They say not to let emotion impact team selection but coaches will be hard pressed not to consider the farewell factor at the MCG this afternoon as the Stars with nothing to lose host the Hurricanes who have everything to play for.
This afternoon will be the last time we will see Pieterson and Quiney wield the willow in Stars (and likely any) colours and when you couple that with the fact that the Stars are 1-8 and literally have nothing (not even much pride) left to lose, the case can be made for a classic care-free knock from one of the aforementioned.
Mind you, the case can also be made that Rhinos and a 7am tee time Sunday will be more prominently on KP’s mind as the switched-on Hurricanes rip through the cellar-dwellers.
Does Dunk finally fire against the old firm? Will Short treat the Stars bowling attack with the same disdain as everyone else has this season? Just what in the name of Rhinos will KP do?
Pre-game strategies abound.
Stars: Handscomb, Dunk, Pieterson, Quiney, Gotch, Faulkner, Gulbis, Hastings, Coleman, Hilfenhaus, Bowe, (Boland, Worrall)
Hurricanes: Doolan, Short, Bailey, McDermott, Wade, Christian, Archer, Milenko, Boyce, Rose, Mills, (Reardon, Rogers)
With Boland back in the squad and Hilfenhaus leaving the club after this game there could be a reshuffle in the Stars pace attack this afternoon.
Worrall’s last two games have not helped his cause going for plenty and Hilfy can swing the ball as well, that Hurricanes top six is unlikely to show any Stars bowlers much respect tonight but watch final teams here to see who makes it in.
Hurricanes should take Milenko in as he gives them the best balance and let’s face it; his last start 66 of 37 balls makes him tough to drop!
Expect their batting order to fluctuate once again with Bailey inserting himself wherever he pleased making it all the more difficult to take McDermott with confidence - I think they will elevate Wade should an early wicket fall making him a solid keeping option.
Rose, Short, Milenko and Christian will share 8 overs between them depending on game situation as has happened last few games.
Like an Englishman in the outfield, the Hurricanes can drop one with the best of them and as mentioned above, it is a tricky game to approach given their opposition will play with so much freedom.
Value is relative here with so many mid-range options and it all depends on what your pre-game analysis is but it really is hard to miss Seb Gotch at 9k who will bat #5 in a team whose top order has repeatedly failed. The Stars have lost three wickets in the power play multiple times this season already so Gotch could see plenty of overs. The Canes will want form into Matthew Wade heading into finals I think he is the pick of the keepers at just 12.65k after a few poor scores a few games ago. Cam Boyce is great value for a leggie who will see four overs.
I just can’t see how you can fade D’Arcy Short. Should get 1-2 overs with the ball and will open against a side that has been smacked to all parts all season. Averaging 103pts so don’t overthink it. I don’t see any other players who are auto-picks but KP looms as a man hard to leave out in his farewell match.
I can make a case for almost everyone this afternoon which is rare but Tymal Mills looks the exception. Has failed to fire averaging just 25pts this season – taken just 6 wickets in 32 overs of BBL! Milenko is very very unlikely to get the time in the middle he saw last game and can be faded with strong confidence.
This game will have a heap of low 20% players. With so many bowlers priced in the same range I’d expect almost all bowlers to be hovering around that 30% mark which makes the bowling selections really important. Can see KP being highly owned and Gotch gets coaches the Archer/Short Canes stack which will be popular, but the likes of Quiney, Doolan, McDermott and Bailey will all be around 25%. James Faulkner could be the POD of the day though for those fading Short.
I can see the Stars batting first either way this afternoon as their bowling is a joke and they know it. Plenty of line-ups will have a Canes stack that features the Hurricanes openers / Archer but I’m assuming KP will get a few tonight which devalues a couple of the Hurricanes bowlers and brings into play the possibility of run rate pressure for the Hurricanes when they bat.
Take a balanced exposure line-up into this game with a focus on economical bowlers, the Stars literally have nothing to lose so one of them will get away which should see a good 350+ runs scored.