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|Jake Fraser McGurk||5||6||1||0||83.33|
With Sydney Sixers registering a win over Perth Scorchers, the points table in Big Bash League continues to stay wide open. As many as seven teams are still in contention for the three remaining slots and the competition is going to be intense as we move towards the end of the league stage.
Melbourne Renegades are still hanging in the tournament, but only by a thin thread. Another loss would probably mean curtains for them and their next assignment is not easy. They are set to face Melbourne Stars in a derby match, which has historically been a high-pressure encounter. The match between the two sides is to be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, on 17th January 2020.
Melbourne Stars have had a roller-coaster ride in the tournament so far. They were preseason favorites and started like one. However, once it started to go downhill, the Stars couldn't apply brakes for six matches. They finally bounced back once they got a home game and are now looking well set to qualify for the playoffs. From a total of 10 matches played, the Stars have won four and lost five. Their net run-rate surged into the positive side of the number-line after their massive victory over the Strikers and that could prove to be a critical factor should things get tight towards the end.
The Stars found a new hero in the last match with Andre Fletcher aka 'The Spiceman' slamming a splendid fifty. He was well accompanied by Glenn Maxwell and Hilton Cartwright over the course of the innings as he carried the bat back. The most remarkable aspect about the Stars' batting innings against the Strikers was that they scored heavily despite Stoinis contributing. In anything, Marcus Stoinis only dragged the Stars with his pedestrian 26-ball knock scoring 13.
It has taken a good number of matches for Stars' batting to show the strength they have on paper. Even after Fletcher and Cartwright, they had Nick Larkin and Nic Maddinson to bat, who both can tonk the ball around.
If the Stars' batting effort was good, their bowling performance was special. Adelaide Strikers have an excellent batting unit and were dismantled for just 68 runs by the Stars' bowlers on a surface that was excellent to bat on. Adam Zampa ran through the Strikers' batting as he returned with fantastic figures of 5 for 17 in his 3.2 overs. He was ably supported by Glenn Maxwell, Zahir Khan, and Billy Stanlake who together picked up five wickets between them.
All in all, the Stars lineup all of a sudden looks to be the team to beat once again. Their batting seems to be hitting the ball well and their bowlers are breathing fire. These are certainly not good signs for the teams that are set to face Stars in the upcoming matches.
Marcus Stoinis, ADS Fletcher, N Larkin, Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson, Hilton Cartwright, Sebastian Gotch, Adam Zampa, Liam Hatcher, Billy Stanlake, Zahir Khan.
Just when it looked that the Renegades may well find a way to bounce back into the tournament, they suffered another massive defeat. It's a little surprising to see the team of their stature losing so many matches, especially with the experience and talent they have. As it currently stands, they are languishing at the bottom of the points table with 9 points to their name and a dismal net run-rate of -2.349.
The condition of the Renegades in the tournament can be better understood with the fact that the team above them has 19 points to their name. Having said that, the Renegades can still qualify for the playoffs and that will be their sole motivation to do well in the upcoming contest.
They came pretty close to a win in the last match before Brisbane Heat's lower-order batsmen drove the match away from them. The Renegades' woes with the bat were once against on the show as Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh struggled to do anything of substance. Unlike the earlier matches, we saw their middle-order batsmen put up a fight as they posted a challenging total.
While the total they posted was never going to be enough, their bowlers did a decent job to make a match out of it. On paper, the Renegades have a decent side, but the lack of proper execution is hurting them. Their senior pros in Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh will have to come good and if that happens, the Renegades will be a tough side to get past.
Aaron Finch, Noor Ahmad, Jake Fraser McGurk, Sam Harper, Mackenzie Harvey, Peter Hatzoglou, Shaun Marsh, KW Richardson, Will Sutherland, SI Wasim, BJ Webster.
Just a couple of days ago, both sides appeared to be following a similar trajectory, that is, downwards. However, the Stars have finally found some rhythm and are looking to be the ruthless side that they are known to be. Considering that and the performances of the Renegades in the tournament so far, the Stars are clear favorites to emerge on top in this upcoming encounter.
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