Desperately searching for a win after four-consecutive losses in the tournament, the Sydney Sixers are a sorry-looking bunch at the moment with absolute zilch confidence. On the opposite end of the stick, the Renegades are looking a far more determined outfit in BBL 07 and will be licking their lips at another potential win.
If you told me at the start of the tournament that the Melbourne Renegades will win two out of their first three games with Aaron Finch contributing just 12 runs in those three innings, I would have rolled over and hysterically laughed myself into stitches. The reality is the above has happened and we’re all wondering how they’ve managed to get away with such a key contributor being nullified and still finding away to outplay the opposition. Having had a wretched run in recent times, Finch’s struggles seemed to have fueled the fire for his fellow-top order batsmen who really have stepped up big time in their captains absence. Finch has been a dominant figure at the top of the order in the past for the Renegades, but it’s been the likes of Cameron White, Marcus Harris and even Tom Cooper who have wielded the willow with some crucial knocks in 2017-18. This match sees the BBL detour from the bright lights & buzz of the Melbourne city, venturing down to GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. Traditionally an AFL (Australian Football League) venue, the ground has hosted just one cricket match in total which happened to be a T20 International between Australia and Sri Lanka in February last year. There were eighteen wickets taken in total in that match, so we could be in for a 50-50 contest with bat and ball which is rare in this day and age of cricket. Aaron Finch is due for runs, while many are of the opinion that Cameron White is in career-best form with the bat and should dominate proceeding once again.
Having scored back-to-back fifties against the Hurricanes and Heat, White was dismissed cheaply against the Scorchers at Etihad in their last outing. On a pitch like this, the Renegades lengthy-batting line-up should come into play and could quite possibly given them the upper hand in this match at GMHBA Stadium. 31-year-old Tom Cooper is also coming off back-to-back impressive knocks and should give them some stability in that middle order. With this wicket giving the bowlers a chance to impact the match, expect both Brad Hogg and Dwayne Bravo to continue their golden performances with the ball. With 403 career wickets in this format, the cool & calm Dwayne Bravo hasn’t disappointed in BBL 07 as of yet picking up 8 wickets in three matches. A man who’s twelve years older then him but probably has the maturity & enthusiasm of a child, veteran spinner Bradley Hogg looks ageless in terms of his on field performance. It wasn’t his greatest BBL in 2016-17, but the 47-year-old has bounced back extremely well in BBL 07 with bowling figures of 1/34, 2/25 & 2/16 in his first three matches. Hogg & Bravo have been the major X factors, while the rest of the attack have just fed off their consistency will small-but-important contributions. A shout out to Renegades wicketkeeper Tim Ludeman who’s glovework behind the stumps against Perth was sensational.
There are plenty of ups & downs in the game of cricket, but for the Sydney Sixers it seems to be nothing but ruggeder downhill terrain in BBL 07. It’s bad enough starting the tournament with a couple losses, but they’ve lost their captain Moises Henriques who is a major contributor with the bat, not to mention other setbacks which have just added insult to injury. Four losses in a row and it seems unlikely they’ll break that streak down in Geelong against the Renegades tomorrow, they’ve just had one of those tournaments where nothing has gone right. The Sixers batting has been a huge concern, and it doesn’t help when Jason Roy is struggling to go on with his innings at the top of the order and Daniel Hughes injures himself in the warm-up before the Scorchers game, what have Sydney done to anger the cricket gods? On a serious note, Nic Maddinson is the player for the Sydney Sixers that everyone has their eye on. The aggressive left-hander has been dismissed three times out of four in the thirties, that’s frustrating for any batsman who’s set himself up for a big innings, only to throw it away within balls. From a serious note to a positive one, the inclusion of Jordan Silk has been a refreshing one thanks to the 25-year-old’s attitude when he gets his opportunity. Known more for his “spectacular catches”, Silk has set the standard for scoring this year with the bat after a brilliant 50-run cameo against the Strikers and an unbeaten 45 in Perth the other day. Significant improvement is needed if the Sixers are to challenge the red-hot Renegades.
Their bowling attack could do with some firepower as well, it just seems “black & white” compared to opposition attacks possessing some real excitement and liveliness in their cartel. The loss of crafty-spinner Steve O’Keefe will do them no favors whatsoever, his ability to restrict opposition batsmen was a huge asset. Once praised for his reliability to take wickets, successful variations have been a thing of the past for Sean Abbott who has copped an absolute beating in BBL 07. His last over woes continued to follow him the other night as well, once a victim on New Years Eve in Adelaide, followed by a handful of mistakes on New Years Day last night which saw the Sixers go down has really put the mocker on him. Bowlers like Abbott and Botha can’t be under-performing with the ball, they’re struggling as it is and the batting certainly isn’t backing them up as they’d like. Fast bowler Daniel Sams is only new to the game, but he now falls under that category of bowlers that must take wickets if the Sixers are to compete up until the very end against the rest of the competition. All-rounder Ben Dwarshuis remains the Sixers most potent bowling option for taking wickets at this current point in time, that’s a good indication of the Sixers fall from grace.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Melbourne Renegades | BBL | 16th match | Geelong
- Cameron White
- Dwayne Bravo
- Brad Hogg
- Aaron Finch
Wildcard pick – Jack Wildermuth
Top 4 fantasy picks | Sydney Sixers | BBL | 16th match | Geelong
- Nic Maddinson
- Jason Roy
- Ben Dwarshuis
- Sean Abbott
Wildcard pick – Daniel Sams
Melbourne Renegades (possible) – 1. Marcus Harris 2. Aaron Finch (c) 3. Cameron White 4. Tom Cooper 5. Brad Hodge 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Jack Wildermuth 8. Mohammad Nabi 9. Tim Ludeman (wk) 10. Kane Richardson/Chris Tremain 11. Brad Hogg.
Sydney Sixers (possible) – 1. Jason Roy 2. Peter Nevill (wk) 3. Nic Maddinson 4. Jordan Silk 5. Sam Billings 6. Ben Dwarshuis 7. Johan Botha (c) 8. Sean Abbott 9. Daniel Sams 10. Mickey Edwards/Soumil Chhibber 11. Will Somerville.