Melbourne Stars vs. Brisbane Heat – Big Bash League, December 11, 2020
Following back-to-back runner-up finishes, Melbourne Stars begin the search for their first Big Bash title when they face Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval on Friday, December 11.
Andre Fletcher has replaced Jonny Bairstow at the top of the Stars’ batting order, with the Englishman pulling out of BBL 10. Brisbane has also been hit by an early departure, with big-hitter Tom Banton leaving the squad.
After taking a look at the bookmakers’ odds, I provide my Melbourne Stars vs. Brisbane Heat prediction and betting pick.
Melbourne Stars vs. Brisbane Heat Odds
It is no real surprise that the leading online sportsbooks view the Stars (1.67) as the favorites to win this one. After all, they have reached the final in each of the past two seasons.
Brisbane (2.20) had a season to forget last term, finishing second-bottom in the table. However, the Heat has made a number of eye-catching signings during the offseason.
Melbourne Stars vs. Brisbane Heat Preview
It’s safe to say that the Stars must be the unluckiest team in Big Bash history. Three final losses and five semi-final defeats in the last nine years mean the Melbourne club is still searching for their first BBL crown.
The Stars finished top of the standings last term, winning ten of their 14 matches. They may have eventually lost out to the Sixers in the final, but I think the team has plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into the new campaign.
Marcus Stoinis was the leading run scorer in the competition last season. Not only did he smash almost 150 runs more than his nearest challenger, he also notched up the highest score in BBL history, smashing 147* from 79 balls.
Only three bowlers took more wickets that spinner Adam Zampa last term, while Glenn Maxwell shone throughout the campaign. If the Stars’ key performers remain consistent in 2020/21, last year’s runner-up could easily be this year’s winner.
We've locked in more West Indian power, Andre Fletcher joins #TeamGreen ? ?— Melbourne Stars (@StarsBBL) December 2, 2020
Following a below-par BBL 9 campaign, Brisbane will be desperate to get back on track this season. The Heat failed to qualify for the playoffs last term, winning just six of their 14 matches.
Still, the Queenslanders can take confidence from the fact that they beat the Stars by 71 runs in their previous meeting. An AB de Villiers masterclass – 71 from 37 – got Brisbane over the line on that occasion, although the veteran South African has since parted ways with the club.
The Heat also lost Ben Cutting to the Thunder and Matt Renshaw to the Strikers during the offseason, while bowler James Pattinson joined the Renegades. Morne Morkel recently arrived from the Scorchers, yet it could be argued that Brisbane’s team is weaker than last season.
Even with Chris Lynn – the BBL’s record run-scorer – in their ranks, the Queenslanders could struggle to compete this term.
Melbourne Stars vs. Brisbane Heat Pick
Melbourne Stars to Win1.67
The Stars head into BBL 10 with a point to prove, and I believe the opening match against Brisbane provides Melbourne with an ideal opportunity to kick off the new campaign with a win.
The Heat will be hoping to improve on last season’s seventh-place finish, but I can’t see the Queenslanders winning on Friday.