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Melbourne Stars BBL|07 Preview

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The perennial finals strugglers lived up to their moniker again last season, with the Stars making the finals for the sixth consecutive season and once again falling short. It was the third season in a row where the Stars faced Perth in the semi-final, with the travel to the WACA never working out for the team. The Stars are the most settled squad with not many changes eventuating in the off-season. They’ll hope this gives them a competitive advantage heading into BBL|07.

       Projected XI

  1.  Ben Dunk
  2.  Luke Wright
  3.  Kevin Pietersen
  4.  Glenn Maxwell
  5.  Marcus Stoinis
  6.  Seb Gotch (wk)
  7.  James Faulkner
  8.  John Hastings (c)
  9.  Adam Zampa
  10.  Scott Boland
  11.  Michael Beer

Rest of Squad: Rob Quiney, Sam Harper, Evan Gulbis, Jackson Coleman, Daniel Worrall, Ben Hilfenhaus

The Imports

Luke Wright

Wright has been with the Stars since day dot, with fans knowing exactly what the Englishman can produce. While some seasons he is inconsistent, he is a part of the club’s fabric and his loyalty is exactly what the Stars have needed in the world of T20. He’ll continue to open the batting and playing his role for the team.

Kevin Pietersen

If there’s anything that has been learnt watching the Melbourne Stars, it’s that KP still has it. The team’s leading run-scorer in BBL|06 despite missing a game, Pietersen is still an extremely smart batsman in this form of the game, and his insight into the game is unmatched. He’ll continue to miss a game or two over Christmas but rest assured, Pietersen is one of the best batsmen in the competition.

Strengths

Squad Depth

Much like their arch rivals at the Renegades, the Stars have great depth in their team. The decision on whether Dunk or Gotch will take the gloves will dictate whether Rob Quiney gets selected, while the likes of Michael Beer, Ben Hilfenhaus and Daniel Worrall are all fighting for one spot. The issue with the Stars is that this depth will be tested in the backend of the tournament, with three Australian limited over representative featuring in the squad.

Bowling

The Stars have three all-rounders in their top seven, which is extremely handy if the team is struggling at any point. Stoinis and Maxwell are capable of bowling their four overs, however with five frontline bowlers in their team, these two will need to settle for less. The likes of Hastings, Zampa, Beer and Boland are genuinely economical bowlers who can get wickets through putting the ball in the right areas. They make the stars a more dangerous team overall.

Weaknesses

History

The biggest issue for the Stars is their history. Regardless of what players and coaches may say, everyone is well aware of how the team has fallen apart in finals and that hurdle will weigh down on them all heading into the semi-finals. The team is good enough to win the competition, but question marks over the mentality are large.

Team’s Chances

Ben Dunk is an improvement to the Stars’ batting line-up, but whether that takes the team to the next level is a relative unknown. If he fails to fire, the Stars will be in huge trouble. A lot will also rest on the international selection of Glenn Maxwell. He needs to play as much BBL as possible for the Stars to contend for the title, and with the potential for him to feature in all three formats for Australia, these chances look a little bleak.

Prediction: 4th

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