It promises to be a blockbuster Saturday as the Melbourne Stars will be up against their arch-rivals Sydney Thunder in the final of the 2020 Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) at the North Sydney Oval ground.
There hasn't been any shortage of excitement for the fans, as the sixth edition of the WBBL has been one of the most closely-fought tournaments with most of the games going all the way down to the wire.
After finishing at the bottom of the points table in the last edition of the WBBL, this season has seen quite a turnaround from the Melbourne Stars. With Meg Lanning back in the team and leading the side, the Stars have been dominant from the get-go. This positive approach has yielded them massive dividends, as they topped the league table with 19 points.
On the other hand, the Sydney Thunder have been one of the most consistent teams in the 2020 WBBL. Their squad is a nice blend of international stars and young and upcoming talent from the domestic circuit. While the Thunder won the inaugural edition of the WBBL, they have struggled in the past couple of seasons of the competition, though.
Nevertheless, the WBBL 2020 summit clash promises to be an exciting contest, as Melbourne Stars are on the brink of creating history while the Sydney Thunder would want to make amends and clinch their second title in the competition.
WBBL 2020 Final: Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Match Details
Date: 28th November, 2020 (Saturday)
Time: 1:40 PM IST
Venue: North Sydney Oval, Sydney.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder: Weather Report
The weather at the North Sydney Oval is expected to be relatively cooler with the temperature expected to hover in the early 20s.
While the first few games in WBBL 2020 at the venue were washed out or interrupted by rain, the forecast for the Saturday final is clear, and a full match of 40 overs is expected to take place.
However, one of the big factors in the two semi-finals in WBBL 2020 was the gusty winds blowing across the ground. That could be at play in the final too, something the batters attempting big strokes need to be wary of.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder: Pitch Report
The WBBL 2020 final is expected to be played on the same surface that was used in the second semi-final between the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder.
While the wicket started off relatively slow in the first few overs of the first innings, the pitch got slightly better under the lights, with the ball coming on to the bat. The same could be on the cards in the WBBL 2020 final too.
However, in a crunch game like the final, the pressure of a run chase could be tough to handle, and regardless of the surface on offer, the captain winning the toss is likely to look to bat first.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Predicted XIs
The Melbourne Stars have been one of the most dominant sides in this edition of the WBBL, with eight wins in their 14 league games. Led by Meg Lanning, the Stars have one of the most formidable batting units and have been heavily reliant on their batting lineup during the competition.
Nevertheless, the emergence of young spinners in Sophie Day and Alana King has strengthened the bowling department which features the experienced England opening bowlers, Katherine Brunt and Natalie Sciver.
The Girls in Green played a near-perfect game in the semi-final against the Scorchers and are expected to stick with the same playing-XI against Sydney Thunder.
Predicted XI: Meg Lanning, Elyse Villani, Mignon du Preez, Natalie Sciver, Annabel Sutherland, Tess Flintoff, Alana King, Nicole Faltum, Sophie Day, Erin Osborne, Katherine Brunt.
Sydney Thunder have one of the most astute leaders in the women's game in Rachael Haynes, who is at the team's helm too. With years of international experience under her belt, the southpaw single-handedly shouldered the responsibility of the side in the batting department against the Brisbane Heat in the semi-final.
The bowling unit of the Thunder will be stepping onto the field with immense confidence after defending a fighting total of 143 runs in the all-important semi-final. The Thunder will not want to tinker with their winning combination and are expected to play with the same XI that took the field against the Heat.
Predicted XI: Tammy Beaumont, Rachel Trenaman, Heather Knight, Rachael Haynes (C), Tahlia Wilson (WK), Lauren Smith, Pheobe Litchfield, Sammy Jo-Johnson, Hannah Darlington, Shabnim Ismail, Sam Bates.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder: Match Prediction
With a win in their league-stage clash against the Thunder, the Melbourne Stars will step onto the field as favourites to lift the coveted WBBL trophy. They have a formidable team on paper, and the quality of cricket being played by the side in the past couple of weeks has been top-notch.
On the other hand, the Sydney outfit will be heavily reliant on their two premier players, Rachael Haynes and Heather Knight, to produce match-winning performances and take their team past the finish line.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder TV and live streaming details:
TV: Sony Six, Sony Six HD.
Live Streaming: SonyLiv, Cricket Australia.