Big guns back to reach for the Stars


THE Mel­bourne Stars be­gin the sec­ond half of the Big Bash sea­son next Satur­day when all their in­ter­na­tional play­ers should re­turn to help get a floun­der­ing cam­paign back on track.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day night’s one-day in­ter­na­tional against In­dia at the MCG, Stars cap­tain Glenn Maxwell, bats­men Mar­cus Stoi­nis and Peter Hand­scomb, as well as spin­ner Adam Zampa are ex­pected to be re­leased for BBL du­ties.

But be­fore that there’s one more chance for the green team to get a much-needed win against the Ho­bart Hur­ri­canes at the MCG.

With the names set to re­turn, tonight’s clash is prob­a­bly Stars opener Evan Gul­bis’ last hit at the top of the or­der and he aims to make it count.

The must-win clash against the lad­der-lead­ing Hur­ri­canes will be Gul­bis’ third as an opener, and the green team’s third game in just six days.

The first two were losses, played with­out the bevy of guns who of­fi­cials hope will turn out for the sec­ond lo­cal derby of the sea­son against the Rene­gades on Satur­day, de­spite the tight turn­around.

Gul­bis will likely re­sume his place in the Stars mid­dle-or­der, de­spite back-to-back in­nings of 37, hav­ing not bat­ted in the two pre­vi­ous matches.

The all-rounder also put on two con­sec­u­tive 50-run part­ner­ships with Ben Dunk, the team’s only half-cen­tury open­ing stands of the sea­son.

But the re­cent prob­lem for the Stars has been the bat­ting has fallen off a cliff af­ter the first two wick­ets. Fill-in skip­per Nic Maddin­son has made scores of two and five in his first two games for the Stars.

Know­ing how much his team needs him, and how much bet­ter it is to open, Gul­bis is go­ing to let fly against the Hur­ri­canes tonight.

“It’s good fun. It’s nice hav­ing two field­ers out ev­ery time you bat rather than five,” he said. “I’m en­joy­ing that role but I as­sume some­one will take that role in the near fu­ture. I’ll cer­tainly be try­ing to make the most of it while I can.”

The Stars raced to a 3-1 record through the open­ing four rounds, but now at the half-way mark have slipped to 3-4.

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