The second Melbourne derby of the Big Bash League season takes place on Friday and it is a huge match for the home side as they continue their quest for a spot in the play-offs at the Etihad Stadium.
The Renegades host their city rivals the Stars knowing they have already beaten their opponents once this term and they will be looking to complete the double and pile more misery on the men in green.
It has been a very good campaign for the Melbourne Renegades thus far. They have won four matches and lost just two but both defeats were to the Perth Scorchers who may yet round off the season as the champions once again so they shouldn’t be criticised too heavily for that. They were only narrowly beaten both times.
The key to their success has been their bowling attack. The variety, not to mention the quality, that is in it makes them difficult to line up although they did come unstuck in conditions that probably did not suit them in Perth last time out. They have a number of experienced and solid batsmen so their form is no surprise.
The Melbourne Stars are having a season to forget and for once there have been no excuses for them to hide behind. They have been horrendous with the ball so far and they have not been a whole lot better with the bat either which will disappoint them. A significant improvement is needed but even then their season is over from a competitive standpoint.
It remains to be seen how the Stars will approach the remainder of the campaign. They could almost be excused for sacking the season off and playing young players but at the same time this tournament has a duty to entertain. One positive for them is that the Australian selectors haven’t been as hard on them as they have in previous years.
Melbourne Renegades have lost arguably their two best batsmen in Aaron Finch and Cameron White to Australia duty. Brad Hodge will take over the captaincy. Mohammad Nabi plays his final match of the season.
Melbourne Stars have now lost Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa for the remainder of the season but they have kept Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner. Luke Wright is expected to be fit after missing the previous match.
Melbourne Renegades might have lost a couple of batsmen but they have a number of players further down their order who are capable of delivering the goods now the chances is likely to come their way so I still fancy them to win this match. To be fair Aaron Finch didn’t offer much over the course of the season anyway so other than his reputation he might not be missed that much.
I think this comes down to the quality of the two bowling attacks and from what we’ve seen the Renegades have a significant edge in that department especially with Stoinis and Zampa away now. The negative is that the Etihad can be tough to defend but the Renegades look much the better side and I think they are worth taking even with that taken into account.
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