December 22: Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes in Moe
Our XI: D’Arcy Short, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Marcus Stoinis, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Qais Ahmad, Riley Meredith, Haris Rauf, Adam Zampa
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates
Captain: D’Arcy Short
Last season’s star performer – and highest run-getter – has got off to a flier this time too, with a match-winning 40-ball 51 in the Hurricanes’ season opener. Short strikes at 151 in Big Bash powerplays and is very difficult to dislodge, as his average of 54 indicates.
Vice-captain: Glenn Maxwell
Maxwell has returned to the game after a break to deal with mental-health issues, and cracked his second-highest Big Bash score in the Stars’ first game against the Brisbane Heat. He would be an automatic captain pick if he batted higher than No. 5, where batting opportunities are limited in a T20 game, but even with a handful of deliveries to work with, he can create magic.
The Afghan wristspinner has had a good time of it in T20 leagues around the world, and bagged a four-wicket haul to derail the Sydney Sixers’ chase at Alice Springs the other day. His celebrations won’t bring you bonus points, but if he gets a few chances to perform those, the better off your team will be.
Dunk is coming off a hot streak in the Mzansi Super League, where he finished as the leading run-scorer with 415 runs. Dunk is the Big Bash’s fourth-highest run-getter of all time, so expect him to turn things around after a poor first game.
Gets into the XI ahead of Sandeep Lamichhane, who is a riskier proposition in the powerplay. Zampa picked up three wickets and successfully stalled Tom Banton’s onslaught in the Stars’ first game. On reputation and recent form, he could prove to be the game changer against the Hurricanes’ middle order.
The express quick has been hailed as one of the more exciting young talents in Australia for a while now, and impressed with returns of 4-0-10-1 in their opener against the Sixers. Meredith is most effective through the middle overs, where he has an economy rate of 6.96 in the Big Bash. A dependable bowling asset for your XI.
Drafted in as a last-minute replacement for Dale Steyn, Rauf had an excellent outing on Big Bash debut. While he is uncapped at the international level, his numbers from the Pakistan Super League make for impressive reading: ten wickets at an economy rate of 7.06 in the post-powerplay phase. Potentially a good budget pick.
Points to note
There has only been one Big Bash game in Moe, the venue for this game. The Stars, powered by Dunk’s 53-ball 72, put up 167 and went to win by 44 runs. Since that’s not much information to spot a trend, pack your XI with batsmen and allrounders to have most bases covered (and hope for the best).