Ed Hawkins says a toss bias makes Perth a value bet in the Big Bash at the MCG early on Saturday...
"Stars don't have a great record defending scores. They have won three and lost three. And confidence could have suffered with the way allowed Renegades to recover to get up and win"
Melbourne Stars v Perth Scorchers
Saturday 22 January, 08:15
TV: live on Sky Sports
Melbourne Stars suffered the ignominy of defeat by cross-town rivals the Renegades last time out. It was only Renegades' third win and reinforced doubts that Stars have what it takes to claim their first title.
As we have said before, there is little wrong with their top order. Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell and Nick Larkin are reliable and dangerous. But there's not much else to like. The bowling looks particularly weak.
And the squad is getting weaker. Andre Fletcher, the opening bat, has played his last game of the tournament. It leaves a question mark about who will open with Stoinis. Larkin? Nic Maddinson? And Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf has returned for international duty. One bright spot, though, is the return to fitness of Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Possible XI Stoinis, Maddinson, Larkin, Maxwell, Cartwright, Gotch, Coulter-Nile, Hatcher, Zampa, Zahir, Stanlake,
Perth went into second position in the table after beating Hobart Hurricanes on Friday morning. It means that with two games still to play they retain slim hopes of overhauling Sydney Sixers at the top of the table.
They were far too strong for the Canes. The Scorchers' reliable batting smashed their way to an imposing 179 with Josh Inglis, thriving in the middle order, top scoring with 58. Jason Roy and Liam Livingstone had got them off to a typical fast start. Jhye Richardson hit late runs to suggest he is approaching all-rounder status.
The best bowling attack in the tournament then did the business. Richardson claimed four wickets, Jason Behrendorff two with an economy rate of just 4.25 while Aaron Hardie got through two economical overs in a major boost.
They are not perfectly balanced, by any means, but their confidence is soaring. Mitchell Marsh has returned after injury.
Possible XI Roy, Livingstone, Munro, Inglis, M Marsh, Turner, Richardson, Hardie, Tye, Behrendorff, Fawad.
The 'G is not a great place to bat first. Sides doing so have only a win percentage of 39 in the last six competitions. The average score batting first is 160, though, which suggests those wide open spaces are a challenge to defend. More than 46% of teams bust 160.
Stars are 2.1011/10 with Scorchers 1.824/5. If those prices were to hold if Scorchers were chasing, we'd be very keen to play them.
Stars don't have a great record defending scores. They have won three and lost three. And confidence could have suffered with the way allowed Renegades to recover to get up and win.
Coulter-Nile is key for them. Against his old team he needs a strong performance. Not that it's guaranteed to rescue Stars. He took three wickets against Renegades but that wasn't enough.
We note Maddinson's price of 15/2 for top Stars bat. Not because we particularly rate him but he has opened in the past for Stars and could reprise that role. Stoinis is 9/4 favourite and Maxwell 16/5. Maxwell is underrated on win rate and retains the same price as when Fletcher was playing.
As for Perth, do we keep faith with Ashton Turner who is now out to 12/1? He is massively overdue and gives us almost five points on his actual win rate. It is a value wager. Let's hope some of Perth's hitters get frustrated by the big 'G boundaries.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l & COB Best Bets year end