Struggling Melbourne-R will take on in-form Sydney-T in the first match after the Christmas break in Australia T20 League 2020-21.
Match Timings: Dec 26, 12:40 PM IST
Sydney-T and Melbourne-R will battle out in Australia T20 League on Boxing Day. Sydney-T continued its winning run with two back-to-back wins. After Daniel Sams show against Brisbane, Sydney-T edged past Perth in the Tuesday encounter, riding on Ferguson’s unbeaten 61. Sydney-T put a fabulous bowling show and restricted Perth on 152, but its top-order failed in the powerplay one more time. Alex Hales got a second duck, and Khawaja couldn’t deliver.
From 38/2 in 7 overs, the skipper Ferguson constructed the chase with another batting brilliance. First, he earned a crucial Bash Boost point and then led Sydney to a comfortable win with three balls spare. Oliver Davies showed good intent in middle-order, scoring 36 off 22 balls. Ben Cutting finished the game with vital 16-balls 29. The top-order made few mistakes, and at the half-way mark, they were 58/2. Khawaja’s form is a big concern, and the lack of a partnership in powerplay is creating trouble for the middle-order.
If Perth would have taken any wicket in middle-overs, they were on the losing side. Sydney are boosted after back-to-back victories, and this time, they got all four points, which will boost its points-table game. Ferguson used Ben Cutting for 3-overs in the last game, and he conceded just 16 with picking one wicket. It was a collective bowling effort from Sydney, but the skipper has to figure out Chris Green’s role in the team, who bowled only one over. Victories come, and tiny things don’t occur in the captain’s mind, but Sydney would be happy with last match’s performance.
Meanwhile, Melbourne-R landed this season from the last season’s debacle, and the attitude hasn’t changed yet. After going out on just 60 against Sydney-S, they lost to Hobart by 6 wickets in the next game. In the absence of Finch, Shaun Marsh led the side, and they lost its openers in the first two-overs. Sam Harper and Rossouw bailed out Melbourne from the trouble and put 109 runs as both batsmen scored half-centuries. In death-overs, they missed out the opportunity to score big and scored just 50 runs in the last seven overs. Bowlers provided a good start in the 2nd innings as Hobart lost both openers on 25, but McDermott single-handily took the game away from Melbourne and chased down 158 with 14 balls spare.
Melbourne also lost the Bash Boost Point, and they are now facing a series of issues. Finch would be back as the captain after missing out the previous game. Harper got runs in the last game, but 66 off 52 balls in a T20 game is not so ideal, but Finch would be delighted. Jake Fraser-McGurk would be replaced, and any other change is unlikely to happen.
Manuka Oval is a decent ground for the T20, and it offers plenty of help to pacers. The powerplays will be crucial. Spinners are not so effective here, and chasing would be a good call after winning the toss.
Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Callum Ferguson (c), Oliver Davies, Baxter Holt (wk), Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Chris Green, Nathan McAndrew, Adam Milne, Tanveer Sangha
Shaun Marsh (c), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, Will Sutherland, Kane Richardson, Josh Lalor, Noor Ahmad, Mackenzie Harvey
This season so far – 61 (53), 0, 54 (35)
Australia T20 League (last season) – M: 17, Wickets: 30, Avg: 15.36
This season – M: 3, Wickets: 5, Runs: 65
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: 3, Wickets: 5, Avg: 18.80