About the Match
The return fixture of the Melbourne derby is about to commence and it hard to remember a time in this rivalry when everything seemed so one-sided. The Melbourne Renegades have won four out of their six matches losing both only to the Perth Scorchers so far, while the Melbourne Stars are 0 for 5 and all but out of the tournament.
Can the Stars lift themselves up for a solid crack at their cross-town neighbors?
The Melbourne Renegades will be led by a new captain in this match, Cameron White, since they will no longer have the services of Aaron Finch who will be away for international duty. The loss of a player like Finch would have been a huge blow for most teams but the Renegades will be pretty confident of performing even without him.
Cameron White has been in excellent form and scored a useful fifty in the loss to the Perth Scorchers as well. The team also has plenty of players which are just being wasted down the order at the moment and so filling the hole left by Finch at the top of the order should not be too difficult for them.
We expect Tim Ludeman to move to the opening slot since he has had previous experience of batting at that position and can be very destructive when he gets going. This move also allows the Renegades to keep the core of their batting the same as it has been and not have to unsettle everyone else.
With Ludeman, Harris, White, Tom Cooper, Brad Hodge, Mohammad Nabi, and Dwayne Bravo in their lineup, the Melbourne Renegades are spoiled for batting talent.
The team would a litte concerned about their defeat in the last match to the Scorchers. The Renegades had that game sealed after scoring a huge total and picking up some key Scorchers wickets but they wilted under the fearsome assault of Ashton Turner.
Bravo is usually rock solid at the death but ended up going for 43 runs in 4 overs without taking a single wicket. The Renegades bowling pretty much revolves around this man and so can be put under pressure if has an off day.
Return of internal cricket for Australia means that the Stars will lose the services of Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa. They may also lose Glen Maxwell as a replacement to Chris Lynn but that is not something that is set in stone yet.
We will assume that the Stars will have Maxwell at their disposal for the moment.
For a team that has lost each and every one of its matches so far, there could be no worse time going in for the second leg of the Melbourne Derby than without their highest-run scorer and top wicket-taker. Both of these is Marcus Stoinis, who will be off playing for Australia for the remainder of the Big Bash.
Stoinis moved to the top of the order in an effort to kickstart the Stars campaign in the last match but now we expect the Stars to return back to Luke Wright. There are so many problems at the moment for the Stars that it is difficult to see them climb out of it.
It must be remembered, though, that T20 cricket can turn in the blink of an eye and on the performances of just a couple of individuals. Ben Dunk, Kevin Pietersen, Peter Handscomb, and Luke Wright are all players that could provide such a spark.
The most likely among them seems to be the opening duo of Dunk and Wright to us. They are free flowiong batsmen that can take on the opposition and could return to form quite quickly if just a little bit of luck goes their way.
The loss of Zampa in the bowling side will not be much a loss because he did not do too much in this competition. None of the Stars bowlers have had the kind of impact that they would have liked to see. John Hastings, James Faulkner, and Glen Maxwell will have a large role to play alongside the rest of the bowling attack.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at the Docklands stadium has been very good for batting all throughout this BBL. The dimensions of the stadium can make it difficult for the bowlers to defend both sides of the wicket and that is probably why most times like to chase at this ground.
Rain has been forecast in Melbourne on match day and we could see a delayed match with the possibility of some overs being lost as well.
The Stars have won three out of the last five matches between the two sides but lost the last match they played pretty comprehensively. The Melbourne Stars are a team that is down and out at the moment while the Renegades are definitely among the stronger units of the Big Bash.
We recommend sticking with the favorites and backing the Melbourne Renegades.
Melbourne Renegades to win