Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers – BBL Match Preview – Betting Tips, Latest Odds, Team News and Predictions – 31/01/2020
Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers are preparing to do battle for a place in the BBL final.
The winner will be given a direct route straight to the final where they’ll await their opponents. They will also bag home advantage for the big one.
The loser, meanwhile, will get a second chance to qualify via the ‘Challenger’ stage of the tournament. Here they will meet the best of the rest for a second opportunity to make the final.
Have a look at our guide to how the BBL play-offs work in 2020.
Melbourne head into the clash after topping the league table with 20 points.
However, they ended the group stages just one point ahead of Sydney Sixers and come into the clash after a 71-run loss to Brisbane Heat. That was their third successive defeat as they lost momentum after already qualifying.
Sydney arrive on the back of a confidence-boosting seven-wicket success over last year’s winners Melbourne Renegades and look in the mood for more as the tournament reaches its climax.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers – Match Preview
Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
When: Friday, 31th January
Start Time: 13:45 (IST), 08:15 (GMT)
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers – Latest Odds
There is hardly anything between these two sides and the bookmakers can’t split them either. They are both available at 1.91 (10/11) with bet365 to make the final.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers – Team News
Home side Melbourne handed starts to Nathan Coulter-Nile and debutant Dilbar Hussain in their previous game but could look to switch things up for the final.
The big news for them is the return of Haris Rauf after international duty with Pakistan.
Seb Gotch also shifted up to open alongside Marcus Stoinis against the Heat after more injuries hit.
They are likely to still be without opener Hilton Cartwright for this one and will also have to make do without Sandeep Lamicchane. The Nepalese leg spinner is away on international duty.
Sydney have recently been boosted by the return of spin star Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazelwood after Australia’s ODI tour of India.
They could also have Sean Abbott back after a side strain.
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Sixers – Betting Tips and Prediction
With the momentum very much with the Sixers, it could be worth siding with them at the MCG.
Melbourne have taken their foot off the gas since securing their qualification and have also been hit with a number of injuries.
Sydney defeated the Stars a the SCG but did lose the last time these two sides met at this venue.
Melbourne have won three of the last five matches between the teams and while they may have been saving themselves for the play-offs recently, it’s not easy just to return to top form.
Philippe to lead from the front
Josh Phillipe has been in fine form with the bat and brings that into this vital play-off battle.
The opener smashed 61 in 42 balls against Melbourne Renegades last time up. That followed a half-century in the win against Brisbane Heat.
Steve Smith heads the market to be Sydney’s top scorer at 3.75 (11/4) but that means Philippe’s price of 4.50 (7/2) with bet365 looks a good option.
Lyon to shine back at the MCG
The last time Nathan Lyon was in action with Australia at the MCG he was ripping through the New Zealand batting line-up.
He took 4-23 in the second innings against the Black Caps and will be pleased to be back in happy hunting ground.
Melbourne have struggled for momentum in recent weeks and will be looking to assert themselves on home soil.
That could play right into the hands of Lyon.
He is priced at 4.00 (3/1) with bet365 to be Sydney’s top wicket-taker.
Best Bet: Josh Philippe to be Sydney’s top run-scorer at 4.50 (7/2) with bet365.