Melbourne Stars travel to the WACA in Perth to take on the Scorchers in the second Big Bash League 2012-13 semi-final. We’ll have live scores from 8.00pm AEDT.
Last season, it was at this very stage that the Scorchers and the Stars are played each other and the Perth side had come out on top to deny their opponents a place in the final.
Revenge aside, a lot is at stake when the Stars and Scorchers meet in this second semi-final including a chance to meet the Brisbane Heat in the final and a spot at the next edition of the Champions League T20.
Both the Scorchers and the Stars ended the league stage of the tournament on 10 points but took different routes to get there. The Stars started off with a defeat before reeling off four straight victories.
Then off-field issues dominated the headlines for the Stars and they lost two of their next three but managed to qualify at the third spot in the table.
The Scorchers began poorly this season, continuing from a string of off the field issues that saw them change their support staff and captain. The change did not seem like it was working when the Scorchers started with two defeats in a row. One of them was a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of the Stars when they were bowled out for a under-par 69.
Suddenly, the lost mojo was discovered as the Scorchers went from the one extreme of only one win from six games – including the Champions League T20 played earlier in 2012 – to record five in their next six encounters to make it to the semi-finals.
Shaun Marsh’s batting at the top of the order has seen him score four half-centuries in the tournament, which is the most by any batsman this season, while Alfonso Thomas and Brad Hogg have provided them with an excellent spin-pace combination.
For the Stars, captain Shane Warne could be left without David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell and Lasith Malinga, all of who will be with the Australian national side for their series against Sri Lanka.
But in Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, he has a couple of players who can turn the game around with the bat and ball respectively, a couple he will rely on.
In a pressure knock-out game, it will be stating the obvious that the team holding their nerves will go through.
This is why, Warne’s experience in such situations should help him get a lot out of his side but he will also understand that he is up against a side that can be called a favourite. At least on paper.
We will bring you the live coverage throughout the game from the WACA in Perth and hope to receive your opinions as the action unfolds.