Melbourne Cricket Ground - 24th January 2016
- The two sides contesting the BBL05 final were underdogs for their semi-finals, but both came through relatively comfortably, beating two strong sides in the Strikers and the Scorchers.
- By virtue of finishing higher in the group stage, the Stars won the right to host the final, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is set for a bumper crowd for Sunday's game.
- The Stars are a side with a huge preference for chasing totals, as we can see from the BBL05 Team Stats Page, which shows they have batted first just once in BBL05, the only game in which they lost the toss.
- The market can't pick a winner here, with both sides best priced around evens for the win on fixed odds, and 2/1.99 on the Betfair Exchange. On balance, I think the Thunder are the stronger side, especially since the Stars will be be missing their four international players. This hasn't seemed to affect them so far, but in a big game against a side with plenty of match winners, I think this will prove a much sterner test.
- Jacques Kallis is in the Thunder squad for this game, and anyone who has read my previews of the Thunders other games will know why I'm hoping he plays here. He has looked out of his depth opening the batting in BBL05, with a top score of 49, and no other score beyond 16. Unders on his run line has been one of the bets of the tournaments, and I'll be cashing in again here, if he plays.
- In the absence of Scott Boland and John Hastings, Daniel Worral has stepped up for the Stars bowing attack, taking seven wickets in his three games, picking up 3/25 and 3/15 in his last two, the most wicket for the Strain each, and getting genuine swing with the new white ball. The 4.5 on him to repeat the feat here is too big, and well worth taking.
- Another player coming into this game in a rich vein of form is Usman Khawaja, who has scores of 109*, 64, and 104* in his three BBL05 games. On the back of this form, the 3.25 on him to score a 50 here looks like value.
- All in all, this game is set up to be an excellent contest, and one that should round off what has been a hugely enjoyable competition nicely. Good luck, and I'll be back with stats for the World T20 in March.
Back Daniel Worral for top Melbourne Stars wicket taker at 4.50 with Ladbrokes
Back Usman Khawaja to score a 50 at 3.25 with Ladbrokes