Five balls could determine whether the Melbourne Stars make the finals or miss out and Marcus Stoinis is happy to take responsibility either with the bat or the ball.
Last year’s Big Bash runners-up have to take down their conquerors from last season in an Australia Day showdown with the Sydney Sixers which could shape the entire finals series.
The MCG clash will be the last game of the regular season, giving both teams all the information needed to know what will be required to keep their title hopes alive.
The Stars, who have only missed the finals once in the previous nine BBL seasons, currently sit seventh on the table, three points out of the top five but with a positive net run rate in their favour.
The Sixers are second, but could jump to first with a win, and a Scorchers loss earlier in the day.
Losses in the past two games have put the Stars on the edge, but Stoinis said in any T20 game the difference between winning and losing could come down to the finest of margins.
And as his team’s leading run-scorer again this year, last year’s player of the tournament said he enjoys the “responsibility” that could come with shaping those make-or-break moments for his team.
“In T20 it’s usually five balls with the bat, and five with the ball that can change the game,”Stoinis said on Monday.
“It’s only little things. It’s never something big. It’s going to be important to stay calm and clear with what we want to do and look to take the game on. There’s no point playing safe.
Glenn Maxwell needs to bounce back for the Stars after a last-start duck (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
“It’s all or nothing. It’s not the ideal position to be in. It’s still in our hands, we win this game, pretty much we go through.
“Personally I enjoy the responsibility. You have to see it like that. Me batting to win the game, to take the game on, gives the team the best chance and myself the best chance to succeed.”
With just one run in his past two innings, Stars captain Glenn Maxwell needs to find his best. Stoinis said his skipper knew that.
“He’s one of the bets in the world in T20 cricket. He’s every chance to come out tomorrow night and make 100,” Stoinis said.
“He’s as eager to do well as everyone in the team. He’ll be fine to put on a show.”
MCG HOME RUN 🥎
Nick Larkin is seeing them like beach balls!#TeamGreen pic.twitter.com/If0uvHGdv9
Stoinis said his team would “keep an eye” on the other final-round games, which could determine the Stars’ future.
But the simpler scenario is the only one in his mind.
“None of it matters if we don’t put on a good performance. We just look after that. We are the last game so we’ll know what’s going on when we rock up to the ground,” he said.
“Yes, it is a big game, but what an opportunity to put on a show, get a win, march in to the finals and then see what you can do.”
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