The BBL poinst table looks interesting going into Thursday's crunch double header. The Melbourne Stars will be desperate to go on a winning run heading into the second half of the tournament.
The Glenn Maxwell-led side began the tournament with back-to-back wins. However, they were brought back to reality after suffering three defeats in a row. They responded by defeating the Hobart Hurricanes on Monday and will now be looking to build on that win.
The Brisbane Heat had a contrasting start to this year's BBL, losing their first three games of the season. However, when all hope looked lost, they bounced back brilliantly.
The Heat have won three of their last four BBL fixtures and now find themselves right in the midst of the battle for a play-off spot. A win over the Melbourne Stars on Thursday will see them move up to fifth place in the BBL standings.
The last time these two sides met was in the second game of the tournament when the Melbourne Stars rolled over the Heat with relative ease.
However, with Joe Burns and Chris Lynn back, and Joe Denly looking in good knick, the Heat will be confident of putting more of a fight this time around. The Heat's chances have also been boosted by the form of Mark Steketee, who has picked up 12 wickets in just six BBL matches.
Going up against the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran will no doubt be a daunting task for the Heat bowling attack. Stoinis blasted the top-score of BBL 10 on Monday with his stunning knock of 97 runs, which included seven fours and seven sixes.
They will also be boosted by the return of Haris Rauf, who was the breakout star of last season's tournament. The Pakistan pacer has joined the Stars camp and is in line for his debut on Thursday.
BBL 2020-21, Heat vs Stars: Match prediction
Expect this match to be a much closer affair than the one we saw earlier in the season.
Joe Burns hit a match-winning half-century last time out, showing that he is slowly but surely returning to form after a tough time against India in the Test series. Joe Denly and Chris Lynn also got runs on the board in the win over the Sydney Thunder earlier this week. The Heat's youthful core of bowlers is also beginning to shine.
Beating the Melbourne Stars certainly won't be easy. The Victorian franchise only have themselves to blame for their recent slump. If their T20 specialists play to their strengths, they can match any team in world cricket.
Bowling has proved to be a weakness for the Stars in recent games. However, with Haris Rauf in contention, they will fancy their chances of restricting the Heat to a low score and getting the all-important win.
Prediction: The Melbourne Stars to winPublished 06 Jan 2021, 17:36 IST