Lasith Malinga took 6/7 against the Scorchers. Picture: Daniel Wilkins/perthnow.com.au
The Melbourne Stars play their first home game of the season when they host Hobart at the MCG on Saturday night and Stars fans will be hoping for more Malinga magic after the right-arm quick routed the Scorchers with the best figures in Australian domestic Twenty20 history earlier in the week. The Sri Lankan limited overs specialist took 6 for 7 against Perth on Wednesday to set up the first win for his side in this year’s competition and will be looking for another big showing at Australia’s home of cricket.
Englishman Luke Wright will also be looking forward to the match against the Hurricanes having blasted the fastest domestic T20 century in Australia when the sides met last season at Blundstone Arena. The hard hitting opener reach his ton from just 44 balls in that match before eventually being dismissed for 117 and also shared an opening partnership of 172 with Rob Quiney in Tasmania. Although Wright has started the season well – with scores of 53 and 23* - Quiney is yet to recapture his best form in the competition and will be hoping that a return to the ‘G’ will trigger a change of fortunes for the left hander, who has averaged just 4.83 since debuting for Australia last month.
Despite being well below its best, Hobart was too good for the Brisbane Heat last Sunday and will be determined to maintain its unbeaten record against the Stars, who was one of only two teams to beat the Hurricanes in last season’s group stages. Travis Birt and Owais Shah were at it again at the Gabba, guiding their side to victory with an unbroken 95 run stand and will be looking forward to a return bout against Melbourne, whom they both scored 50s against last time. Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting could return at the top of the order in place of Jonathan Wells, while Jason Krejza could also be recalled in favour of Ben Laughlin. Doug Bollinger went for 47 from his four overs in Brisbane but is more than capable of bouncing back from that sub-par performance.
The Stars were 19 run victors after posting a mammoth 203 in last season’s only meeting between these sides. Melbourne lost its first two home matches last season before recovering to win its final two, while the Hurricanes have one of the best away records in the competition with three victories from its four fixtures on the road.
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