While the Melbourne Renegades can almost feel their chances of BBL glory slipping away little by little, the Adelaide Strikers are on the cusp of featuring in their first final in the franchise, something that has been forthcoming for two seasons now.
Having looked the goods in the opening stages of the tournament, it’s been nothing short of a downward spiral of recent for the Melbourne Renegades who are in serious danger of slipping further down the points table. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so understandably the Renegades have flown in Cameron White from Sydney having just recently played the third ODI against England. Power-hitting West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard is set to make his debut for the Renegades later tonight, he’s no stranger to the franchise having represented the Adelaide Strikers eighteen times.
With some key ins for this match against the second-placed Strikers, they’ll be hoping that their knowledge & familiarity of the Docklands wicket plays to their advantage, unfortunately that wasn’t the case in their last outing against the Melbourne Stars who produced an upset victory. Cameron White will lead the Renegades in a bid to get their BBL campaign back on track, individually White has been the Renegades most dominant performer averaging a staggering 142.50 from his six matches with the bat. With a middle-lower order dressed to impress, the home side should have no problems whatsoever scoring quick runs in the back end of their innings, Pollard and Bravo are two world-class finishers in this format of the game. Veteran top order batsman Tom Cooper has somewhat flown under the radar this season, he’s scored two half centuries in five innings and remains a solid scoring option for the Renegades at the top.
From one veteran to another, Brad Hodge has barely been sighted since the Renegades BBL 07 opener down in Hobart. It’s been a very unlike-Hodge campaign for the 43-year-old so far, usually one of the more consistent players among his peers, certain game scenarios have toiled with his ever-consistent approach to the game. They’ve really fallen on their sword in the bowling department as well, Kane Richardson hasn’t been the front line wicket-taking bowler they would’ve hoped for, and both Dwayne Bravo and Brad Hogg are coming off some pretty average bowling performances which really does put things in perspective for the Renegades. Chris Tremain is a near-certainty to come into the Renegades XI tonight, that should bolster the fast bowling unit and add some more flexibility to their attack. A must-win game for the home team, this could decide their fate in the tournament.
A thriller at the Adelaide Oval saw the Strikers survive a Hurricanes batting onslaught late in the match to secure their sixth win of the tournament. Adelaide are well & truly marching towards a crack at the BBL title with their tails up, if they win against the Renegades tonight, they’ll secure a top two finish in what has been one of the biggest success stories in this seasons competition. It could be even bigger if they were to go on and win the BBL 07, but focusing on the present will be unarguably their approach for the time being. After a couple unlucky stints with the Australian side in the ODI series against England, Strikers skipper Travis Head will return for tonight’s clash along with Alex Carey who recently debuted in the green & gold as well.
Carey’s last innings in the BBL was a memorable one, striking a 56-ball century in what could only be described as an “edge of your seats” knock. The 171-run opening stand between Adelaide openers Alex Carey and Jake Weatherald surpassed the Strikers previous record which was held by Weatherald & Ben Dunk in BBL 06. After being left out of the third ODI in Sydney, Travis Head will be looking to redeem himself on a Docklands wicket that should suit his aggressive nature to perfection, he’s a talent that sometimes goes unrecognized at times. Alongside Head and Carey, the Strikers have the man they call the bulldozer, aka Colin Ingram who’s been spectacular when required, and Jake Weatherald who’s coming off an impressive 65 against the Hurricanes. It might even be worth elevating Jono Dean above one of Jono Wells or Jake Lehmann, the ACT specialist batsman has plenty to offer when it comes to dispatching balls over the fence.
19-year-old leg-spinning supremo Rashid Khan posses a huge threat to the Renegades on a pitch like this, Etihad Stadium’s wicket is renown for its skiddy two-paced surface which has favored spinners in the past. On the flip side, if a spinner gets it wrong with their line & length giving the batting team to much width, it’s four almost every day of the week. The Hobart Hurricanes were one of the first teams to take down the Strikers bowling attack who have been in phenomenal touch throughout their BBL 07 campaign, but they still managed to defend their total which shows you just how reliable they are when it comes down to winning a match when the chips are down. It’s highly unlikely that the Renegades will be able to replicate the Hurricanes performance from last week, Adelaide have a quality seam bowling attack that rarely gets dominated like the other night, no matter how good the batsmen are.
Top 4 fantasy picks | Melbourne Renegades | BBL | 35th match | Melbourne (Docklands)
- Cameron White
- Dwayne Bravo
- Tom Cooper
- Kieron Pollard
Wildcard pick – Tim Ludeman
Top 4 fantasy picks | Adelaide Strikers | BBL | 35th match | Melbourne (Docklands)
- Rashid Khan
- Travis Head
- Michael Neser
- Alex Carey
Wildcard pick – Jake Lehmann
Melbourne Renegades (possible) – 1. Tim Ludeman (wk) 2. Marcus Harris 3. Cameron White (c) 4. Tom Cooper 5. Brad Hodge 6. Kieron Pollard 7. Dwayne Bravo 8. Jack Wildermuth 9. Kane Richardson 10. Chris Tremain 11. Brad Hogg.
Adelaide Strikers (possible) – 1. Alex Carey (wk) 2. Jake Weatherald 3. Travis Head (c) 4. Colin Ingram 5. Jono Wells 6. Jake Lehmann 7. Michael Neser 8. Rashid Khan 9. Peter Siddle 10. Ben Laughlin 11. Billy Stanlake.
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.