Sydney-T will get its Australia T20 League 2020-21 campaign underway with the afternoon clash against Melbourne-S, who started the season with a 6-wickets victory over Brisbane.
Match Timings: Dec 12, 10:35 AM IST
Callum Ferguson will lead Sydney-T to replicate the performance of the women’s team in 2020-21. The women’s team won the title of Australia T20 League 2020 by defeating Melbourne-S in the final. The previous season had a roller coaster ride for Sydney-T after making it into the challenger final. They will face Maxwell’s side in its season opener, the team who knocked them out the last edition. The COVID-19 and Australia’s test series will not harm this side. Usman Khawaja didn’t make it to the Test squad, and he will be available for this season.
Alex Hales and Adam Milne are both ready to play their first match of the season. Sam Billings will miss the first couple of games due to serving the quarantine period. They got all-rounder Ben Cutting from Brisbane but released Jay Lenton and Gurinder Sandhu. Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja will open for Sydney, followed by captain Ferguson at number three. Hales was the key performer of Sydney-T last season, aggregating 576 runs at an average of 38.40. Alex Ross also had a decent season in middle-order, scoring 372 runs. New signings Adam Milne might be used as the main bowler to provide wickets in the powerplay. Daniel Sams and Tremain both will take their roles in death. Last season, Sydney had the best average in death-overs among all teams. They had a good replica of a balanced side, but somehow, they lack in bowling.
Meanwhile, Maxwell’s Melbourne started the campaign on a happy note by defeating Brisbane in a low-scoring encounter. Coulter-Nile picked four, and Dilbar Hussain grabbed two to dismiss Brisbane on a mere total of 125. Cartwright was excellent in the field. With one run-out and brilliant catch on the boundary-line, he also played an unbeaten knock of 46 to guide Melbourne home. The Green Outfit lost its three wickets on 34, but they managed to charge this chase with true anchor-ship from Cartwright and Maxwell. The skipper scored 46 off just 26 balls to maintain the run-rate.
Melbourne would admire the collective effort from the first game, but back-to-back games can hurt Maxwell. They are playing their second game within 16 hours. Stoinis got a duck, and Fletcher scored 12. The top-order would expect some runs on Saturday. The hero of the challenger final, Larkin, was dropped, and Maxwell can try him too, but the changes are unlikely to happen. After a one-sided encounter in the opening game, Melbourne would try to make it two out of two this weekend.
Manuka Oval has good bounce, and pacers can get a good amount of help. The batsmen faced some trouble in the previous game, but it’s not a pitch of 130-140. Canberra can easily produce 160-170 in the first innings. Bowling first will be a good option after winning the toss.
Marcus Stoinis, Andre Fletcher, Hilton Cartwright, Glenn Maxwell (c), Nick Larkin, Ben Dunk (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake, Dilbar Hussain
Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (c), Alex Ross, Arjun Nair, Daniel Sams, Jay Lenton (wk), Ben Cutting, Nathan McAndrew, Chris Tremain, Jonathan Cook
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 17, Runs: 705, Avg: 54.23
White-ball series vs. India – M: 6, Runs: 245, Avg: 49
Previous outing (vs. Brisbane) – 46 (26)
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 17, Runs: 576, Avg: 38.40
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 17, Wickets: 30, Avg: 15.36