KFC Big Bash: Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat

Batsman hits ball

We preview the top-of-the-table BBL clash between the Melbourne Stars and the Brisbane Heat set to take place at the MCG.

Tuesday’s KFC Big Bash clash will see the table-topping Melbourne Stars welcome second-placed Brisbane Heat to the MCG. The winner of this clash will be all but guaranteed a home semi-final, and possibly a home final depending on other results.

Will the Stars make home ground advantage count or can the Heat continue to grind out the results without the talismanic Chris Lynn? Let’s take a look:

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat | Tuesday 16 January | MCG | 10:30

To Win Match
Stars 62/100 | Tie 35/1 | Heat 27/20

Melbourne Stars
The Stars are definite favourites heading into this match and it’s reflected in the betting for this match. The men from Melbourne have been excellent this season. The side has been excellently led by the evergreen David Hussey. While the captain hasn’t set the world alight with his batting performances, his leadership and decision-making on the field have rendered the former Aussie international droppable.

Hussey’s side were fortunate to come away from their last game with the two points. Having been set a pretty meagre total of 152 against the Strikers, the Stars lost wickets at regular intervals in a chase that never really got going. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Ben Hilfenhaus took a liking to Wes Agar, and duly smashed 18 runs off the 18th over to effectively end the match as a contest.

Stephen Fleming will know that his side will need to put in a markedly improved performance if they are to get the better of Tuesday’s opposition. They most certainly have the personnel to do just that. Kevin Pietersen and Rob Quiney are among the competition’s leading scorers while Hilfenhaus and Scott Boland spearhead a quality attack.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not 19-year-old Liam Bowe gets another go in the side. The bespectacled left-arm orthodox bowler managed figures of 3-21-1 – not a bad return for someone so inexperienced. No doubt Darren Lehmann and the Australian management will be keeping a close eye on the youngster.

Brisbane Heat 
The Heat have it all to do at the MCG come Tuesday morning. Without the big-hitting Chris Lynn who is with the Australian squad and deprived of the services of Brendon McCullum (suspended for slow over rate), the Brisbane side will need one or two players to step up to the plate.

Without Lynn and McCullum, the Heat are without their two most potent batting weapons against a Stars attack that can run through the best batting line-ups in the competition if given a sniff. There’s now massive pressure on Joe Burns to perform.

Aside from his 51* against the Sixers, the Australian international has been pretty poor throughout this competition. He will play as the stand-in captain on Tuesday and will be tasked with leading a batting line-up that looks as though it’ll battle at the MCG.

It doesn’t help when your three most effective bowlers (Mitchell Swepson, Mark Steketee and Jack Wildermuth) are all conceding more than eight runs an over. I suspect the likes of Pietersen, Quiney and Luke Wright may well have a bit of a field day.

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Verdict: Melbourne Stars 62/100
You’re actually getting pretty decent value on the Stars here. The Heat will be all over the place on Tuesday without their best players and captain. Get on the home side at 62/100 to go clear at the top of the standings.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.

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