Venue Sydney Cricket Ground.
Weather 40% chance of rain with 15 to 25 km/h winds which will become lighter in the evening.
Welcome to Season 11 of the Big Bash and we start off with reigning champions Sydney Sixers at their home ground, the SCG, taking on the Melbourne Stars who could only manage a seventh place finish last season.
That was then, but I would expect the Sixers to have a fairly easy time of it again because the confidence that comes from winning, and the home ground advantage should be worth 15% plus in my estimation. Expect the side that wins the toss to bowl first because that’s the trend that came from the recent T20 World Cup. The Sydney weather should cool and aid the swing bowlers with moderate winds blowing. The Sydney Sixers win by at least 3 wickets, or with two overs to spare.
Their list looks balanced with just four of their players below the age of 25 and with only two players over the age of 35. Moises Henriques has a calm head for captaincy which means he is far more valuable than his batting (25) and bowling averages (29) suggest. This is the Sixers big advantage, but they have other strengths as well.
Batting The Sixers have firepower with Carlos Brathwaite and consistency with Jordan Silk and Roy Vince. Their main strength is that they hold firm through the opening overs which means they can pile on through the death overs. Fast running between wickets comes from strict coaching and Greg Shipperd will ensure that sensible, percentage batting is maintained. My only query with their batting is the tail – it’s just okay, although that’s not as important in T20 cricket as it is in other formats.
Bowling Shipperd does trust his fast-medium bowlers to the job and this is their main strength. By bowling into the batter, they force him to squeeze it through mid-wicket where it can be easily fielded for a single. Ben Dwarhuis at least provides some variety by moving the ball away with his left-armers but there is a long list of right-armers such as Dan Christian, Sean Abbott, Carlos Brathwaite and Tom Curran that makes this tactic work. The spinners include Nathan Lyon, but he’ll be playing Ashes cricket this summer. Lloyd Pope and Ben Manetti are relatively new and therefore have the advantage of surprise. Steve O’Keefe is there to provide stability but he should collect a few edges with his left-arm orthodox spinners.
Sydney Sixers: Players to Watch
Tom Curran had an ordinary time in England’s domestic T20 competition but he should bounce back. He’s too good to ignore and once his yorker finds the spot then watch out. Melbourne Stars seem vulnerable against his style of bowling. With a T20 bowling average of 25 and a batting average of 25, he’s very capable of inflicting some damage on the Stars.
Josh Philippe is a player who doesn’t have a lot of headlines written about him, but is very consistent. He can win the game with his batting, but his consistency with the most important job in cricket – wicket keeping – makes him am extremely valuable player. He might score some quick runs at the death if the Sixers find themselves in trouble. He’s capable of putting the ball on the roof of the SCG so he might feast on a nervous bowler… of which the Stars have many.
Jordan Silk is famous for his sweep shot which should come in handy against the Melbourne Stars. He’s another underrated player who just goes about his business and he also has a very safe pair of hands. If things go wrong for the Melbourne Stars bowlers (and they often do), then expect him to cash in. Unlike a lot of other T20 batters he doesn’t necessarily have to see the ball fly out of the stadium in order to get going, which is why he is such a danger to the opposition.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 4, 2021
Famous for making underachieving an artform, the Melbourne Stars make for a nervous investment. They do have stars with Glenn Maxwell, Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis but their list looks just okay after that. When things go wrong they stay wrong, and there just aren’t enough players who like to play in tough situations. Too many are past it or never achieved what they promised. And they’ll be found wanting against quality opposition, which the Sixers are in an unforgiving venue such as the SCG.
Melbourne Stars: Players to Watch
Glenn Maxwell is one of the stalwarts of the T20 game and his dominance in the T20 World Cup proves he still has it. Once he gets going then watch out, and he should be in for a good battle against Tom Curran and Steve O’Keefe. He loves to see the ball fly off his own bat, which is suitable for the SCG, but it’s his casual manner which is his weakness. He’s not really capable of inspiring or disciplining other players when required.
Adam Zampa is someone who looks set for a big season, and the SCG should suit given how well he did on the spinning Arabian wickets last month. He has the experience and the temperament to do well given just how loud the SCG can be, but he must be aware that Silk would love to sweep away. My guess is that he’ll bowl well outside off stump to counter this and post a fielder at deep mid-wicket to guard against it.
Marcus Stoinis has developed a reputation as a punter’s pal over the years – a man you can trust with your investment. His World Cup form was good, as shown by his 40 not out against Pakistan in the semi-final, and he can do the same against the Sixers. He has a good temperament and is one of the few in the Stars line up that doesn’t lose it in pressure situations. He should be able to feast on the medium-pacers that the Sixers seem to favour due to the slow pitch.
Sydney Cricket Ground
Traditionally reckoned to be a spinner’s paradise, this doesn’t really hold up in Big Bash cricket given how many of the Sixers are medium pacers. The sweep shot pays off due to the short boundaries, and those who can hit often score highly. It’s an intimidating place if you have any sort of mental fragility, which the Melbourne Stars unfortunately displayed last year. I’d expect the captains to elect to field first because bowling second is mentally very taxing on young bowlers. I would rate the home ground advantage as being worth 15%.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 4, 2021
Sixers vs Stars: Betting odds
The Sydney Sixers are currently $1.77 (with TopSport) which seems too short to me. Given that they are full of confidence and are looking to complete a hat trick of titles I would have them around $1.50 for this game. Pass on this bet.
The most wickets market has more value and I like Adam Zampa for the Melbourne Stars. He’s currently at around $3.50 with TopSport. He’s proven he belongs at the top level in the recent T20 World Cup, and the SCG should suit his leg spinners. I’d rate him at $3.00.
There are other betting markets such as first wicket method or bat flip winner, but I would consider this just gambling and not a sound investment. Give these a miss.
Sixers vs Stars: Best Bet
Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) to be the player of the match. Can do it both with the bat and ball and he’ll be hungry to show what he can do after a poor run of form. Class player and I think a few other people forget that so that’s why he might be worth a small investment. The ordinary batting line up for the Melbourne Stars looks vulnerable to his famed yorker. He’s currently $11 with TopSport but I have him rated at $9.50.
Sixers vs Stars: Best Same Game Multi
Jordan Silk looks likely to score runs against the weak Melbourne Stars bowlers and Adam Zampa should do well in the conditions and loves the spotlight as well. Throw in Tom Curran (Sydney Sixers) as the player of the match and you’ll have a genuine multi investment that will be your fun bet for the game. Look for value just before the game when the market is in flux.
Jordan Silk (Top Batter) x Adam Zampa (Top Bowler) x Tom Curran (Best Player).
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