About the Match
The Melbourne derby is one of the most awaited games in the Big Bash League as the Stars take on the Renegades. The MCG is expected to be close to capacity for this match, which means that we can expect close to 90,000 fans in the stadium to watch a domestic T20 match while the Ashes is going on. Now that is something not too many people would have predicted just a few years ago!
The Melbourne Stars were one of the most heavily favored teams before the tournament began but they have somehow crashed to three losses from three games despite having an excellent T20 squad. Their last game against the Brisbane Heat was almost painful to watch as they struggled to clear the boundaries or get any sort of momentum behind them.
They ended up losing that match by 9 wickets in the most comprehensive manner possible. The only positive for the Stars in that game was that Glen Maxwell finally scored a fifty even though it was one of the most labored knocks we have ever seen him play.
For some reason, excellent T20 players with excellent BBl records are being unable to perform to their potential in the Melbourne Stars team. Ben Dunk is having a horror season and teams seem content to come at him with spin straight away, Kevin Pietersen is a pale shadow of himself and we believe a liability to this Stars team, Luke Wright keeps finding ways to get out after starting decently, and Glenn Maxwell is struggling to find some form as well.
Only Marcus Stoinis has looked good with the bat every time he has played. We think it is a travesty that he is not being promoted up the order and being allowed face the maximum possible deliveries.
The Stars bowling was thrashed to all parts of the ground against the Brisbane Heat but even before that, they have struggled to exert any sort of control over the opposition. Adam Zampa, John Hastings, James Faulkner, and Michael Beer are all excellent T20 bowlers but it is mater of them performing when it actually matters.
The Melbourne Stars must have a look at their strategy and see why they are unable to convert their potential into victories. We still believe that one good result could set them on their way.
Perhaps the one thing missing from the Renegades checklist was runs from Aaron Finch and that got ticked off as well in the previous match. The Renegades team was supremely dominant in their match against the Sydney Sixers, so much so, that one point it seemed to be almost boring.
They started with being extremely economical with the ball thanks to Mohammad Nabi, Kane Richardson, and Dwayne Bravo. They then have the evergreen Brad Hoog and the fast-improving Jack Wildermuth to bank on as well.
We believe the reason that the Melbourne Renegades have seemed so dominant in their matches is that their bowling attack has been functioning perfectly. Mohammad Nabi is not doing anything special with the ball up front, Kane Richardson and Jack Wildermuth are not express fast bowlers, and Brad Hogg can be taken for runs quite easily but teams have been a bit too tentative against them.
Only Dwayne Bravo continues to have that X-factor which befuddles the batsmen every single time he comes on to bowl. This Renegades bowling lineup is doing well but it could fall apart in front of a strong batting team like the Stars.
With Finch scoring his first fifty of the season and Cameron White continuing his excellent run of form, the Renegades are blessed with batting talent to spare. Marcus Harris, Tom Cooper, Brad Hodge, Dwayne Bravo, and Tim Ludeman are all excellent batsmen and it almost appears like the Renegades couldn't possibly have to use all of these batsmen in a match.
The only time when the Renegades collapsed was against the Perth Scorchers and that is something that will keep them on their toes.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Renegades will go into this match as the favorites but underestimating the Melbourne Stars just because they have had a few poor games is not advisable.
Pitch and Conditions
There has been some rain around in Melbourne but the forecast for match day is sunny and clear. We should have an excellent day of cricket on one of the flattest pitches in Australia. We are certain that this match will be a slugfest between two strong batting sides that can be a little wayward with their bowling.
The Melbourne Stars have dominated the cross-town rivalry in recent years having won four out of the last five matches. For this match, we are once again backing the Melbourne Stars to find their mojo and finally start their Big Bash 2017/18 campaign in earnest.
Back the Melbourne Stars to win