Melbourne Stars the team to beat in the Big Bash League
The Big Bash League is underway and there have already been some enthralling matches taking place across Australia.
Sydney Thunder are the early leaders after picking up five points from their opening three games and are amongst the favourites with the bookmakers to win this season’s title.
Melbourne Stars are also prominent in the outright cricket betting odds to lift the trophy after recording victories in their first two matches.
Read on as we look at the latest round of results in BBL09 and predict who we think will go on to win The Final next February.
Bushfires put paid to Sydney’s chances of third victory
Thunder started the new campaign with two successive wins, but Mother Nature denied them the chance of a third against Adelaide Strikers.
The game was abandoned because of poor air quality caused by smoke from bushfires with Thunder on 40-1 as they chased 162 to win the match.
The decision was made just 4.2 overs into Thunder’s innings and left the teams each taking a point from the game.
Victories in their previous matches over Brisbane Heat and Melbourne Renegades had highlighted Thunder’s title credentials and they were unfortunate to miss out on the chance to add a third win.
Callum Ferguson was on his way to building another big total against Adelaide and his team could be tough to beat this season.
Melbourne make it two-out-of-two
Marcus Stoinis hit an unbeaten 81 as the Stars racked up an impressive 163 for 4 against the Hobart Hurricanes.
Haris Rauf then weighed in with 5-27 as the Hurricanes were skittled out for 111 by the end of the 16th over.
Rauf in particular was impressive, producing a devastating display of fast bowling that completely bamboozled the Hurricanes.
Glenn Maxwell’s decision to use himself in the powerplay also paid dividends as he took the key wickets of D’Arcy Short and David Miller.
The Stars finished runners-up last season and with Maxwell in this sort of form it would be a brave move to back against them going one better this time around.
Brisbane prove too hot to handle
Brisbane Heat got off the mark for the current season with a dominating 48 run victory over Sydney Sixers.
Chris Lynn led the way superbly with the bat, smashing 94 off 35 balls to help Heat amass a total of 209 for 4.
Lynn had hit just nine and six in his opening two matches, but bounced back to form with a vengeance against the Sixers.
Lynn eventually fell to Benjamin Manenti, narrowly missing out on what would have been an absolutely stunning century.
Despite the victory, Brisbane still appear to be overly reliant on their main batsmen and don’t appeal as likely winners of BBL09.
Mixed start for Perth Scorchers
Perth Scorchers had a mixed time of things as they kicked-off their campaign with two games in three days.
The Scorchers racked up 196 for 7 against the Renegades to seal a hard fought 11 run victory in their opening match.
Mitchell Marsh hit a fine half-century to lead Perth to their third highest ever total in the history of the BBL.
However, they were unable to follow up as they fell by 15 runs against Adelaide in their second outing.
Jake Weatherald top scored for the Strikers with 83 off 47 balls, while Rashid Khan weighed in with three wickets to ensure Perth fell short of the target.
BBL09 Prediction: Melbourne Stars have been in fine form in their opening two matches and could be tough to beat this season. They were narrowly defeated by the Renegades in last year’s final, but can go one better this time around.