The final game of today’s triple header is also the end of the regular season. Last nights match came down the to final over and could have set up a brilliant finish in tonight’s game, but alas the Renegades couldn’t get over the line. That means that the Melbourne Stars are hosting the Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG in a dead rubber, with the Canes safely through to the finals and the Stars missing out. Melbourne is going to turn on some perfect weather so we can at least enjoy the match for what it is.


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Expected Stars Xl: Clarke, Maxwell, Burns, Stoinis, Cartwright, Webster, Zampa, Rainbird, Coulter-Nile, Daniyal, Couch (Hinchcliffe, Larkin)

Expected Hurricanes Xl: McDermott, Jewell, Wade, Short, Handscomb, David, Thompson, Lamichanne, Rogers, Kann, Meredith (Ellis, Owen, Parker)


The Stars are starting as $1.76 favourites, which only make it sting more that they have nothing to play for. The batting looks strong, particularly with Joe Clarke in stellar form averaging 79 points in the last 8 matches. Getting some form out of Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis would only make it look even more daunting. The bowling is essentially just Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile, with Sam Rainbird, Ahmed Daniyal, Brody Couch and Glenn Maxwell all at best 50/50 propositions in terms of contributing with the ball.


The Hurricanes are safe, but they’ll want to give the full-strength team another run after almost losing to the cellar-dweller Renegades and needing some better form in a couple of areas. They’ll be grateful for improved showing from Matt Wade & D’Arcy Short lately, as well as a couple of impressive innings from Caleb Jewell. That means the only remaining weak link in the batting is Peter Handscomb. Riley Meredith, Thomas Rogers and Sandeep Lamichanne are a strong bowling trio, but relying on Kann/Thompson/Short/David as the 4th & 5th bowlers is an issue. Getting back Nathan Ellis and/or Scott Boland will go a long way to fortifying the ability to restrict opposition teams.


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Love It - Caleb Jewell $13,000

There isn’t anyone cheaper than Jewell on this slate who can be picked with confidence, so I’m liking his couple of good scores in a row and his seemingly secure role at the top of the order. With the Stars looking a little weak in the bowling department, he’ll have every opportunity to get the innings off to a fast start again. My one reservation is that the MCG is a bigger ground, and Jewell is the sort of player who will take on the boundary but may not have the power to get away with it. Fingers crossed he makes hay in the powerplay and anything else is a bonus.


Love It - Thomas Rogers $15,200

The breakout season continued for the journeyman quick, with his 4th 3-wicket haul against the Renegades. Given he’s been as good as (or better) than Meredith, Zampa, Stoinis and Coulter-Nile; his price is quite generous. With a nice role at the end of the innings, and with this likely to be a high-scoring game with two strong batting groups, I think the best chance to score points as a bowler is bowling at the death and picking up some cheap wickets while the lower-order players are swinging hard. Lamichanne also has a good opportunity on the bigger ground where spin can be harder to get away.


Don’t Love It- Marcus Stoinis $17,100

We finally saw a bit of form in his last inning, with a nice cameo of 29 off 10 balls. While that is nice, we’ll still need to see more to consider him at this price tag, and I’m just not sure if he has it in him right now. Whether it’s the injuries he’s carrying, or a hangover from the World Cup, he’s not been useful once in his 7 games this season and I don’t expect that to change tonight.


Don’t Love It - Sam Rainbird $11,700

Rainbird has scored more than 37 points twice in his 17 games over the last 5 seasons of BBL. Because we have some cheaper guys who are also unlikely to do much for us, this isn’t really the type of dart throw I’m interested in. His limited skillset isn’t really suited to this form of the game, and I’d rather spend a bit more to play Couch with his death-bowling role, or go down to the next guy I’m going to mention.


Who Knows - Ahmed Daniyal $8800

Daniyal has nailed his consistency so far, with scores of 18,19 & 20. He’s picked up one wicket in each game and been nowhere near getting his economy bonus. That means it’s probably going to take multiple wickets for him to become a must-have at this price, but even 20 points can be useful if it allows us to get up to the likes of McDermott, Maxwell, Wade and Short. He has enough pace to be hard to handle if the Stars can get into the Hurricanes lower order, so I think we need to keep this unknown international firmly in our plans.


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