Hussey In For Big Bash Semi

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/
Michael Hussey scored 4 for Perth in the opening game of the season. Picture: Daniel Wilkins/
The Perth Scorchers  will be bidding for another Big Bash final appearance when they host the Melbourne Stars  at the WACA in the second semi-final on Wednesday night. Not only is a place in the decider at stake, but also a berth in the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 tournament that the Sydney Sixers won last year.

Retired Test batsman Mike Hussey  will play his first match for the Scorchers since their round one meeting with Adelaide when he lines up against the Stars, after replacing Joe Mennie in the squad that scored a comprehensive 98 run win over the Strikers in the final round of the regular season. Marcus North is the man most likely to make way for his inclusion despite doing little wrong at first drop this season, with coach Justin Langer unlikely to break up his dangerous opening partnership  of Shaun Marsh  and Herschelle Gibbs . The pair has shared in three half century partnerships at the top of the order this season and played a key role in Perth winning five of its past six matches to finish the regular season in second place on the table.

The Melbourne Stars have been forced to make a host of changes to their squad from the team which scored a 13 run win over Sydney Thunder last week. David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell and Clint McKay are all unavailable on international duty for Australia, while Lasith Malinga – the destroyer with 6/7 last time these team met – remains with the Sri Lankan ODI touring party. Scott Henry  and Peter Handscomb are strong chances to be recalled to the side, while Daniel Worrall and Alex Keath could make their Big Bash debuts.

With several experienced campaigners unavailable, Shane Warne will be relying on Brad Hodge  and Cameron White  to make major contributions with the bat. Hodge has been in fine form throughout the tournament and top scored with 39 against the Thunder, but White has looked hopelessly out of touch and has scored just 90 runs from his seven visits to the crease this season and will need to find some form to send his team through to the decider.

These sides met in the corresponding match last season, with the Scorchers 11 run victors courtesy of a scintillating 71 from 47 balls by South African import Herschelle Gibbs. That win was one of two that Perth has scored over the Stars, although their lone win was a comprehensive one in the most recent meeting between the sides. Melbourne were ruled 10 wicket winners by the Duckworth/Lewis method under controversial circumstances after bowling the Scorchers out for 69 here on December 12 last year.

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