MCG will host the first Melbourne derby of the Australia T20 League 2020-21. Both sides are going through a poor form this season, and defeat here can close the playoff hopes.
Match Timings: Jan 17, 1:45 PM IST
Melbourne-S finally saw the Spiceman show in Australia T20 League and his carnage in MCG helped the green outfit to secure a thumping victory of 111 runs. It was the first complete victory for Melbourne-S. Now they lock horns against their city rivals Melbourne-R at the same ground. On Friday night, Melbourne-S looked dull in the early 10, scoring just 57 runs, but Fletcher scored 89 off just 49 balls to add 122 runs in the final 10 overs to get 179 on board. Bowlers made a fine start and offered bash boost point on a plate as Adelaide finished on 49/3 at the half-way mark. In middle-overs, Adelaide suffered through a big batting collapse and bowled out on just 68, the third-lowest score in the tournament history. Adam Zampa scalped his first fifer and took his wicket tally to 17. Maxwell desperately needed this victory, and now, they can back themselves for the playoffs.
With bagging six bash boost points, they now have 20 points from 10 matches, and they have moved to the fourth spot in the table but are only ahead of Brisbane and Adelaide on better net run-rate. Maxwell’s unit cannot afford a defeat in the final stage of the tournament. Fletcher’s knock is a big boost to top-order, but Maxwell and Stoinis both need consistency. Pooran was dropped, and Melbourne-S would avoid any change to this winning XI. Zahir Khan picked two for 19, which is a great sign considering the bit of spin in MCG. Haris Rauf has been picked in the home Test series, and he will play his last match for the side. Home matches can help Maxwell break the playoff for the consecutive season, and they are entering as the favourites.
Meanwhile, Melbourne-R should pack their bags as they are the first team who look eliminated after a disappointing campaign. They have to reform the team combination after back-to-back failures. They finished bottom in the last edition, and it’s going to repeat for this season too. On Thursday night, they suffered the eighth defeat of the season, and Brisbane defeated them by 5 wickets. Shaun Marsh came back and achieved a golden duck. Finch demoted himself at number four. In the absence of Nabi, the middle-order was tested. From 59/4, Melbourne-R got 149, thanks to McGurk and Webster’s partnership.
The lack of acceleration didn’t offer much. Webster remained not out on 50, but he took 40 balls to get this. The team would still admire him, considering the previous batting collapses. Bowlers tried to fought when they formed a mini-collapse in 2nd innings. Brisbane lost their four wickets in the margin of 12 runs, but Burns crossed the line with eight balls spare. Marsh is back in the side, and he is the only batsman who remains consistent with the bat. The poor intent from batsmen also hurt the bowling unit, and they are also not doing well. With four more games remaining, Finch would try to end this season high. If they win all four games, they can avoid the bottom spot for successive seasons.
MCG’s surface is good for batting, and it offers plenty of help to spin due to its sluggish behavior. Chasing will not be a cakewalk here.
Mackenzie Harvey, Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch (c), Sam Harper (wk), Jack Prestwidge, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Beau Webster, Imad Wasim, Kane Richardson, Peter Hatzoglou, Noor Ahmad
Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Seb Gotch (wk), Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Haris Rauf, Zahir Khan
Season so far – M: 8, Runs: 247, Avg: 30.88
Season so far – M: 8, Wickets: 12, Avg: 22.33
Season so far – M: 10, Runs: 292, Avg: 36.50
Season so far – M: 8, Wickets: 17, Avg: 11.88