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Melbourne Stars square off against Brisbane Heat in the second match of the Big Bash League.

Melbourne finished as the runner-ups last year while Brisbane ended their campaign at the seventh spot. 

Melbourne have two world-class all-rounders in Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis. Though they will miss Jonny Bairstow who is out due to international duty, Andre Fletcher has been roped in as his replacement. 

Brisbane will rely heavily on the explosive Chris Lynn. In the absence of hard-hitting, Tom Banton, the likes of Daniel Lawrence and Max Bryant will have to step up. 

Team News 

Melbourne have a decent bowling attack with Nathan Coulter-Nile, Billy Stanlake, and the wicket-taking Adam Zampa. Maxwell and Stoinis can also chip in with a few overs whenever needed.

Brisbane will depend on the experienced Ben Laughlin along with Simon Milenko and Matthew Kuhnemann. Morne Morkel is in doubt for the opener after suffering an ankle injury.

Pitch and Conditions 

Canberra is a great venue for the batsmen to pile up runs. The team winning the toss should most likely opt to chase. Clear skies are expected for the match without any chance of rain to occur.

Probable Playing XI

Melbourne Stars (MLS): Glenn Maxwell (c), Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Hilton Cartwright, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Clint Hinchliffe, Nathan-Coulter Nile, Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa, Liam Hatcher/ Dilbar Hussain

Brisbane Heat (BRH): Chris Lynn (C), Max Bryant, Jimmy Pierson, Tom Cooper, Daniel Lawrence, Sam Heazlett/ Simon Milenko, Ben Laughlin, Xavier Bartlett, Connor Sully, Matthew Kuhnemann, Jack Wood 

Key Battles

Glenn Maxwell vs Ben Laughlin

Maxwell can destroy any attack on his day while Laughlin is not a bowler to easily get away with.   BBL
Maxwell can destroy any attack on his day while Laughlin is not a bowler to easily get away with

Maxwell is considered a T20 specialist. He relied mostly on his instincts to play his shots. Known popularly as the Big Show, he can clear the boundary ropes with his ease mishitting blows off the edge. He will have extra responsibility for being the skipper of his side. However, he has the experience and confidence to pull it off with utmost swagger and gusto.

Laughlin is a handy pacer with a potent outswinger. He can vary his pace with absolute control and batsmen may perish if they try to up the ante against him to ease the pressure. He is a vital cog for Brisbane and his skill sets keep improving with every passing year.

Chris Lynn vs Nathan Coulter-Nile

Coulter-Nile is a clever bowler while Lynn can tear open any bowling attack once he gets going  BBL
Coulter-Nile is a clever bowler while Lynn can tear open any bowling attack once he gets going

Lynn is the ideal man for Brisbane to give a strong start. The hard-hitting right-hander can take on even the best of the bowlers and is smart in adapting to different situations. He is a proven match-winner who can change the game totally within a few balls.

Coulter-Nile possesses good pace and has a great mix of variations. He is a wicket-taking bowler who sticks to a tight line and length more often than not. If he does not get injured, he can end up playing the entire season for Melbourne.

Prediction 

Melbourne have a couple of star players lined-up in their team. Brisbane will miss a few players but still have enough balance in their side to pose a serious challenge.

Cricwizz predicts Melbourne Stars to win the match.