The Big Bash League heads to the Marvel Stadium for the first time this season on Thursday as the Melbourne Renegades are back in action when they play host to the early pacesetters Brisbane Heat in an appealing contest.
The Renegades have played two matches and are yet to win this term. Brisbane have had a game more and are yet to lose so it will be interesting to see if that form continues or whether there is a twist in the tale.
The Melbourne Renegades have had a bit of a tricky start to the season. They have played historically the two best sides in the competition in their first two matches. They were well in their first game against the Sydney Sixers but just faltered at the finish line which was unfortunate. Their second one never really got going against the Perth Scorchers because the wicket clearly wasn’t fit for purpose, so they go into this one still looking for their first win of the campaign.
The Renegades look very strong with the ball and the return of Adam Zampa will only make them look even stronger. Where they could have an issue is while they have plenty of excellent batters, a number of them are better when they are opening the batting and only two of them can do that role. As a result, the deeper they go into the innings they could fall behind the run rate and that isn’t a situation which will benefit them too often.
The Brisbane Heat looked a good side on paper heading into the season but it was unknown how they would react to losing out in the final last term. The other question mark would be whether they could cope without their two star players who propelled them through the postseason in the previous campaign only to be absent for the final when the Heat came unstuck. Indeed, already this season Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne have played one match and gone away.
The good thing is that Brisbane have won a match with them in their ranks but they have also won one without those two around. The other match was washed out so after three matches the Heat sit alongside the team they lost to in the final at the top of the table. Better news for Brisbane in this match is that Matt Renshaw and Josh Brown have been passed fit to take their place in the side and that strengthens them no end without their Test pair.
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Adam Zampa has moved across Brisbane from the Stars to the Renegades and he will make his home debut for his new side here. He took 2/24 in Sydney and after a break to freshen up he will be looking to be in the wickets again.
Spencer Johnson has just become a millionaire at the IPL auction and he has the chance to remind everyone why the Gujarat Titans have splashed the cash for his left arm seam. If he can take a powerplay wicket or two he will have the Heat on their way to glory.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these two meet later in the season but for now I like the Brisbane Heat. I thought they had a good chance of going deep in this competition when the squads were announced and I still think that. I kind of think the same with the Melbourne Renegades but if there is one difference between these two teams at the minute then there are one or two bowlers within the Renegades unit that might go a little easier than in the Heat one.
I don’t think there is a great deal between the two batting units here. You would probably give the edge to the Renegades but they have a lot of players who would prefer to open so you wonder how they will go deeper in the innings when they are facing the Heat spinners. I would have the Brisbane Heat a little shorter in the betting than they actually are and so I am happy to get on them at around the 10/11 mark in a match I think they have more than a slight edge in.
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