After contrasting fortunes for both teams in their previous game, the local derby will have added value other than a sense of local pride to it. With MCG playing host to this epic match, we have another entertaining match on the cards to start of the new year.
Squads to pick from:
Michael Beer, Jackson Bird, Scott Boland, Liam Bowe, Dwayne Bravo, Jackson Coleman, Travis Dean, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jonathan Merlo, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa
Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Tim Ludeman, Joe Mennie, Mohammad Nabi, Kane Richardson, Usman Khan Shinwari, Will Sutherland, Chris Tremain, Beau Webster, Cameron White, Jack Wildermuth
Playing XI updates:
Melbourne Stars: Peter Handscomb isn't in the Melbourne Stars' squad for this one and neither is Travis Dean. Jonathan Merlo, the talented batting-allrounder, should take up Handscomb's spot with Nick Larkin opening the batting alongside Ben Dunk.
Seb Gotch could also be another option for the Stars' management. The bowling is fairly settled with Sandeep Lamichhane leading the line for the Stars.
Possible XI: Dunk(WK), Larkin, Maxwell(C), Merlo/Gotch, Stoinis, Bravo, Gulbis, Zampa, Sandeep, Coleman and Boland.
Melbourne Renegades: After a humiliating loss to the Sydney Sixers, Renegades have made a couple of changes to their squad. Misfiring opener, Tim Ludeman has not been considered this time around with Andrew Fekete drafted in at his expense.
This would mean that Mackenzie Harvey will continue to open the batting, this time with a new partner in wicketkeeper Sam Harper. Beau Webster should play instead of Ludeman and give in another option with both bat and ball.
Possible XI: Harper (WK), Harvey, White, Cooper(C), Nabi, Christian, Webster, Wildermuth, Richardson, Boyce and Usman Khan Shinwari.
Fantasy Tips and Predictions:
Wicketkeeper: Ben Dunk is the ideal choice with no other available options to go for. Dunk is going through a rough patch so far and would like to get some runs behind him that would bode well for the Stars as well in the long run.
Batsmen: Glenn Maxwell has been quite good for the Stars this season and has been handy with the ball as well. The Stars skipper, along with veteran batsman Cameron White, should be good options to go for. Either of Mackenzie Harvey or Sam Harper can opted for considering the lack of wickets from the pacers in the first six overs.
All-rounders: With as many as four potentially world-class all-rounders on offer, the ideal scenario would be to have three of them in the team with each of them providing invaluable contributions in all the facets of the game. Marcus Stoinis is yet to fire at full throttle so far and would be looking to take off against the Renegades.
Bowlers: Usman Khan Shinwari has been exceptional with the new ball and would cause problems to an out-of-form, Ben Dunk. The Stars have their own star overseas bowler in Sandeep Lamichhane, who has picked up seven wickets in his three games. Scott Boland and Kane Richardson are also good options with the long boundaries of the MCG coming into play throughout the course of the match.
Captain: Glenn Maxwell is the ideal choice for captain with the captain leading from the front with clever bowling, faultless fielding and mature-but-explosive batting. Either of Dwayne Bravo or Mohammed Nabi would also fit the bill.
Fantasy Suggestion #1: Ben Dunk (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Sam Harper, Cameron White, Dwayne Bravo, Mohammed Nabi, Daniel Christian, Kane Richardson, Usman Khan Shinwari, Sandeep Lamichhane and Scott Boland. Captain: Glenn Maxwell
Fantasy Suggestion #2: Ben Dunk (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Mackenzie Harvey, Sam Harper, Dwayne Bravo, Marcus Stoinis, Mohammed Nabi, Kane Richardson, Usman Khan Shinwari, Sandeep Lamichhane and Jackson Coleman. Captain: Mohammed Nabi