BBL 09 Challenger Preview: Stars Take on Thunder For a Place in The Final

Its time for the penultimate game in the Big Bash League season 9 with the Melbourne Stars set to take on Sydney Thunder in the BBL09 Challenger. The winner of this game will play Sydney Sixers who are already in the finals courtesy their win in the second Qualifier against the Stars. If the Stars win the Challenger, it will be a rematch between both Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars again in the final. The BBL fans and the cricket fans, in general, are waiting for the match with huge anticipation. In the last five meetings between both teams, Stars have won thrice, while two matches have been won by Thunder.

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While the Thunder won the Eliminator against Adelaide Strikers by 8 runs, Stars faulted against the Sixers in the Qualifier. The Stars registered their lowest ever score in the BBL, getting bowled out for just 99 chasing 143 to win. Though their bowlers did well to restrict the Sixers under 150, their batsmen including Glenn Maxwell scored just 16. Marcus Stoinis, who is the highest scorer in the season scored just five as the Stars found themselves way short of the target. Heading into the BBL 09 Challenger, the Stars batsmen will have to bat with responsibility. Stoinis and Maxwell will be the key players for them ad the onus will be on them to win it for their side. The Stars batsmen failed to get a good start in their chase, which they should keep in mind heading to the Challenger. 

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Their bowling attacks looks compact with Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Haris Rauf being the premier strike bowlers. Maxwell and Stoinis can roll their arm over if the need arises.

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The Thunder’s are in a very good space heading into the BBL 09 Challenger game against Melbourne Stars. They will look to replicate their performance in this game and seal a spot in the finals. Their bowlers led by Daniel Sams did a good job to defend a fairly low total of 151 against the Adelaide Strikers. Jonathan Cook and Chris Morris their other key bowlers were also amongst the wickets. Morris also scored a quickfire 21 with the bat to take the Thunder over 150.

With the bat, they would be heavily relying on their opening duo of Usman Khawaja and Alex Hales. While Hales scored a crucial 59 in the Knockout against Strikers, Khawaja and skipper Callum Ferguson failed with the bat. 

The match will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with the ground dimensions relatively shorter compared to an ODI game. However, teams winning the toss would like to chase in the BBL09 Challenger. Chasing has been the set template in this BBL season and the teams are likely to not tamper with the winning formulae.

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Melbourne Stars

 Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Nick Larkin, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell(c), Seb Gotch(w), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Adam Zampa, Daniel Worrall, Haris Rauf, Ben Dunk, Dilbar Hussain

Sydney Thunder 

Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Callum Ferguson(c), Alex Ross, Arjun Nair, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, Jay Lenton(w), Chris Tremain, Jonathan Cook, Brendan Doggett, Matthew Gilkes, Nathan McAndrew

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