc, though he thinks he could make an appearance towards the end of the season. So, the Sydney team would be relying heavily on last season's find Ben Dwarshuis. He would lead the attack and hope for good support from the other frontline bowlers in the team, as well as the all-rounders who have a good presence in the team. In the absence of Tom Curran, who also withdrew due to the stress of being in bio-bubbles, the Sixers would have to rely on the expertise of bowlers such as Jackson Bird and Gurinder Sandhu with the new ball. But there are some very prominent names among the all-rounders who can make a mark. Carlos 'Remember the Name' Brathwaite has been signed up by the team. Along with him, there is captain Moises Henriques and Daniel Christian. All three of these players are capable bowlers. All three are all-rounders as well, which will help balacne the team. The batting looks more solid with the enigmatic James Vince in the line-up. Vince, a failure at the international level, has been very impressive in T20 leagues, especially BBL. His opening combination with Josh Philippe is likely to continue. The likes of Daniel Hughes and Jordan Silk will have to take greater responsibility in the absence of Steve Smith. Henriques too, now becomes the most crucial element of the middle order witih Smith not in the line-up. West Indian Brathwaite has a great opportunity to regain some of that stardom which he gained after his heroics in the final of World T20 in 2016. He would be used in the lower order to give a much-needed boost to the team. Hurricanes' on Home Soil Hurricanes would not just be playing at home but may be favorities owing to the presence of some highly capable players. D'Arcy Short and Matthew Wade formed a devastating opening partnership last season. If Wade plays in the first match, this opening pair would pose a great threat to the opposition. A lot would also depend on captain Peter Handscomb. The nuggety batsman has managed to carve a niche for himself in the shortest format also. His appointment as captain shows the faith this team have shown in him. While not a big striker of the cricket ball, Handscomb may be useful in the middle overs to keep the scoreboard moving at a decent pace. An important addition to the team is South African Collin Ingram. He adds much needed experience to the middle order as well as big-hitting ability. Handscomb and Ingram's addition makes the batting line-up look a lot more reliable. The bowling department would be enthused by the entry of veteran South African Johan Botha. Out of international cricket for nearly nine years, Botha's comeback into the league is a surprise. But he would add experience to the bowling unit. The main focus, however, would be on last season's star performer with the ball for this team, Nathan Ellis. He proved to be the perfect T20-style bowler with yorkers and slower balls in his armoury. Ellis' efforts last year played a key part in taking his team to the play-offs. He should get good help from James Faulkner. Once a member of Australia's World Cup-winning squad, Faulkner can get the ball to bounce sharply from the left-arm over angle. Not to mention, Faulkner is also a very dangerous batsman down the order. Two other men would be in contention to be members of the pace battery. Scott Boland is the local option while Keemo Paul from West Indies has been brought over with great hopes also. Paul would be ahead on the pecking list at the moment. Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers: Match Details Venue: Bellerieve Oval, Hobart Broadcast: Sony Sports Network, Sony LIV Date and Timing: December 10, 1:45 PM IST, 7:15 PM Local, 8:15 AM GMT Pitch Report The pitch at Hobart is different from the ones at other venues of the country. In first class matches, it provides great help to swing bowlers. Jackson Bird had been very successful here in the past thanks to that quality of the wicket. However, for a T20 match, there isn't likely to be too much grass. That should make the surface more batsmen-friendly. Weather and Toss Weather is expected to suit the players by remaining cool. Some clouds are expected to appear in the skies but not threaten any rain. Since it's an evening match, the captain winning the toss may not be too bothered about batting first and second. In such situations, batting first seems to be the default option. Probable XIs Hobart Hurricanes: D'Arcy Short, Matthew Wade, Colin Ingram, Peter Handscomb (C), David Moody, Ben McDermott (Wk), James Faulkner, Johan Botha, Nathan Ellis, Scott Boland, Macalister Wright Sydney Sixers: Josh Philippe (Wk), James Vince, Daniel Hughes, Moises Henriques (C), Jordan Silk, Jack Edwards, Carlos Brathwaite, Daniel Christian, Steve O'Keefe, Ben Dwarshuis, Jackson Bird Dream11 Fantasy League Team: Josh Philippe, James Vince, Colin Ingram, Peter Handscomb, Moises Henriques, Jordan Silk, James Faulkner, Carlos Brathwaite, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Steve O'Keefe