January 2: Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Stars in Sydney
Our XI: Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales, Chris Morris, Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Green, Dale Steyn
THU vs STA – Head to Head Stats
Captain: Marcus Stoinis
The Stars’ highest run-scorer after four games, with two half-centuries and a top score of 73 – Stoinis has remained not out twice, and averages 78 per dismissal. There’s a handy strike rate of 146 as well.
Vice-captain: Daniel Sams
The fast bowler takes a wicket every 11.4 deliveries so far, and has had two-wicket hauls in three of those games.
Three wickets in his first four games this BBL may not sound too impressive, but Green’s ability to crank up the dot-ball pressure usually helps him eventually prise out a wicket. He bowls in the powerplay often and his four catches in four games is the most among the Thunder fielders.
The rejuvenated allrounder played only two of the Thunder’s first four games, but has taken two wickets each on both occasions. Bats at No. 6 or 7 and has been the team’s bowler at the death this season. Offers points with both bat and ball.
He is the death bowler for the Stars, who can also hit the ball a fair distance. When the Stars collapsed against the Adelaide Strikers earlier this season, Coulter-Nile thumped an eight-ball 20, and his strike rate with the ball after the Stars’ first four games is 18.
Peter Handscomb: The best player of spin for the Stars, Handscomb bats at No. 5 and can arrest batting collapses. He has two scores in the twenties and a stylish 34 to his name already, and though he has been somewhat overshadowed by Glenn Maxwell’s fireworks, Handscomb has been a consistent BBL performer.
Alex Hales: Hales is the Thunder’s second-highest run-scorer and averages 39.33. He also has the highest strike rate (153.24) among the Thunder batsmen and has struck the most fours too. He has gone past 30 in four of his last seven T20s, including scores of 97* for Durban Heat and 68 for the Thunder against the Melbourne Renegades.