After 56 matches in the Big Bash League 2018/19 (BBL08) regular season, we are in the first semi-final. Hobart Hurricanes will play host to Melbourne Stars, as the sides look to make it to the final in their quest for a maiden BBL title.
The Hurricanes were the best side in the league phase, but have lost three of their last five matches (W2, L3). The Stars waited until the last match to book their semi-final slot, but have won four of six (W4, L2).
Hobart Hurricanes Preview
It is the batting excellence of the Hurricanes’ D’Arcy Short (602 runs) and Matthew Wade (590 runs) that has dominated the group phase. Both will once again play a crucial role, as the Hurricanes look to maintain their unbeaten home form.
The return of James Faulkner (18 wickets) gives the hosts a boost. A win would guarantee the Hurricanes hosting rights for the BBL final – another first!
Hobart Hurricanes Predicted XI: 1 Matthew Wade (WK) 2 D’Arcy Short 3 Caleb Jewell 4 Ben McDermott 5 George Bailey 6 Simon Milenko 7 James Faulkner 8 Clive Rose 9 Jofra Archer 10 Qais Ahmed 11 Riley Meredith
Melbourne Stars Preview
The Stars rode on their bowling performance to win the last league match and reach the semis. However, it is the all-round skill of Marcus Stoinis that has given them an edge throughout.
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Adam Zampa have 11 wickets each in BBL08. Their control is also a positive for the visitors, who will look to surprise the home side. Interestingly, the Stars have only won one of their seven BBL knockout matches.
Melbourne Stars Predicted XI: 1 Marcus Stoinis 2 Ben Dunk 3 Peter Handscomb (WK) 4 Glenn Maxwell 5 Nick Larkin 6 Nic Maddinson 7 Dwayne Bravo 8 Jackson Bird 9 Adam Zampa 10 Sandeep Lamichhane 11 Daniel Worrall
Fantasy Players to Watch
D’Arcy Short has six 50+ scores in the series and was the man-of-the-match in both the regular season games against the Stars. He had scores of 96* & 34 to go with bowling returns of 1/16 & 2/23.
Matthew Wade also has six 50+ scores in BBL08. If not for Short, Wade would have been the most valuable player by now.
Marcus Stoinis is third in the runs tally behind Short and Wade, with 476 runs and 14 wickets. A definite pick for your fantasy side for his all-round abilities.
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