Melbourne Stars who had a win% of 52.34 will take on Sydney Thunder who had least win% of 31.03. In head-to-head encounters, 8 matches were played with Sydney Thunder winning 5 and Melbourne Stars 3 with Sydney Thunder winning each of their last four encounters.
Venue: The Manuka Oval, Canberra
Date: December 21, 2018
Kick-Off: 1:45 PM, IST
The Manuka Oval sports a pitch that has traditionally been a very good batting surface. Since the wicket at this ground is expected to remain unchanged across the 40 overs, the team that wins the ‘bat flip’ here in this match would be happy to chase.
Average 1st innings score: 189
Average 2nd innings score: 180
After Joe Root and Jos Buttler have signed up for Sydney Thunder, skipper Shane Watson and the head coach Shane Bond, expect the duo will boost their batting line-up. While Daniel Sams and Watson will lead the pace attack, Fawad Ahmed and Arjun Nair will be the tweakers.
The Stars have roped in all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who is set to lead the team in BBL 2018. Glenn Maxwell will hold the key for Melbourne Stars at the top while Marcus Stoinis and Dwayne Bravo will be the key figures in the middle order. Scott Boland, Sandeep Lamichhane and Adam Zampa are the specialist bowlers in the side.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Jos Buttler (wk), Shane Watson, Callum Ferguson, Joe Root, Jason Sangha, Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Chris Green, Gurinder Sandhu, Sam Rainbird, Fawad Ahmed
Ben Dunk (wk), Travis Dean, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Nick Larkin, Evan Gulbis, Dwayne Bravo, Adam Zampa, Scott Boland, Sandeep Lamichhane, Jackson Bird
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Fawad Ahmed, the Thunder’s best bowler last year with 12 wickets.
Shane Watson with 331 runs last season, the fifth most of any player.
Maxwell scored the most runs for the team last year 299 runs which included three fifties, BBL stats of 2310 runs, 186 fours, and 106 sixes.
Jos Buttler was also brilliant, almost scraping into the top 20 run scorers despite playing just six games has S/R of above 140 against both right and left arm fast bowlers.
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