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Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Stars BBL09 Final (Sat 08:15am GMT)
After a long-drawn season that ran, the Big Bash League final with see Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday.
The excitement of the final is offset by the impending deluge that is expected to hit Sydney on Friday and Saturday. In case there is no action, the Sixers will win the title. However, there is a chance of some play happening and that is set to keep the excitement going. The Sixers will hope their form from the league season will continue, while the Stars will feel that they have finally found a way to get over their playoff hoodoo.
The Sixers finished second in the group stage with nine wins and four losses. It has been a season led by the youngster Josh Philippe (435 runs, SR 125.72), who had scored four 50+ scores so far. The presence of Steve Smith gives them great stability and so does James Vince (321 runs) and Moises Henriques (260 runs) with the bat.
It is the Sixers’ bowling that gives them an edge. With Shaun Abbott (14 wickets) back in the fold, the attack looks stronger than ever with Ben Dwarshuis (16 wickets) and Nathan Lyon also key.
The Stars have traditionally struggled in the playoffs, but dusted themselves off and defeated the Sydney Thunder by 28 runs to qualify for the final. The dependency on Marcus Stoinis (695 runs) continues to be a reality that might hamper their chances in the final. Otherwise, the positive form of Nick Larkin is a good omen for the Stars.
The Stars’ bowling looks equally strong to that of the Sixers, at least on paper. Haris Rauf (20 wickets) continues to be amongst the wickets, while Adam Zampa (18 wickets) remains a strong pick to keep snaring wickets.
The sides have met three times this season already, with two matches ending up as one-sided contests. The Stars demolished the Sixers at MCG with a league-record 147*, while the Sixers smashed the Stars for a career low 99. It could come down to how well the sides play out the powerplay overs – especially since the chances of a rain-shortened match are high.