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Big Bash League 2018-19: Match 42, Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat - Preview and Predicted Playing XI

Dwijesh Reddy
OFFICIAL
Preview
907   //    26 Jan 2019, 14:42 IST

The Stars have been brilliant of late with two straight victories
The Stars have been brilliant of late with two straight victories

With the Big Bash League into its final phase, where it is a break it or make it for the teams middling around in the table. Melbourne Stars and Brisbane Heat have had fairly similar campaigns with just three points separating the two with the Stars playing a game extra. 

Melbourne Stars have been unstoppable in the recent matches with their premier players, Stoinis, Bravo, Maxwell and Zampa returning to the side with great success. On the other hand, Brisbane Heat have been heavily dependant on their top three with their results directly influenced by the Bash Brothers. 

With the race for the semi-final spots still wide open, both teams should give their best to gain two vital points at this stage of the tournament.


Melbourne Stars:

Batting:

Ben Dunk and Marcus Stoinis were at their best against the defending champions, Melbourne Stars, and more of the same is expected from the two openers. Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Peter Handscomb form a fearsome middle-order worth envying and would be key to overcoming the challenges posed by Mujeeb ur Rahman. 

Bowlers:

Liam Plunkett has been superb for the Stars and has slotted in perfectly for Sandeep Lamichhane since his debut. The Englishman has picked up eleven wickets in just six matches and has been ably supported by Dwayne Bravo and Adam Zampa who have been tough to put away on most occasions.

With the luxury of two world-class all-rounders and Glenn Maxwell's off-spin, Tom O'Connell has been sparing used and would come to use with the number of right-handers in the Brisbane Heat side.

Expected Playing XI:

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Marcus Stoinis, Ben Dunk, Peter Handscomb (WK), Glenn Maxwell (C), Nic Maddinson, Evan Gulbis, Dwayne Bravo, Adam Zampa, Liam Plunkett, Jackson Bird and Tom O'Connell.


Brisbane Heat:

Batting: 

Chris Lynn, Brendan McCullum and Max Bryant have been doing great with all three of them going past the 150 run mark this season. In spite of their good performances, no other batsman other than Ben Cutting has contributed to the cause and has seen Heat falter on more than just one occasion. The likes of Alex Ross and Jimmy Pierson have to step up if they are to even compete against an all-conquering Stars side.

Bowling:

Mujeeb ur Rahman has been their standout bowler and oppositions have played him very carefully. In spite of having an economy of under 6, the other bowlers haven't done fired in unison.

Lalor took a fifer in the previous match against the Sixers yet the Heat still conceded an above par score. More responsibility is to be taken by the likes of Mitchell Swepson and Ben Cutting. Early strikes for their star spinner is the only way the Heat can open up the untested yet fearsome middle order.

Expected Playing XI:

Max Bryant, Brendon McCullum, Chris Lynn(C), Matt Renshaw, Alex Ross, Jimmy Pierson(WK), Ben Cutting, Josh Lalor, Brendan Doggett, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mitch Swepson

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