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It's just the time of the year the T20 carnival begins and the party has already started with Women's BBL exhibiting some exhilarating contests. The 2018 edition of Big Bash League couldn't have gotten off to a better start with some exciting contests in the women's edition. The proceedings of WBBL may well just be the signs of exciting times to come in the men's Big Bash League. BBL is known to introduce innovations with the fans and they're doing away with the coin toss. Instead, the captains will call "flats" or "hills" - something which the children playing in the backyards are more familiar with.
The eighth season of Australia's Premier T20 competition comes to life on Wednesday with Brisbane Heat taking on Adelaide Strikers in the opening match. The second match, out of a total of 56 league matches, will be played between Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers on 20th December at the Docklands, Melbourne. Let's take a look at how the two teams pan out on paper and what to expect from them on the match-day.
The Renegades would have been an extremely tough team to face for the bowlers had Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris been available. The Renegades' openers are away to play tests against India and Cameron White is likely to play the role of a makeshift opener for them. He will accompany Tim Ludeman, who will be the preferred wicket-keeper and opener for them, thanks to his ability to hit the ball big right from the word go.
Despite the big man - Aaron Finch missing from the playing eleven, this team is certainly not short on batting talent. With the likes of Tom Cooper and Dan Christian to follow, they have power-hitters right through the lineup. Dan Christian had a terrific season in T20 Blast and will be looking to do something on the similar lines in BBL as well.
Despite Will Sutherland being unable to bowl due to a back injury, he is likely to retain his place purely as a batsman. Mohammad Nabi will have a vital role to play with both bat and ball. With not much experience available in the bowling department, the role of Nabi becomes ever more important. Apart from him, Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, and Usman Shinwari are likely to start in their opening encounter.
Tim Ludeman, Sam Harper, CL White, Mohammad Nabi, JD Wildermuth, TLW Cooper, DT Christian, Will Sutherland, Cameron Boyce, KW Richardson, Usman Khan.
Just like their women's BBL counterpart, the Scorchers are arguably looking to be perennial favorites to win the tournament and it will be interesting to see the playing eleven Adam Voges decides to field on their first assignment of the eighth edition of Big Bash League.
Ashton Agar has already volunteered to open for the Perth Scorchers and if he does we might see something analogous to what Sunil Narine does for Kolkata Knight Riders. Only time will tell how the experiment fares for the Scorchers, but if it is conducted and is successful, the Scorchers will have one of the deepest batting lineups of the competition. Although Cameron Bancroft is part of the squad, he won't be eligible to play before his suspension ends on December 29th.
Shaun Marsh will be unavailable for them as he, too, is out to play tests against India. Joel Paris, who is injured, is the other man from the squad who will be certain to miss the opening game. We could very well see David Willey being promoted up the order to accommodate an additional bowler in the side. With Jason Behrendorff, Usman Qadir, Andrew Tye, and Nathan Coulter-Nile, they have a superior bowling attack capable to neutralize any batting lineup on their day.
M Klinger, SM Whiteman, Mitchell Marsh, Hilton Cartwright, AJ Turner, David Willey, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, AJ Tye, U Qadir, Jason Behrendorff.
Picking between the sides in the first few matches of the competition is always hard especially when both the sides have almost everything covered. The Renegades will enjoy the home advantage, but they appear to be slightly short on bowling experience. The Scorchers, on the other hand, are better-balanced and have few of the better bowlers in T20 circuit. Cricket is an unpredictable game, but we think that with a better bowling attack and a balanced batting lineup, the Scorchers will prevail over Renegades in the second match of the Big Bash League 2018.
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