Ed Hawkins previews the clash from the MCG on Wednesday and says the champions should be backed at odds-against
"Sixers are best in a chase and if the flip goes the way they want it to we’ll use that as green light to get with them"
Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers
Wednesday 15 December 10.35
TV: live on Sky Sports
Stars finding their way
The Stars have won two-in-row and, man for man, look like title contenders. However, both wins came against Sydney Thunder.
Previous to that they were humiliated by the Sixers in the opening game of the tour-nament. They conceded 213 and were then bowled out for 61.
That result must be taken with a pinch of salt, too. There was no Marcus Stoinis, Andre Russell, Nathan Coulter-Nile or Qais Ahmed.
The Stars could do with Liam Hatcher and Billy Stanlake making the squad to bolster a pace attack which could be their undoing. But they miss out again.
Possible XI: Stoinis, Clarke, Larkin, Maxwell, Russell, Cartwright, Webster, Coulter-Nile, Couch, Qais, Zampa
Sixers still strong
It is early days for the Sixers, too, although there is little doubt that they are the best balanced side in the competition.
So far, they are one match away from a full house of differing performances. They've batted huge against Stars, defended 144 against Hobart and then leaked a big score themselves against the Hurricanes. They will want to avoid a poor batting display to complete the set.
Should we be alarmed by them conceding 213 against the Hurricanes? Well, we're not surprised. They were second-bottom on economy last season and still won the title.
Ben Dwarshius comes back into the squad for the first time this season after recovering from injury. That could be bad news for Chris Jordan, pricey against Hobart.
Possible XI: Philippe, Vince, Henriques, Christian, Hughes, Silk, Curran, Abbott, Dwarshius,
The 'G is not one of the more exciting grounds in the Bash. It's first innings average is just shy of 160 and there is no toss bias, a few ticks shy of a 50-50 record down the years.
Not surprisingly it has one of the lowest six tallies in the tournament. Only five were hit in Stars' recent success over Thunder. The hosts had batted first and made 165.
Total match sixes is available at under 8.5 at even money with Sportsbook. It's been a winner 58% of the time so it looks like a rick. There's a small chance of rain disrupting proceedings, too.
With both teams shy on the bowling front and prone to conceding boundaries the wise move might be to get above the par line if its set around the 163.5 mark.
Sixers the bet
Stars are 1.865/6 and Sixers 2.0811/10. This is a rare opportunity to get with the champions at odds-against and it is hard not to reckon it is a pre-Christmas gift.
The previous head-to-head is not relevant in terms of our thinking but we're surprised it's not had an impact on the odds. We suspect the Dre Russ factor is at play.
Sixers are best in a chase and if the flip goes the way they want it to we'll use that as green light to get with them.
It will be a tough test for them. The spin of Qais Ahmed could well be the game for the Stars. For Sixers they will look to target those fifth and sixth bowling options, Russell included.
Nick Larkin is again underrated. Sportsbook go 13/2 about the Stars hitter who bats at No 3. Larkin won man of the match against Thunder. Stoinis is 9/4 favourite with Maxwell 16/5. Russell is 4/1. For Sixers, Dan Christian has batted twice at No 4 and once at No 6 so the 14/1 on offer should be taken.
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Ed Hawkins P-L
2021: +27.41 2020: +5.91 2019: +37.25pts 2018: +23.53pts 2017: +12pts 2016: +18.1pts 2015: +38pts 2014: +31.5pts 2013: +25pts Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l