Big Bash League Team of the Week: Melbourne Stars
Melbourne Stars are yet to lose a game in the Big Bash and have booked their place in the semifinal of the competition.
Although they have had a few close shaves, their players have always helped them come out on top.
Melbourne Stars also made it to the semifinal of the competition last year, where they lost to the Perth Scorchers on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Here's a look at their performances over the last week.
Highlights: Melbourne Stars vs. Adelaide Strikers at the MCG
A crushing win for Melbourne against Adelaide at the MCG saw the hosts win by eight wickets after bowling the Strikers out for just 90.
James Faulkner was the star of the show with his three for nine, backed up by Lasith Malinga, who took two for eight.
Only two Adelaide batsmen managed to get into double figures, with Michael Klinger scoring 42 and Kane Richardson adding 21.
Melbourne's response was simple.
Despite losing Cameron White early, Luke Wright smashed 49 off 20 as the hosts won within eight overs.
Highlights: Brisbane Heat vs. Melbourne Stars at Brisbane
Melbourne continued their winning streak with a three-wicket win over Brisbane Heat.
As the cliche goes, it went down to the wire, with the Stars getting over the line with just two balls to spare.
Brisbane won the toss and chose to bat first, posting 144-7 thanks to a blustering knock of 68 off 49 from Dan Christian.
Jackson Bird with his two for 25 and Lasith Malinga with two for 21 were the pick of the bowlers.
In response, Melbourne's batsmen all chipped in with a few handy knocks to see their team over the line.
Highlights of the clash, including some of Malinga's flinging deliveries, are above.
Leading Run Scorer: Luke Wright
Luke Wright has been in fine form for the Melbourne Stars and tops their run-scoring charts with 210 runs at an average of 35.00.
No one in the team has scored a hundred yet, but between Wright and Cameron White, boundaries have flown freely.
Wright's top score was 70 against the Melbourne Renegades, last year, highlights of which can be found above.
Leading Wicket Taker: Jackson Bird
Jackson Bird has 12 wickets in six games at an average of 12.91.
He has been on point when his team needed him and although his economy rate is on the high side (6.45), he has been effective and a crucial cog in the Melbourne Stars' wheel.
Lasith Malinga has been equally impressive with his trademark yorkers doing the business when it matters.
What Awaits the Melbourne Stars This Week
Barring a dramatic turn of events, Melbourne Stars will contest this year's Big Bash semifinal. Before that, though, they have two games remaining.
Both games will be played at the MCG—the first of which will see them face the Hobart Hurricanes on Tuesday, January 21.
The Hurricanes have won just two games this season, so the Stars should expect a fiesty team trying to ensure they qualify for the semifinal.
Considering the home side's form, it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Melbourne then play Perth Scorchers in their final game of the group stage on Monday, January 27.
They lost to the Scorchers in last season's semifinal and might see this as an opportunity for some revenge. Perth have been in good form this year, having won four out of their six games at this stage.
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