Melbourne Stars look to return to winning ways against struggling Sydney Thunder
16th Match - Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars
4th January, Sydney, 19:10 local | 08:10 GMT
Fresh from their defeat against Melbourne Renegades on derby day, Melbourne Stars will look to revive their campaign in Big Bash League when they take on Sydney Thunder in the 16th game at Sydney Showground Stadium. The match is also a repeat of last season's final.
After doing well to restrict Renegades to 171 on a very good batting surface, the Stars stumbled in their chase, losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually fell short of the target by eight runs as per Duckworth-Lewis method. The fact that their innings were interrupted by rain did not help the cause either.
Kevin Pietersen made his first appearance for the Stars this season but failed to make any impact in it and the move to open with Glenn Maxwell after Rob Quiney's injury did not prove successful as the Victorian all-rounder scored just one. Despite, the defeat, they are one of the formidable team in the tournament boasting a lot of internationals and will be wary of taking on Sydney Thunder, who are desperate to open their account.
Sydney Thunder are languishing at the bottom of the table with four defeats from as many games. Their performance against Perth Scorchers left a lot to be desired as they succumbed to a 50-run defeat chasing 178. Their batting especially Shane Watson, Eoin Morgan and Ben Rohrer hasn't quite fired while Andre Russell is having a poor tournament with both bat and ball. They have replaced Morgan, who will head to India for national duty with his England team-mate James Vince.
Face to Face:
The teams faced each other on two occasions last season including the final of the tournament and on both times it was Sydney Thunder, who emerged victorious by a close margin.
In the final, Kevin Pietersen's 74 powered Stars to 176 in their innings which was chased down by Sydney Thunder in 19.3 overs with three wickets in hand riding on a blistering 70 from Usman Khawaja to claim their maiden title.
In the group stage last season, it was Khawaja's century once again that helped Thunder post 178 and the Stars stumbled to a one-run defeat despite a fluent 76 from Pietersen and a superb 45 from James Faulkner.
Sydney Thunder: Shane Watson (captain), Fawad Ahmed, Aiden Blizzard, Pat Cummins, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Jay Lenton, Eoin Morgan, Arjun Nair, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Gurinder Sandhu.
Melbourne Stars: David Hussey (captain), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Sam Harper, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Marcus Stoinis, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa.
© Cricket World 2017