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With a massive defeat at the hands of Perth Scorchers, the situation turned worse from bad for Melbourne Renegades. We have barely crossed halfway mark in the Big Bash League and the Renegades are already on the brink of elimination. Another loss here and they will become the first team to bid goodbye to the competition. And they couldn't have had tougher opponents for their upcoming clash - Melbourne Stars. The Stars are placed at the top of the table and have lost only one match in the tournament so far. The two teams will lock horns on 10th January, at Melbourne. Its a do-or-die game for the Renegades, and we expect them to give it their all in this Melbourne derby. A scintillating encounter is certainly on the cards.
Melbourne Renegades have been so bad in the tournament so far that the difference of points between them and the team above is of six points. Considering that barring Renegades, all other teams are pretty much in contention to qualify for the playoffs, that difference is hefty. Renegades have so far played seven matches and have failed to win any of those. Although they have a decent net run-rate considering the number of matches they have lost, it will of no significance if they do not win at least seven more matches, in seven matches.
It was a same old story for the Renegades as they failed to defend a reasonably good total against the Scorchers. Batting first, the Renegades batsmen finally looked good with Sam Harper and Beau Webster scoring brilliant fifties, but their job was undone by poor bowling in the second innings.
The likes of Samit Patel, Kane Wiliamson, and Richard Gleeson never looked like stopping the flow of runs as Scorchers got off to a terrific start. After an opening start of 102, it was only a formality for the Scorchers as they knocked off the total with six wickets in hand and an over to spare.
For the Renegades in the tournament, no one has delivered consistently. They have a well-balanced team on paper. The form of Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh has been a huge concern for the team and they'd need to fire for Renegades to have any sort of influence, not just in the upcoming match, but also in all the remainder of the matches to follow.
Shaun Marsh, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, BJ Webster, SR Patel, DT Christian, TLW Cooper, Will Sutherland, Cameron Boyce, Joe Mennie, Richard Gleeson.
Exactly opposite to the Renegades, the Stars have played flawless cricket. They have knocked everything off, in all three departments of the game, and are looking all set to become the first team ot qualify for the playoffs. They have 12 points to their name in seven matches and another couple of wins for them would at least ascertain a berth for them in the semifinals.
The Stars are coming off a massive win over Sydney Thunder in their previous match wherein their batsmen as well as their bowlers both delivered to perfection. Bowling first, their bowlers didn't allow the Thunder batsmen to get going and ended up restricting them to a total of 145. Haris Rauf was spectacular for them yet again as he picked up a brilliant hat-trick to rock Thunder in the last over. Earlier on the day, Nathan Coulter Nile and Adam Zampa kept things tight in the middle overs and gave away just 38 runs between them in seven overs combined.
With the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell in fine form, the total of 145 was never going to present any problems for the Stars and it didn't prove to be any different either. Marcus Stoinis scored a brilliant fifty to anchor the innings and Glenn Maxwell smashed 59 off 37 deliveries to seal the deal with a bang.
Melbourne Stars have a terrific batting lineup that not only goes deep, but also can knock off big totals. With the kind of balance and momentum they have, beating them is going to take a heavy effort from any side in the tournament.
Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Ben Dunk, Glenn Maxwell, Sebastian Gotch, N Larkin, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Clint Hinchliffe, Lance Morris, Haris Rauf, Sandeep Lamichhane.
It was not long ago when the two teams clashed in the tournament. Melbourne Stars hammered Renegades by a massive margin of eight wickets in that game and will be confident of repeating the feat. Comparing the two teams on paper, the Stars are certainly ahead with a batting lineup that goes deep and a versatile bowling attack. The Renegades would have a lot of work to do to knock off an in-form Stars unit here. Placing your money on a Stars' win would be the way to go in this upcoming match.
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