BBL 2019-20: Challenger, Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder: Dream11 Fantasy Cricket Tips-Playing XI, Pitch Report & Injury Update

Melbourne Stars have named an unchanged squad for the all-important Challenger.

Melbourne Stars
Melbourne Stars. (Photo by Stefan Gosatti – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images )

Match Details:

The Challenger of the 2019-20 Big Bash League will be played between Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne.

The match starts at 07:40 PM local time (08:40 AM GMT) (02:10 PM IST). This match will be live on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Live Streaming will be available on Sony LIV


Match Preview for Dream11 Fantasy

We are almost down to the grand finale of the 2019-20 edition of the Big Bash League and to decide as to who earns the right to compete with Sydney Sixers in the titular clash on Saturday, league-stage table-toppers Melbourne Stars will lock horns with Sydney Thunder in Melbourne.

The wheels have started to come out of  Stars’ campaign as they have now succumbed to three consecutive defeats where their over-dependence on the star duo of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell has been exposed to the hilt. They come into this game on the back of a 43-run defeat at the hands of Sydney Sixers after another inept batting performance saw them get bowled out for 99 in 18 overs.

Sydney Thunder, on the other hand, is increasingly looking like a side who is peaking at the right time. After overcoming Hobart Hurricanes (by 57 runs) in the Eliminator, they proceeded to swat aside Adelaide Strikers by eight runs.

Weather Condition/Report

Unfortunately, It is expected to be a day of scattered thunderstorms in Melbourne on Thursday. While the temperature is set to be between 13 and 25 degrees Celsius, the humidity will hover around 69%. Chances of rain- 50℅.

Pitch Condition/Report:

The past three games played at the MCG have seen chasing side struggle substantially with the pitch getting considerably slow. That said, with thunderstorms expected on Thursday, both sides might want to bowl first and also make use of the moisture.

Average first innings score:– 156 [In the last 3 completed games at the venue]

Record of chasing teams: Won – 0, Lost – 3

Injury and Availability News

Melbourne Stars have named an unchanged squad for the all-important Challenger.

Matthew Gilkes has been included in the 13-player squad as wicketkeeper Jay Lenton’s ‘shadow’ due to Lenton and his wife Gemma expecting the birth of their first child ‘any day’.

Probable Playing XIs

Melbourne Stars

Marcus Stoinis, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell (C), Peter Handscomb, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch (WK), Nick Larkin, Daniel Worrall, Adam Zampa, Clint Hinchliffe, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Haris Rauf.

Bench – Ben Dunk, Dilbar Hussain

Sydney Thunder

Alex Hales, Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson (C), Jay Lenton/Matthew Gilkes (WK), Alex Ross, Chris Morris, Arjun Nair, Daniel Sams, Chris Tremain, Jonathan Cook, Brendon Doggett

Bench – Nathan McAndrew, Jay Lenton/Matthew Gilkes

Top Picks:

Melbourne Stars: The Stars will once again bank on the superstar duo of Marcus Stoinis [612 runs] and skipper Glenn Maxwell [389 runs] to do all the running as far as batting is concerned while Haris Rauf [17 wickets] will lead the bowling unit. Adam Zampa can also be a crucial player for them at the MCG as the pitch here is on the slower side. These players can be picked in your Dream11 Fantasy team.

Sydney Thunder: 59, 60, 47, 63, 85- These have been the past five scores of Alex Hales [568 runs] for the Sydney Thunder. The English swashbuckling batsman has been in whirlwind form and will once again be the key to his side’s fortunes. Apart from Hales, his opening partner Usman Khawaja [365 runs], Alex Ross [314 runs] and Calum Ferguson [369 runs] will be key.

Daniel Sams [30 wickets] and Chris Morris [20 wickets] have 50 dismissals between them and given the fact that they also contribute with the bat, they can once again turn out to be the X-factors. Apart from the duo, Jonathan Cook [13 wickets] will be key in the middle-overs.

Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:

Captain – Alex Hales, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell

Vice-Captain – Daniel Sams, Chris Morris, Haris Rauf

Suggested Playing XI No.1 for Fantasy Cricket:

Keeper – Peter Handscomb

Batsmen – Marcus Stoinis (C), Alex Hales (VC), Callum Ferguson, Nic Maddinson

All-Rounders- Nathan Coulter Nile, Chris Morris, Daneil Sams

Bowlers – Adam Sampa, Daniel Worral, Jonathan Cook


Suggested Playing XI No.2 for Fantasy Cricket:

Keeper – Seb Gotch

Batsmen – Alex Hales, Calum Ferguson, Alex Ross, Usman Khawaja

All-Rounders- Glenn Maxwell (C), Daniel Sams (VC), Nathan Coulter-Nile

Bowlers – Haris Rauf, Jonathan Cook, Daniel Worrall


Expert Advice

Daniel Sams and Chris Morris have contributed with both bat and ball throughout the tournament. Picking them in your Dream11 Fantasy team can be a good punt. If you have to choose batsmen as captain or vice-captain, you don’t have to look farther than Alex Hales, Glenn Maxwell or Marcus Stoinis.

If a balanced team has to be picked, then either of Marcus Stoinis or Glenn Maxwell should not be selected in Fantasy team as both eat up a total of 22 credits (11 each).

Probable Winners:

Sydney Thunder are expected to win this match.

Disclaimer: This team is based on the understanding, analysis, and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.