The Big Bash League continues tonight when the Melbourne Renegades host their hometown rivals the Melbourne Stars at Etihad Stadium for match 15 of the 2013/14 season. Join me at 7.15pm AEDT for the full teams, the toss, live scores and updates.
The Renegades and Stars have already played once this season, with the Stars winning comfortably after a fast start from Luke Wright and Cameron White.
The Renegades will be without Alex Doolan, who is staying with the Australian team in Sydney, while the Stars have a full squad to pick from.
The Renegades could also be without their English import Jos Buttler depending on whether they can secure him for the game.
The Renegades have a decent squad, with three or four superstars. The Stars also have some superstars but their squad is probably a bit stronger than the Renegades, as almost all their players have played at international level.
Batting: Aaron Finch, Michael Hill.
Bowling: James Pattinson, Muttiah Muralitharan.
In the Renegades’ most recent game, Aaron Finch and Michael Hill formed a great opening pair against the Hobart Hurricanes. Finch finished with 50 off 31 balls, while Hill made 40 off 29 balls.
Finch is most definitely a key player, as he has scored over 2800 runs in his T20 career and is probably one of the best T20 players in Australia.
Hill has played a few one day games for the Bushrangers and although he has only played one game for the Renegades, his 40 suggested he could keep his place in the team for some time.
James Pattinson and Muttiah Muralitharan are both world class bowlers and Pattinson’s 4-24 against the Hurricanes showed he is almost back to his best form.
Murali hasn’t been as effective as the Renegades would have liked but nevertheless he is still a dangerous and difficult bowler to face.
Pattinson didn’t play in the first game between these two sides, so he could be the difference that the Renegades need.
Batting: Luke Wright, Glenn Maxwell.
Bowling: Jackson Bird, Lasith Malinga.
Apart from the fact Luke Wright is my favourite Melbourne Stars player, he absolutely destroyed the Renegades in the first game, with 70 off 32 albeit on a tiny MCG ground. He has been a proven performer for the Stars over the three years of the BBL.
Maxwell is a match winner, no matter whether he’s batting, bowling or fielding, as he showed against the Sydney Sixers when he made 37, picked up 3-26 and took one catch and also ran Marcus North out from the outfield!
Jackson Bird has already taken six wickets this season, and has been bowling a good line and length. His 4/31 against the Renegades in their earlier game may be a sign of things to come.
Malinga is definitely the Stars X-Factor, as he is very effective at the death.
Just like Pattinson, Malinga didn’t play in the first game so it will be interesting to see how the Renegades play him.
The Etihad Stadium pitch seems like a batting paradise after the Renegades made 210 against the Heat, so expect scores between 180 and 210.
I’m tipping the Stars as I feel they are just too strong for the Renegades, but I’m expecting a cracking contest between these two cross town rivals for local bragging rights.
Once again make sure to join me at 7:00 AEDT for the full teams, the toss, live scores and updates.