About the Match
Reigning champions Sydney Thunder lost their opening game against Sixers by a massive 9 wickets after failing to defend 159; they will now take on Melbourne Renegades, who had finished 5th last season, on 22nd December at Melbourne for the 3rd match of the BBL series. The Thunders had just about qualified for the final four last year but put up a tremendous display of skills and nerves to lift the coveted prize; they will be determined to do better during the league stage this time and make a comeback here after the initial setback. The Renegades on the other hand will have the support of the fans and will make the best use of home conditions to win their opening game on Thursday.
Aaron Finch will lead the side which has batsmen like Matthew Wade, Cameron White, Peter Nevill, Callum Ferguson, Tom Cooper and youngster Marcus Harris, who is likely to open the innings. All-rounders like Dwayne Bravo, Chris Tremain and the much experienced Brad Hogg can stabilize the innings from the middle and also provide depth to the bowling attack.
Peter Siddle, Nathan Rimmington, James Pattinson and Tom Beaton bring their fast-bowling skills to the table while spinners Sunil Narine, Xavier Doherty, Matthew Short and left-arm Chinaman Hogg can try to outwit the opponents with their variations. Cameron White, Finch and Cooper can add depth to the spin attack while players like Bravo can try to demolish the opposition here.
Overall, they are quite an experienced bunch of T20 players who can prove to be a tough nut to crack provided they manage to keep the wickets in hand while setting a target or chasing one.
Middle-order batsman Ben Rohrer will don the captain’s hat and he has a good mix of experienced players as well as young talent. Eoin Morgan, who has been consistently getting the runs on board, will feature in the top-order along with players like Ryan Gibson and Kurtis Patterson. Overseas all-rounder Andre Russell can try to build a solid foundation along with others like Pat Cummins, Clint McKay and Jake Doran in the middle.
The bowling squad has spinners Fawad Ahmed and Chris Green while fast-bowlers McKay, Russell, Sandhu and Cummins can try to demolish the Renegades with their varied pace skills. Against Sixers, Russell was the lone wicket taker and they gave away too many runs to lose the match by 9 wickets; the bowlers can put up a better fight here on Thursday.
With the bat, Gibson scored an impressive 53 off 43 deliveries while Morgan and Cummins down the line helped take the scoreboard to a respectable 159. However, others like Doran, Patterson, Russell, Green and Rohrer put up a dismal show, getting out for single digits and they ended up with too less. They will be motivated to make a comeback by using their batting and bowling talent cleverly.
The Thunders have recently lost a match and with the title name to live up to, they can fight back harder here; however, Renegades with a star-studded team and T20 experts seem better placed to win on Thursday.