The Big Bash League continues on Tuesday and it does so with the first Melbourne derby of the season as the Melbourne Stars look to preserve their spot in the top four when they host the Melbourne Renegades at the MCG.
The Stars have won their last three matches and are suddenly looking like a side who could push on and launch a bid for the title while the Renegades probably need to win out from here so there is plenty on this match.
The Melbourne Stars deserve a lot of credit for the way they have turned their season around. After three heavy defeats to begin it with they were under serious pressure, added to by the fact their net run rate was so bad that they are probably going to need to get more points than four other teams if they are going to push on and make the playoffs. They go into this match having done exactly that but that run rate still hasn’t been levelled out so they need to keep on winning.
The Stars have been a little fortunate at times along the way. They had the better end of the equation when the rain hampered their match against the Hobart Hurricanes but to their credit they eased to victory when faced with a 200+ run chase with potentially their season on the line in Adelaide on New Year’s Eve. If they can win this one they will move into the top three in the table and would be setting their sights on two goes at making it into the final.
The Melbourne Renegades have just one win from their six matches, although only five have been completed because one of their fixtures was cancelled when the pitch wasn’t up to scratch in Geelong. They have been in pretty much all of their matches but they seem to collapse at the winning line. That isn’t a great thing but by being so close in most of their games their net run rate hasn’t been damaged so if they can get on a winning run there is still a place in the top four waiting for them.
The positive for the Renegades is that they go into this match off the back of their first win of the season, one where they pulled off a decent enough run chase to give them some sort of platform to build on. Another win here would have them right back in contention and so they will look to come out all guns blazing. They have a couple of former Stars players who return to face their old team for the first time so you would imagine those players will carry plenty of motivation into the game.
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A Marcus Stoinis blitz got the Melbourne Stars home in Adelaide on New Year’s Eve and the home side will be hoping he continues to deliver with the bat and also come good with the ball as he is one of the best players in the competition if he does.
Shaun Marsh has come back into the side for the last two matches and he has scored a 50 in both of them and if he can continue to score big runs then he is going to marshal the innings and get the Renegades up to a decent total.
I think both teams have some issues with the ball heading into this match. The Melbourne Stars have flattered to deceive with the ball all season really and the Melbourne Renegades have been denied the use of their leading wicket taker Mujeeb Ur Rahman as Afghanistan have withheld his permission to play. That is definitely not ideal for the Renegades because it means they are either going to need to find another spinner to bowl in the powerplay or completely change their plans.
The one thing these two teams do have going for them is that they have a number of top order batters in decent form so I’m expecting a slightly higher scoring match than we might usually get which makes me think that a 315.5 run line might not be high enough. This is a big ground so the boundaries are a little rarer here but the twos and threes can be quite frequent. With weaker bowling attacks and powerful batters I expect the runs to flow here.
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