The first semi-final of the 2016-17 Big Bash League is set to take place on Tuesday, January 24, as the Perth Scorchers take on the runners-up from last season, the Melbourne Stars at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground. Perth might have a slight advantage heading into this match, as it is being played at their home ground.
The two teams are meeting for the fifth time in the semi-final of the Big Bash League. The Stars will be determined to go all the way and win the tournament after they finished as the runners-up last season. The Perth Scorchers will also be highly motivated this season after getting knocked out in the semi-finals of the last season.
The Perth Scorchers finished on top of the table on the basis of the Net Run Rate. After something of an up-and-down campaign, they managed to secure a place in the semi-final after they defeated the Hobart Hurricanes in their final game. They did so in less than 14 overs, and were rewarded with a home semi-final.
Michael Klinger has been a major force in the batting line-up for the Scorchers, and they will need him to continue his form in this vital game too. Along with him, Shaun Marsh finally looks to have found his form after he hit a superb 57 from 34 balls in their last game. The Scorchers will want more of the same for him. The Scorchers also have Adam Voges, Ashton Turner and Ian Bell, who can be dangerous with the bat.
Mitchell Johnson and Tim Bresnan have been two of Perth's top bowlers in the tournament and they will be hoping the duo can be at their best, with David Willey still away on England duty.
Despite losing to the Sydney Sixers in their final game of the Big Bash League, the Melbourne Stars managed to get the fourth position, thanks to a slightly better run rate than that of the local rivals, Melbourne Renegades.
Luke Wright will lead the batting line for the Stars, and they will be happy that he has come to form at the right time after he scored two 50s in their last two matches. Along with him, Kevin Pietersen and Rob Quiney will also play important roles for the Stars as they look for their first BBL title.
Scott Boland and Ben Hilfenhaus have been among the top wicket takers in the tournament and they will want to continue that feat in this all-important semi-final clash. The good news for the Melbourne Stars heading into this match is that they will welcome back Marcus Stoinis who was released from international duty.
When the Melbourne Stars defeated the Perth Scorchers earlier in the Big Bash League, it was Marcus Stoinis' superb show with the bat that made all the difference and they will want him to put in another similar performance.
The first semi-final between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Renegades is set to start at 16:40 local time (2:10pm IST, 8:30am GMT)
Where to watch
India: Star Sports 2/HD2. Live Streaming: Hotstar.com
Australia: TV: Network Ten. Live Streaming: Bigbash.com.au
United Kingdom: Sky Sports 2/HD2. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports
USA and Canada: Willow TV
South Africa: Supersport