The champions begin their title defence in the Big Bash League on Sunday when the Perth Scorchers get their campaign underway on the road against the Melbourne Renegades, with this juicy looking encounter taking place in Geelong.
The Melbourne Renegades have already for their season up and running but we beaten in their first game away to the Sydney Sixers so they will be looking to get off the mark for the season against what is always a classy Perth outfit.
The Melbourne Renegades were one of those teams being tipped to be even better this season than they were in the last one, which was saying something when you consider that they finished third in the regular season in the previous campaign. They didn’t do much wrong in their opening game but they came up short in the run chase and with four fewer matches this time around there is pressure on them to avoid going 0-2 and really being up against it early doors.
The Renegades recovered from a blitz from the Sixers’ openers in the first game but couldn’t maintain their hold on the innings towards the end of it and probably ended up chasing around 10 more than they would have wanted. Having lost by fewer than that amount that was the difference in the game. Losing three early wickets didn’t really help them so they will be looking to bowl better at the death of the innings and set a better platform at the top of their batting effort.
This is year 13 of the Big Bash League and seasons where the Perth Scorchers haven’t looked anything but a crack hot side are few and far between. Nothing looks to have changed in that regard this season although they will not quite be at full strength for this opening game and do have their first two games on the road this season due to Perth hosting the first Test match next week, so this could be one of those seasons which the Scorchers build into.
The reason why Perth are usually so dominant in this competition is the strength of their bowling attack but they are without a couple of key components to it for this match and a couple of their middle order batters are on international duty so they are going to need to rely a little on their local replacements and hope that their star players pick up the mantle and carry some of the slack for the players that they are missing.
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Will Sutherland had a stunner of a match in the opening game for the Melbourne Renegades with 2-21 in his four overs before he almost got his side over the line with a big hitting 51 in the run chase. Similar here could give the Renegades a huge chance.
Aaron Hardie recently shone for Australia out in India in the T20 series there and with a T20 World Cup a little over six months away he’ll be looking for a big tournament for the Scorchers. That can start with a big showing here.
Matches here in Geelong aren’t always the highest scoring but I think this one will be higher than most because the Perth Scorchers are without one of the bowlers who controls the middle overs and have some really good batters and certainly no shortage of depth. I mentioned going into their opening match that the Renegades don’t lack for batting depth and now they have Quinton de Kock on board from this game onwards too which feels like it is important.
The boundaries line for this match is down at 33.5 which is probably a reflection on how big the boundaries are and also the strength of these two attacks when they are at full strength, but the Scorchers are not at full strength with the ball and the Renegades batters have had a knock this season which should have them primed to score well here. I think Perth will score well because that top five looks strong even without Mitch March so I’ll take the over on the boundaries line.
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