MCG at 7.00pm on Saturday 17 December
v Sydney Thunder at MCG (17/12)
v Brisbane Heat at ‘Gabba (20/12)
v Sydney Sixers at SCG (27/12)
v Perth Scorchers at MCG (4/1)
v Melbourne Renegades at MCG (7/1)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena (9/1)
v Adelaide Strikers at MCG (19/1)
v Melbourne Stars at MCG (17/12)
v Adelaide Strikers at ANZ Stadium (23/12)
v Melbourne Renegades at ANZ Stadium (30/12)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena (1/1)
v Sydney Sixers at ANZ Stadium (8/1)
v Perth Scorchers at ANZ Stadium (11/1)
v Brisbane Heat at ‘Gabba (17/1)
When he is at his best, Cameron White is close to the best T20 player in the world. He’s not the biggest man on the planet, but he brings an intimidating aura when he walks out to bat that has bowlers shaking in their boots. The 28-year-old has been in solid T20 form of late at the international level. White has scored 39, 28 and 39 in his past three innings and has cemented his spot in the side after a mini lean patch in early 2011. The aggressive right-hander is an excellent leader and will lead the Stars superbly, both with the bat and tactically in the field, tonight and for the whole tournament.
How can any Australian cricket fan not love Doug Bollinger? The easy going personality, the ferocity with the ball, the passion for representing his country, the balding head – he just oozes charisma. Bollinger isn’t widely regarded for his work in T20, hence why he has only played two matches for Australia. But his domestic record is still very solid, capturing 61 wickets from 54 matches at an average of 23. The 30-year-old will be under immense pressure this summer though as he leads a very young and inexperienced attack. Hopefully Bollinger is ready to step up to the plate tonight.
1. Rob Quiney
2. Matthew Wade (WK)
3. George Bailey
4. Cameron White (C)
5. David Hussey
6. Adam Voges
7. Luke Wright
8. James Faulkner
9. Shane Warne
10. Clint McKay
11. Jade Dernbach
1. Chris Gayle
2. Daniel Smith (C/WK)
3. Usman Khawaja
4. Ben Dunk
5. Tim Cruickshank
6. Craig Phillipson
7. Luke Butterworth
8. Luke Doran
9. Scott Coyte
10. Fidel Edwards
11. Doug Bollinger
Tonight the Australian cricket public gets its first look at Shane Warne and the Melbourne Stars. The scrutiny on the leg-spinner will be enormous, the atmosphere will be even bigger, but perhaps most of the scrutiny should be on the Sydney Thunder.
It will be interesting to see how the some of the Thunder’s younger players handle the pressure and demands of tonight’s match. Queensland’s Ben Dunk is a quality left-handed batsman, Tim Cruickshank has been a regular member of the New South Wales top order for the 2011-12 season so far and Blues teammate Luke Doran is already showing good signs.
But if those young players can’t cope with the pressure and start to struggle, there isn’t a lot of experience to save them.
David Warner, who hit his maiden Test century against New Zealand last week, is unlikely to play due to a back injury and Phillip Hughes won’t play a game for the entire tournament so he can concentrate on the longer form of the game.
Having said that, the Stars will not be at full strength either. Australian Test pace pair Peter Siddle and James Pattinson will be preparing to take on India on Boxing Day. Therefore the pace attack will be led by Clint McKay, South African-born Englishman Jade Dernbach and young Tasmanian James Faulkner.
However the Stars’ scary batting line-up should get them over the line tonight. Rob Quiney and Matthew Wade will open the batting, followed by an intimidating middle order of George Bailey, White, David Hussey, Adam Voges and Englishman Luke Wright. And Warnie has always been a more than handy lower-order hitter.
If the Stars bat first, expect them to register a big first innings score and make it very difficult for the Thunder to chase. In fact, this could turn into a blowout.
Melbourne Stars to win ($1.78 – Centrebet)
Matthew Wade, Stars High Bat ($4.50 – Sportingbet)
Clint McKay Stars Most Wickets ($4.00 – Centrebet)