Melbourne-S will take on strong Perth in the crucial encounter of Australia T20 League 2020-21. Perth will seal the playoff qualification if they win today, and Melbourne-S cannot afford a loss here.
Match Timings: Jan 23, 1:45 PM IST
Melbourne-S are in a situation where one defeat can spoil their party. The defeat in the reverse derby fixture hurt its position, but they still take the spot in the top five. Melbourne-S offered a comeback on a plate when they faced Melbourne-R in Docklands. For one more time, the batting unit looked pretty dull, and Nick Larkin was the only batsman who stood there. He scored unbeaten 61 to take his team to 158. Bowlers put the control in the chase by picking both openers early, and at one stage, Melbourne-R required 63 off 27 balls, but one blistering knock from Harvey helped them to cross the line.
The consistency is missing in Melbourne-S, and they have kept themselves in a safe position after getting seven bash boost points. With 24 points, they can back themselves, but victory is still required. Maxwell and Stoinis had a decent season with the bat. The duo haven’t showcased any impact. In the last 6 innings, the skipper has aggregated only 64 runs at an average of 10.66. Stoinis has scored 370 runs so far, but he is not converting his start. Haris Rauf left the squad, but Coulter Nile came back after recovering from the injury. Adam Zampa has been consistent with the spin and bagged 18 wickets at an average of 13.88. Maxwell might feel safe here, but on the same day, Brisbane will also face Melbourne-R in the first doubleheader clash, and if Brisbane wins, the problem will start for Maxwell’s troops.
Meanwhile, Perth is in fabulous form, and they have been outstanding since Christmas. They moved to second after the clinical victory against Hobart in the last match. Early blows in the start troubled Perth, but Josh Inglish’s vital 58 and some later fire helped them to get 179. Bowlers made the task easy by getting three wickets early, and Hobart lost the rhythm to suffer a 22-runs loss. Everything is going perfectly for Perth, and they are on the right track to eye record fourth title. With two more games left, Perth needs one win here to assure the qualification, but Turner will look for the top-two finish.
Sydney-T defeated league-leaders in the last game, so Perth needs full points to strengthen its position in the top two. Jason Roy and Livingstone both are in good form. Colin Munro is having the best season with the bat, and since Christmas break, he has been impactful. The New Zealander has scored 358 runs at an average of 32.54. Jhye Richardson bagged a 4-wickets haul to took his wickets tally to 25, the most this season. The previous game between the two sides washed out, but Perth was in good condition after picking Stoinis. Perth are the favourites, and Melbourne have to see some fire from its key batsmen.
MCG’s surface is good for batting, and it offers a little bit of help to spin. The tarck has some bounce, but batsmen will have a good outing. Chasing would be a tricky call in a score of 160-170.
Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Nick Larkin, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Seb Gotch (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Liam Hatcher, Zahir Khan
Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone, Colin Munro, Josh Inglis (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Turner (c), Aaron Hardie, Jhye Richardson, Andrew Tye, Jason Behrendorff, Fawad Ahmed
Season so far – M: 11, Runs: 370, Avg: 37
Season so far – M: 10, Wickets: 18, Avg: 13.88
Season so far – M: 11, Runs: 358, Avg: 32.54
Season so far – M: 12, Wickets: 25, Avg: 11