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We are a long way into the Big Bash League and the competition between all team is still up and alive with all eight teams having a possibility to qualify for the next round. Hobart Hurricanes appear to be running away with seven wins in eight matches which is four more points in two fewer matches than the next best team on the ladder. Melbourne Renegades are at the third spot with Sydney Thunder right behind them at fourth. They both are set to meet on 22nd January at Sydney where both will be striving to take the second spot on the ladder with a win. Both sides are coming into their next match with a mixed run behind them and will be looking to gather some momentum as we move towards the back-end of the round-robin stage. The Thunder are coming out of an embarrassing blackout controversy at the Gabba and are desperate for two important points. We expect them to come hard in what is expected to be a nail-biting encounter.
Shane Watson's incredible hundred was overshadowed by the blackout event at the Gabba which not only denied a result in that match but a possible win for Sydney Thunder. There were all the makings of a terrific match including a terrific hundred, records to be broken, history to be written, but only one of those happened - Watson's hundred, as the match, was cut short by the blackout.
Batting first at the Gabba, Shane Watson started in the top-gear with a lot unlike the way he usually does while playing in the different T20 leagues across the globe. The two sixes he hit off Mujeeb-ur-Rahman were only the signs of things to come. The absence of Jos Buttler didn't really bother them much as Anton Devcich proved to be a perfect replacement. Both Watson and Devcich have contributed each other brilliantly in the couple of matches they've opened. Although Devcich hasn't really scored big, he's looked good and played a vital role in both the matches.
Daniel Sams has been a revelation for Thunder and his promotion up the order speaks volumes about how well he's done. He lends balance to the side with his ability to tonk the ball right from the word go and pick wickets with his bowling. Overall, their bowling has done well up until now and appeared confident against the Heat as well. Chris Jordan and Gurinder Sandhu picked up Brendon McCullum and Chris Lynn respectively which inflated the chances of a Thunder win before the match was called off.
Anton Devcich, SR Watson, Callum Ferguson, Jason Sangha, Jay Lenton, Daniel Sams, Arjun Nair, Christopher Green, Chris Jordan, Gurinder Sandhu, Fawad Ahmed.
Melbourne Renegades depend heavily on their all-rounders in the squad with the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Dan Christian, and Jake Wildermuth in their side. This dependence leaves them a little vulnerable at the top with just five full-time batsmen including the wicket-keeper, but the strategy has paid rich dividends thus far.
Their batsmen failed to get going in their last match, against Melbourne Stars, and while Dan Christian and Mohammad Nabi worked hard to get things back on track for the Renegades, but it proved to be too much of work for them. Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch both departed after getting off to a decent start and Sam Harper, they're in form batsman, went back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Tom Cooper stitched a good partnership with Mohammad Nabi but was dismissed with the total standing at 74. Eventually, they failed to play out their quota for twenty overs and were dismissed for 121 with three balls to spare.
Mohammad Nabi and Kane Richardson started off in a terrific manner as the duo got rid of two Ben Dunk and Peter Handscomb inside the first four overs. Immaculate ground fielding rewarded Renegades with yet another wicket as Glenn Maxwell was ran-out to leave Stars at 35 for 3 in 6.4 overs. The Renegades pushed Stars into a tricky position and had a real chance of scripting a comeback after Maxwell's wicket. However, Marcus Stoinis batted well together with Nic Maddinson and Dwayne Bravo to deny Melbourne Renegades their sixth victory.
Aaron Finch, Mackenzie Harvey, Sam Harper, TLW Cooper, CL White, Mohammad Nabi, DT Christian, Cameron Boyce, CP Tremain, KW Richardson, Harry Gurney.
It's an important encounter for both the sides which provides both of them with an opportunity to get to the second spot in the points table. Melbourne Renegades have done well so far, but haven't been as consistent with the bat as they'd have liked to. The return of Aaron Finch provides them experience at the top of the order, but considering his form, it will be interesting to see if he's able to deliver. Sydney Thunder, on the other hand, have done well despite the absence of Buttler at the top. Shane Watson, Anton Devcich, and Daniel Sams have been terrific for them. They have a better-settled unit which coupled with the home advantage makes them better placed to win their upcoming encounter against Melbourne Renegades.
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