And then there were four! The semi-finals of BBL06 are upon us with the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars opening the knockout phase of the competition at the WACA on Tuesday.
Can the Perth side make home ground advantage count or will the Stars make it to their second final in as many years? Let’s check it out:
Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars | Tuesday 23 January | The WACA, Perth | 10:25
To Win Match
Scorchers 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Stars 5/4
The Scorchers look in excellent shape heading into the knockout phase of the competition. They finished top of the standings in the round-robin phase, guaranteeing home matches for as long as they stay in the competition.
While they’ll have one eye on the final, they can’t afford to be complacent against a star-studded Melburnians side. Adam Voges is likely to rely heavily on his all-star bowling attack to get the majority of the job done come Tuesday. The likes of Mitchell Johnson, Andrew Tye, Tim Bresnan and Jhye Richardson have been sensational this season.
On top of sharing the wicket taking responsibilities quite evenly, their economy rates throughout the tournament mean that batsmen have had to work incredibly hard for their runs. This has been especially useful as the Scorchers’ batsmen don’t generally pile on the runs.
Michael Klinger and Ian Bell will be tasked once again with getting the bulk of the runs. Bell has been excellent this season, getting 174 runs in his seven innings. Having said that, his performances have tapered off a bit of late with the pint-sized Englishman only managing 25 runs in his last three innings. He’ll be keen to play a big part for the Scorchers in the knockout phase of the competition and keep his hopes of an England recall alive.
The Stars squeaked into the play-offs ahead of the Renegades by virtue of their superior net run rate. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the men in green who have lost the backbone of their squad to the national side.
Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Peter Handscomb and Adam Zampa are all doing duty against Pakistan in the home ODI series. The talent drain will also see Marcus Stonis miss the final should the Stars get that far as he forms part of the side that travels to New Zealand this week.
It’ll be up to English stalwarts Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright as well as Skipper David Hussey to lead an exciting, albeit inexperienced side through the rest of the tournament. Keep an eye out for young Liam Bowe who came into the side against the Strikers last week. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler has taken to the big stage like a fish to water and could find a bit of assistance on a dry WACA track.
On the other end of the age scale, Rob Quiney will be looking to build on another excellent BBL season. The Victoria-native has averaged just under 38, while opening the batting for the Stars this season at a strike rate of 170.67. If he gets going and lays the foundation for Pietersen, Hussey and company; the Stars have every chance of claiming an unlikely victory.
Verdict: Perth Scorchers 67/100
While the Stars have the better individual talent, the Scorchers are the much better unit. They’re solid at home and with such a formidable bowling attack, are tipped to do enough against the Stars when the two sides meet at the WACA on Tuesday.
Value Bet: Rob Quiney to top score for the Stars at 11/4
Quiney has been one of the most exciting players to watch this season. He attacks from the word go and will look to unsettle the Scorchers’ attack with his vast armoury of shots. If he gets going, there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t top score for the visitors – value here at 11/4.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.