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January 22, 2020

Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Stars

Venue: Adelaide Oval | Start: 7:10pm (AEDT)

Adelaide Strikers – A win against the ladder leaders would all but guarantee a finals berth and put them in the box seat to secure the all-important top-two double chance. The Strikers were clinical in their win over the Hurricanes on Sunday, holding off a fast-finishing David Miller (90 off 48) to win by 10 runs. Most pleasing was the innings of skipper Travis Head (79 off 40) who revived memories of BBL seasons gone by, his fast hands and incredible eye seeing the ball travel over the fence on six occasions.

Jason Gillespie’s side welcome back Alex Carey from the ODI tour of India in a huge boost to the Strikers’ top order. With the Englishman Phil Salt recently finding touch, alongside the attacking Jake Weatherald, followed by Head and the versatile Carey, plus the best number five in BBL09 in Jono Wells, the Strikers are primed to go deep in the finals series. And with Rashid Khan and Peter Siddle with the ball (both top 12 wicket takers this season), the formidable outfit will gain further confidence should they knock off the Stars in this one. Not just because the men in green are sitting on top, but should they win there’s a big chance they’ll face off again at the MCG in next Friday’s ‘Qualifier’. Having the upper hand in this one could prove crucial.

Melbourne Stars – The Stars, by contrast, have already secured top spot and are using the final two games of the regular season to iron out the kinks and give rest to those needing it. While the result made little difference in the context of this season, coach David Hussey would have been disappointed with his side’s output against the Sixers on Monday night, going down by 21 runs in a rain-reduced match of 14 overs. In utilising a number of squad players, the Stars bowlers didn’t hit their lengths at the SCG and were duly punished. In response, they never quite got going with the bat despite a rollicking start from BBL09 leading runscorer Marcus Stoinis (62 off 37). When joined by an out-of-form Nic Maddinson at the crease, the left-hander struggled and Hussey might look at making a change heading into the business end of the season.

Two men who will come straight back into the Stars XI are Adam Zampa and Peter Handscomb after the recently-concluded tour of India. Handscomb will be fresh after not being required in the three ODIs while Zampa comes back having enhanced his one-day reputation further, dismissing the world’s best in Virat Kohli twice, taking his career tally against the Indian skipper to seven. The pair come into a 13-man squad for Jonathan Merlo and Jackson Coleman.

Betting Analysis – Teams batting first have been dismissed for under 140 in two of the last three games at the Adelaide Oval. But this is likely more a reflection on the batting sides rather than the famed Adelaide pitch, which remains a good one to bat on. Speaking of, look for Carey to score big following his return from the subcontinent, while Rashid Khan remains, as ever, the wicket taking option for the Strikers. For the Stars, Stoinis has topped the runscorer markets on six occasions this season, while skipper Glenn Maxwell has done so on four occasions. By mere virtue of the fact he opens the batting, Stoinis is the preferred option. With the ball, also look for Zampa to make an instant impact on his return.

Head to Head: Melbourne Stars
Top Runs Scorer – Adelaide Strikers: Alex Carey
Most Wickets – Adelaide Strikers: Rashid Khan
Top Runs Scorer – Melbourne Stars: Marcus Stoinis
Most Wickets – Melbourne Stars: Adam Zampa