Selection and batting order questions dominate coaches thinking as we head into KP’s penultimate game at the MCG.
Will Wright return? Will the Stars play both their young spinners at the G? Will Denly and Pieterson repeat their last-start heroics? Will Dratftstars realise that Ben Dwarshius is a bowler, not an all-rounder?
So many questions.
All I know is when I went to start this preview I looked on the fridge and two of the kids’ magnetic letters were staring right back at me – KP. It’s a sign I tell you, I sign!
Stars: Wright*, Dunk, Pieterson, Handscomb, Maxwell, Faulkner, Hastings, Coleman, Worrall, Fallins, Bowe (Gotch*, Gulbis)
Sixers: Denly, Hughes, Maddinson, Henriques, Silk, Braithwaite, Neville Botha, Dwarshius, Abbott, Lyon (Sams, Bird)
If Wright plays, Gotch will miss and Wright’s return should push Handscomb back down into #4, but given how much trouble Wright has had with spin and the fact Lyon will bowl 3 of the six powerplay overs, there is a strong chance that he will ‘not pass’ his fitness test leaving the top six as last start.
Expect young Bowe gets a game ahead of Gulbis who is surplus to requirements with four seamers already in the side. Taking two spinners into a clash at the MCG just makes sense.
The visitors should be unchanged with Abbott evidently favoured over both Bird and Sams who despite being able to actually hit their Yorkers and/or bowl to a plan, can’t get a game.
The value is Moses Henriques. 16.5k for the captain - who will bat #4 and bowl at least 2 overs - is a steal. If he wasn’t so cheap he’d be a must-have. Ben Dunk represents great value if you disregard his season average and the fact that Lyon will create plenty of pressure early for the Stars openers. Dunk is a proven power hitter and could create a huge gap on Handscomb and Neville in the WK column, should he fire tonight.
Nathan Lyon got taken by Vince for 11 in his first over and still finished with 2/24 off his 4. One of the best T20 bowlers going around particularly when pitted against an Englishmen who can’t play spin and an out-of-form left hander. Bank 50+ here. I’m expecting 70+. Hoping his 52pts last start has others looking elsewhere but fear he will be 60%+ owned. KP coming off a last-start 124pt effort and when combined with the freaky fridge-voodoo (see above) I experienced earlier, it’s hard to leave him out. He'll be stupidly popular tonight though, upwards of 50%.
Couldn’t pay me money to pick Sean Abbott in most games but especially tonight against a Stars batting lineup that seems to have found it’s groove. If I am KP, Maxy or Faulkner (and let’s face it, had it not been for those shin splints in U12’s I probably would be) I’m targeting Abbott big time tonight. Probably means he gets his junk wicket (maybe) but you can forget about economy rate bonuses and he will bat far too far down the list to feature in the runs. Also not even looking at Luke Wright tonight if he plays on Lyon-factor alone.
David Worrall should have played quite a few games ago for the Stars. His outswing and general control led to 11 dot balls against a Renegades side who have destroyed every other side. With Denly and Hughes being so aggressive last-start many will fade Worrall tonight. I expect him to be around 15% given plenty will jump on Lyon or Coleman (last-start ton) and not many will opt for two expensive bowlers. As always Daniel Hughes is the perennial POD in the batting. Was 16% owned last-start from memory which is standard for him. If the Sixers bowl first Hughes is a really good play. If you like a Sixers top order collapse Jordan Silk will likely be single digit ownership – worth a go in multiples.
Game starts 7:40pm AEDT, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne