Resembling a sinking ship that’s continuously sinking and sinking deeper as the days go by, the Melbourne Stars have been an absolute shipwreck in BBL 07. The Melbourne Renegades on the other hand, have given themselves every chance of going all the way in 2018.
Playing inspired cricket at the moment, the Renegades were taking the competition by storm before the Scorchers brought them to a halt in an epic-encounter at the WACA in their previous outing. It was a batsmen’s paradise in Perth, and Marcus Harris, Cameron White and Tom Cooper produced some spectacular knocks which had them well & truly in the box seat. In the end, it wasn’t to be but there were plenty of positives to take out of such a close loss like that. It was the final BBL match that skipper Aaron Finch would feature in as he heads off for the ODI series against England, and in a surprise call up, veteran top order batsman Cameron White was rewarded for his exceptional form in domestic cricket & the BBL which sees him depart the Renegades squad as well.
With those two guys producing a decent amount of runs together at some stage in the tournament (White being the more consistent one), that gives the likes of Brad Hodge, Tim Ludeman, Dwayne Bravo and a couple of the bench players a chance to perform on the big stage. Tom Cooper has been quite consistent when he’s had the opportunity to make some runs, notching up his second fifty of the tournament against the Scorchers the other night. Tim Ludeman is expected to be elevated to open the batting alongside Harris, while stand-in skipper Brad Hodge should also be given more time at the crease which is what he’s lacked so far. This is a golden opportunity for the Stars to strike, down two key batsmen with their middle order lacking time in the middle so far, the Renegades could struggle if they lose a couple quick wickets.
It was an unfortunate end to Brad Hogg’s last game at his old home ground the WACA, slipping up on the very last ball of his over which let the Scorchers off the leash thanks to back-to-back full tosses that resulted in back-to-back sixes for Ashton Turner who was also dropped by Hogg earlier in his innings. Expect Hoggy to bounce back against the Stars, he’s got a decent record against the emerald green outfit and should create some havoc on the Etihad surface. Dwayne Bravo was another who was uncharacteristically expensive and non-effective in Perth the other night, so he’ll also be looking to bounce back after a poor outing and could be a handy contributor with the bat in this game as well. In the absence of Finch and White, the Renegades might look to bring in two batsmen/all-rounders to cover for the loss of that missing firepower rather than an extra bowler.
It’s loss after loss for the Melbourne Stars at the moment, and at some point in the tournament, somethings got to give. The trip to Adelaide Oval in front of 40,000+ Strikers fans is never an easy proposition to come up against, and they couldn’t salvage their BBL 07 campaign after Adelaide skipper Travis Head started teeing off against a hapless Stars bowling outfit. With arguably the highest profile in the team as of now, star all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was again the standout with the bat scoring an entertaining 60 ff 39 deliveries against the Strikers in the Stars previous game, he just lacked support from his fellow peers who put up very-little resistance.
With the loss of Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa, it’s going to be yet another struggle with two more key players exiting the tournament & leaving the Stars desperately in need of a win. That means Englishman Luke Wright should return to the side after a freak-incident kept him out of the Strikers clash, although he’s had a poor BBL 07 to date and needs to deliver something special if the Stars are to work their way off the bottom of the standings. When both these two sides last met at the MCG, Kevin Pietersen and Ben Dunk did a brilliant job at the top of the order, so that might be a sign of things to come in the second Melbourne Derby of the tournament. Peter Handscomb’s poor form in the test arena has followed him into the BBL, and it’s extremely noticeable with his commitment to follow through with a particular shot not all there, he’s a talented batsman and needs to find form before the Stars completely bottom out.
There might be plenty of negatives surrounding the Melbourne Stars camp at the moment, but the fact that they’ve managed to maintain Australian representative regulars Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner should be seen as a massive tick in that box. Faulkner is being under-used with the ball at the moment and must be given his full quota of overs no matter how many runs he concedes, John Hastings has more important things to think about than how many runs a certain individual will go for. With a strike rate of 18.3 in twenty20 cricket, it’s astonishing to think that Faulkner has bowled three overs in just one match for the Melbourne Stars this year, that’s bad captaincy on Hastings behalf. Pace bowler Scott Boland has been erratic so far in BBL 07, and Michael Beer was just recently dropped after two consecutive failures conceding 20+ runs in one over in consecutive outings with the ball.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Melbourne Renegades | BBL | 26th match | Melbourne (Docklands)
- Marcus Harris
- Mohammad Nabi
- Brad Hogg
- Tim Ludeman
Wildcard pick – Brad Hodge
Top 4 fantasy picks | Melbourne Stars | BBL | 26th match | Melbourne (Docklands)
- Kevin Pietersen
- James Faulkner
- Luke Wright
- Glenn Maxwell
Wildcard pick – Liam Bowe
Melbourne Renegades (possible) – 1. Marcus Harris 2. Tim Ludeman (wk) 3. Mohammad Nabi 4. Tom Cooper 5. Brad Hodge (c) 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Beau Webster 8. Matt Short 9. Jack Wildermuth 10. Kane Richardson 11. Brad Hogg.
Melbourne Stars (possible) – 1. Luke Wright 2. Ben Dunk 3. Kevin Pietersen 4. Peter Handscomb (wk) 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Seb Gotch/Evan Gulbis 7. James Faulkner 8. John Hastings (c) 9. Daniel Worrall 10. Jackson Coleman 11. Liam Bowe.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.