Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Stars

Source: Getty Images/
Perth beat the Stars in both meetings between the pair last season. Source: Getty Images/
The Perth Scorchers  and Melbourne Stars  go in search of a first win in this season’s Big Bash competition when they lock horns at the WACA on Thursday. The Scorchers lost to the Strikers by six wickets on Sunday night, while the Stars were beaten by eight wickets against the Renegades in the season opening Melbourne derby.

Despite finishing on top of the Big Bash table at the conclusion of the league stages last season, Perth has struggled of late and has just one victory from its past five matches across the Big Bash and Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa. With Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh already sidelined for the season through injury, skipper Simon Katich will also be without opening batsman Shaun Marsh for this match after the left hander suffered further damage to his temperamental hamstring on the weekend. Marcus North  is a more than capable replacement however, having top scored in three of the eight matches that he opened the batting in last season. Michael Hussey is on Test duty with Australia meaning that Simon Katich  could be elevated into the top four after batting at six against Adelaide.

With Matthew Wade joining the Australian squad in Hobart, Peter Handscomb will make his Twenty20 debut for the Stars having scored three consecutive half centuries for Victoria. His time in the middle could be restricted given Melbourne’s powerful batting lineup however. Luke Wright  and David Hussey  were both amongst the runs at Etihad Stadium last Friday and will be hoping for more of the same, while bit hitting allrounder Glenn Maxwell  returns after being unavailable for the season opener. Of some concern will be the Stars bowling attack, who were taken apart by Aaron Finch last week. Shane Warne was particularly expensive, going for 41 runs from his two overs and the leg spinner has now gone wicket less in his past three matches.

The Perth Scorchers won both of its matches against Melbourne last season, including an 11 run semi-final victory here after setting a target of 175 for its opponents. Although the past two Twenty20 matches at the WACA have been won by the team that has bowled first, 13 of the 17 fixtures at the ground have seen the team setting a target secure the victory.

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