Two very good sides will take to the MCG on Saturday night. Only one will win, but it is going to be a tight contest.
The Melbourne Stars didn’t just crush the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday night; they sent them flying into next week, in a whirlwind of shock blonde hair and two overs of power hitting from Luke Wright.
Now they come up against an opponent very much their equal; the Hobart Hurricanes. Tim Paine, Jonathan Wells, the big hitting Travis Birt and Owais Shah all demonstrated they all can bat. Ben Laughlin, Michael Hogan and Evan Gulbis were also very good with the ball.
It is going to make for an interesting clash. The Hurricanes won’t easily forget last years clash, when Wright went bananas and proceeded to smash 117 from just 60 balls. Then again, Travis Birt dished it up to Clint McKay, sending three balls out of the park in Hobart.
The weather. Rain is forecast for Saturday night. If play does happen, the surface of the pitch, and the field, will be crucial. The MCG won’t keep super low if some water gets on the pitch; the field will slow down however.
The Hurricanes top 4 against Brisbane in their opening game (Paine, Wells, Birt and Shah) were all in solid form. Then again, Luke Wright, David Hussey and Brad Hodge have scored runs as well. Batsmen may be the key to this match
Key Player (Stars)
Cannot go past Englishman Wright. He’s been the inform batsman for the Stars this tournament, and his cricket is balanced between batting and bowling. Loves batting against the Hurricanes, and if he gets going, the Stars can post a massive score.
Owais Shah showed he was no slouch against the Heat. His limited run of opportunities has been the stunt of his cricketing profile growing. Can hit the ball cleanly and his bowling isn’t half bad either. Is underrated, and not many Stars players have seen him bat or played with or against him. Gets his business done with little fuss.
On paper, the Stars and the Hurricanes have two teams full of amazing talent and some big names in domestic and international cricket. Some of the battles and “match-ups” – Travis Birt v Shane Warne, Luke Wright v Owais Shah, Ricky Ponting v Jackson Bird – will be fantastic to watch.
Then there’s the Sri Lankan destroyer, Lasith Malinga. Grabbing the astonishing figures of 6/7 against the Scorchers with frightening fast bowling, Malinga is the weapon for the Stars to unleash against the Hurricanes.
I cannot go past the Stars at the MCG. I’m betting on Luke Wright to have a field day against the Hurricanes bowlers; he is in the right form to tee off now. Against the Scorchers, nothing seemed to go wrong for the Stars.
However, the Hurricanes are a very good chance. The purple army showed no signs of pressure against the Heat, and despite a few close chances, were able to cruise home just two wickets down.
MOM Prediction: Luke Wright