The first Melbourne derby of the season takes place in the Big Bash League on Saturday when the Melbourne Stars host the Melbourne Renegades at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and for the home side this is more than just a local rivalry.
The Melbourne Stars have played three and lost the lot so far this season and that is something that needs to be turned around quicker rather than later. The Renegades have three wins from their four matches and are looking good.
You sense when listening to those involved with the Stars set up that they are not too downbeat because they are perennial slow starters to these tournaments but I would imagine deep down some concern may be forming. I say that because the margin and manner of their defeats is getting bigger and that is never good.
In two of their three defeats their bowling has let them down but in truth right throughout the tournament so far with the exception of Marcus Stoinis’ dig in Brisbane their batting has been ordinary. Their opening pair can’t get going which is putting pressure on those to come and they have not handled it well.
While the green side of Melbourne has its concerns there are no such worries in the red part of town. Things are going along swimmingly for the Renegades with three wins so far and all facets of their game seems to be working nicely. A shortage of runs for Aaron Finch might have been a worry but he came good last time out.
The main recipe for success for the Renegades so far in this campaign has been their bowling attack. Along with the Perth Scorchers they probably have the best bowling attack in the competition with probably more variety than anyone else. Not only do they restrict sides but they can all take wickets and they are hard to get away from.
Melbourne Stars have Peter Handscomb back in their ranks for this match after he was released from international duty. He replaces Liam Bowe in the squad and is expected to bat high up in the order.
Melbourne Renegades have named the same XI that tore the Sydney Thunder to shreds last time out and have added Chris Tremain and Jon Holland to that to make up their 13 man squad for the fixture.
I’m very surprised at some of the prices around on the Melbourne Renegades for this match. I get that it is nearing must win for the Melbourne Stars but that doesn’t mean they will win. In fact that pressure may shackle them even more which is less than ideal.
The Renegades can play with the freedom that a top side like them enjoy playing with. The options they have with the bat and the ball make them much the better of these two sides and barring something extraordinary from a Stars individual I expect the Renegades to win this one.
WON – Back Melbourne Renegades to beat Melbourne Stars for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with Bet365