It seems that almost every year, Melbourne Stars fans get excited at the start of the BBL and stay excited till the playoffs, and face disappointment. We don’t know if that’ll be the case this year, but what we do know is that the Stars are off to a solid start with a comfortable victory against Brisbane Heat. To be fair, Heat themselves couldn’t put up much of a fight, and pretty much crumbled under the quality of the Stars. It may have been a pretty one-sided affair, but there’s still quite a lot to mull over as we examine 5 talking points from Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars.
1. The cost of being too safe
At the top level, any sport requires some plays that are either risky, high-quality, or out of the box. You can’t expect to stay safe and win if your opponents are succeeding in making some special plays. Looking at Brisbane Heat’s scorecard, one can’t help but feel dismay at the terrible strike rate of the players, with the highest being a subpar-for-T20 114 belonging to someone who scored all of 8 runs. Sure, the bowling was good, but if you’re not being able to score runs and also losing regular wickets, something’s not right. No wonder 3 of their batsmen were run out trying to risk extra runs.
2. Nathan Coulter-Nile on the field
It’s rare for a fielding side player to have as good a day as Nathan Coulter-Nile has had today. Conceding only 10 runs from 3.5 overs, taking four wickets, or running two batsmen out would be a fantastic feat on their own, but all three together is borderline ridiculous. A stellar performance from a talented player that will no doubt get the selectors to reassess his exclusion from the national team.
3. Dilbar Hussain - a star in the making
He might look like an executive at a firm who writes poetry during work breaks, but make no mistake - Dilbar Hussain is a rising talent who has a good chance of shining if given the chance. Picking up 2 for 24 from 4 in this match took Hussain’s bowling average down to an excellent 22.85 and his strike rate to an incredible 15.4 from 16 matches. We can only hope that morning shows the day, and Hussain continues to excel at his craft.
4. Cartwright and Maxwell - two hot for Heat
A measly 125 isn’t much of a target to set, but Heat did have Stars fans worried for a bit when they got them down to 34-3 off 6.1 overs. However, Hilton Cartwright steadied the inning with a calm 46 off 42, while Glenn Maxwell played bad cop and smashed those in his path for a blazing 46 off 26. Together, they got around 75% of the runs needed by their team, and were the crucial difference between the batting performances of the two sides.
5. Economical but not incisive
There are matches where you score a score large enough for economical bowling to create enough pressure on its own. When you’re only defending 125, however, taking wickets is the only option. Brisbane Heat did manage to do so at the start, but they couldn’t break Maxwell and Cartwright’s partnership until it was too late. With only 4 wickets downed in 17.1 overs, Heat need to be more dangerous than that with the ball.
What’s next for these two teams?
After stewing in their opening loss for 3 days, Brisbane Heat will face Sydney Thunder at the Manuka Oval in Canberra at 1:45PM IST on Monday, December 14. Meanwhile, Melbourne Stars will barely get any rest as they also go up against Thunder in less than 14 hours from the time of writing. That match also takes place at the same venue at 10:35AM IST on Saturday, December 12.
How our predictions went
The start of any tournament is difficult to predict, and it showed. Heat won neither the toss nor the match, and Larkin and Lynn weren’t the best batsmen. Stoinis and Cooper didn’t get fifties - in fact, no one did. Mujeeb ur Rahman wasn’t in the match at all, but thankfully, our pick of Nathan Coulter-Nile was right on the money. As for boundaries, the Stars got the most of both boundaries. Join us next time when we review the potential thriller between Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder!