Melbourne-R will be squaring off against the defending champions, Sydney-S, in the Tuesday encounter of the Australia T20 League 2020-21.
Match Timings: Dec 29, 12:40 PM IST
Things are going in the wrong way for Melbourne-R this season. The bottom side of the previous season has the same picture in 2020-21. After starting the season with a clinical victory over Perth, Finch’s troops lost three consecutive games, but the manner of defeat hurt this side. In three losses, they have been humiliated twice as the opposition bowled them out below 100. Both times, the opponents were Sydney-based franchises. In the previous outings, they bettered their lowest score of 60, and Sydney-T bowled them out on 80. Only Finch & Rossouw scored in double-digits for Melbourne. Nothing is great in this unit, and Finch would have to form confidence amongst all players.
Out of four matches, their bowlers conceded 200 plus score twice, and both times, the losing margin was more than 100. They will now face the defending champions, who restricted them on the second-lowest total of the competition history. Imad Wasim played his first match on Boxing-Day and went for 35 without picking a wicket. Imran Tahir has also withdrawn due to personal reasons, and Noor Ahmed will likely fill his spot. Changes are expected in the side, and Finch can also give his captaincy to Marsh amid this drama. With the allrounders like Mohammad Nabi and Imad Wasim, Melbourne-R can expect some turnaround in 2021. Both had a dull outing last week. It would be the last outing in 2020 for Melbourne, and this year has been a disappointing year for them after the title triumph in 2019. Melbourne-R would require collective efforts to change the fortune.
Meanwhile, Sydney-S has taken out the momentum back after losing the opening fixture to Hobart. In the absense of Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes has led the side to three straight wins. They edged past Maxwell’s Melbourne by just one wicket in a high-scoring thriller in the previous outing. Riding on Pooran-Maxwell show, Melbourne-R posted 194, and Sydney-S was not even in the winning frame after losing six on 126. The captain led from the front by playing a match-winning knock of 94 off 51 balls. Sydney snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. They required 21 off the final over, and Hughes smashed Maxwell 16 runs before going out on the 4th ball. On the penultimative ball, Maxwell gave four leg byes runs to offer one-wicket victory to Sydney. The reigning winners sit at the top of the table with 12 points, including three Bash Boost Point. Sydney-R have earlier defeated Melbourne-R by 145 runs, and they are yet again favourites on Tuesday.
Carrara Oval, Queensland is a pure batting track, and in its first match, it witnessed 190 plus scores in both innings. Spinners have some help from the pitch. Chasing sides will have an advantage.
Shaun Marsh, Aaron Finch (c), Sam Harper (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, Imad Wasim, Will Sutherland, Kane Richardson, Zak Evans, Peter Hatzoglou
Josh Philippe (wk), Jack Edwards, James Vince, Daniel Hughes (c), Jordan Silk, Daniel Christian, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ben Dwarshuis, Steve OKeefe, Gurinder Sandhu
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 9, Runs: 363, SR: 153.99
White-ball series vs. India – M: 5, Runs: 284, Avg: 56.8
This season – M: 4, Wickets: 7, Avg: 18.14
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 16, Wickets: 16, Avg: 26.19
This season – 38/3, 15/4, 30/0, 47/1
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 16, Runs: 487, Avg: 37.46