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Melbourne Stars set up an exciting clash against Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

Melbourne won their first match by six wickets against Brisbane Heat in the BBL 2020. Nathan Coulter-Nile was the star with the ball scalping four wickets for just 10 runs. 

He was well supported by Pakistani speedster, Dilbar Hussain who took two wickets for 25 runs.

Chasing a modest target of 126, Melbourne were in trouble at 34 for 3, but Hilton Cartwright and skipper, Glenn Maxwell combined well to hit 46 each to take them to victory.

Team News 

Melbourne may not make any changes in their team as they would look to continue their winning momentum. Adam Zampa would look to deliver the breakthroughs after going wicketless last match. Andre Fletcher needs to give strong starts for the side.

Sydney has a powerful batting line-up with the likes of Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, and the captain, Callum Ferguson. Ben Cutting will spearhead the bowling attack.

Pitch and Conditions 

Melbourne will have a better knowledge of the playing conditions having played against Brisbane on the same pitch. It offers a lot of wickets for the bowlers if they bowl a tight line and length. Clear and sunny weather is expected for the contest. Hence, there will not be any rain interruptions. 

Probable Playing XI

Melbourne Stars (MLS): Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Hilton Cartwright, Ben Dunk(wk), Glenn Maxwell, Nick Larkin, Clint Hinchliffe, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Dilbar Hussain.

Sydney Thunder (SYT): Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson, Matthew Gilkes, Alex Ross, Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Green/Arjun Nair, Adam Milne, Chris Tremain, Jonathan Cook/Brendan Doggett

Key Battles

Marcus Stoinis vs Ben Cutting

Marcus Stoinis vs Ben Cutting   BBL
Marcus Stoinis vs Ben Cutting

Stoinis got dismissed for a duck in the last game. He is a mature batsman who can give blistering starts for his side when he gets going in full flow. He has the uncanny ability to clear any ground with his brutal hitting. He needs more game time to avoid taking a bit of time to settle down early on.

Cutting is a clever bowler who has a lot of variations up his sleeve. His deceptive bouncers can trouble Stoinis. Being a utility, he is a proven match-winner who can pick the wickets of the crucial batsmen. 

Callum Ferguson vs Adam Zampa 

Callum Ferguson vs Adam Zampa   BBL
Callum Ferguson vs Adam Zampa 

Ferguson is a vital cog in Sydney's middle order. He can rotate the strike well and is a run-getter. He can turn the match around in a few overs by playing a special knock. He often suffers from injuries that affect his game a bit. But, if he is fit, he can be unstoppable on his day. 

Zampa conceded 24 runs in the last match. Though he did not take any wickets, he maintained a tight leash with his guile and precision. Since he tosses the ball above the eye-line, his wily deception can outfox the batsmen. The leggie can extract more turn on the dry pitches. He has worked hard on his game and repertoire and can deceive his opponents through the air. 

Prediction

Melbourne started well and will aim to continue their good show. Sydney will be looking for revenge after losing to Melbourne in last year's Challenger match, which was a gateway to the BBL final. It will be a tough contest that goes down to the wire. 

Cricwizz predicts Sydney Thunder to win the match.