The Big Bash League is back in Melbourne on Friday when the second Melbourne derby of the season takes place as the defending champions Melbourne Renegades play host to the table toppers Melbourne Stars with bragging rights on the line.
To say these two have had different first halves of the season would be something of an understatement. The Stars go into this match having looked dominant so far while the Renegades are still looking for their first win.
The Melbourne Renegades are in danger of offering up the worst title defence in T20 history, but even though they have lost seven matches, their net run rate is only -0.474, which when you consider everyone else has won at least three games this term, and yet they still don’t have the worst run rate in the league, says that they haven’t been quite as bad as their record suggests. They just haven’t been able to come out on top in the key moments.
The Renegades haven’t batted well this season. They have only gone beyond 170 twice all campaign and they were both against the Perth Scorchers which probably isn’t the best form guide in the world. To be fair to them, they haven’t bowled disastrously but the odd over here or there gets away from them, and because they haven’t put up enough runs they suffer as a result. I wouldn’t be surprised with the pressure beginning to lift if the Renegades offer a threat at some point.
Although they are on top of the table and chugging past all in their way, this is a horrible game for the Melbourne Stars, as it suddenly is for whoever faces the Renegades. Clearly the men in red are just making up the numbers but someone will inevitably slip up against them, and the Stars are first in line. The green machine needs to make sure they don’t get complacent here. A reminder of the mess they suffered in the final on this ground last year should help with that.
The good thing for the Stars is that they have won six of their seven matches, all by decent enough margins, but they haven’t really extended themselves in any of them so you would think based on that there is still even more to come from them. That would be a daunting thought for the Renegades, given how comfortably the Stars won when these two met at the MCG last weekend. You would suggest the Stars will go hell for leather at some point. It could be here.
If it wasn’t bad enough for the Melbourne Renegades they have now lost their captain Aaron Finch and leading wicket taker Kane Richardson for a couple of weeks as he goes off on international duty. Dan Christian will skipper a squad which sees Tom Cooper, Joe Mennie, Jack Wildermuth and Luke Robins come into it.
The Melbourne Stars have also lost a couple of players to international duty with Peter Handscomb and Adam Zampa heading off to India. Nic Maddinson also misses out with a shoulder injury. Seb Gotch, Sam Elliott and Lance Morris all come in.
I think the key to this match is Glenn Maxwell. If the Melbourne Stars win I expect their captain to have a decent game and as a result I’m happy to take his performance at 38.5. The Australia international has already put four scores over 40 in over the course of the season so far and he has taken two wickets twice so he has shown he is more than capable of covering this line in one go and that is without taking catching potential into account.
I wonder if Maxwell will have more of an impact on this match. I say that because with Nic Maddinson out there is an opening spot up for grabs for someone and that could easily be his if he wants it. With Zampa away now there is also a few overs for someone to bowl and they could well go to Maxwell, especially if this wicket is slow and low like it can be. However he does it I think Maxwell has 39pts in him.
WON – Back G.Maxwell’s Performance – Over 38.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365