Shaun Marsh is a key player for Perth. Picture: Daniel Wilkins/news.com.au
The Perth Scorchers will be looking to stay in contention for a place in the Big Bash finals when they host the unbeaten Melbourne Renegades on Saturday. Since opening its campaign with back-to-back defeats, Perth has turned things around by winning its past two matches to emerge as a genuine threat in the competition. The Scorchers will have their work cut out against the Renegades however, who have a perfect record of four wins from as many matches this season.
Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges are both expected to be available for the match against the Renegades despite suffering from minor muscle strains. Marsh missed his sides heavy defeat to the Stars earlier in the tournament, while Voges was absent for the Scorchers rain affected win against Brisbane before Christmas but the 11 day break since that fixture has given the key batsman enough time to regain fitness. South African import Alfonso Thomas has collected four wickets in his two matches for Perth and will again lead the attack, while former Test spinner Michael Beer has had the same return since being asked to take the new ball.
The Renegades are likely to name the same playing XI for a fourth straight match after making an unbeaten start to the season. Skipper Aaron Finch has top scored in each match and his influence on the his team cannot be overstated, but coach Simon Helmot will have been pleased to see his middle order players guide Melbourne to victory against Brisbane. Ben Rohrer continued his fine form with an unbeaten 30, while Tom Cooper and Will Sheridan also excelled in the chase. While their batting has attracted most of the headlines, much of the Renegades success can be attributed to their bowlers, who have taken 23 wickets in the past three matches. Aaron O’Brien and Muttiah Muralitharan have 13 wickets between them in the competition, while controversial West Indies allrounder Marlon Samuels has also collected four. On the bouncy WACA wicket however, the quick men will have a more important role to play.
When these sides met at Etihad Stadium last season, the Scorchers scored an easy eight wicket win, with Shaun Marsh finishing on 99 not out. Despite finding some form with two wins on the road, a return to Perth may not work in the favour of Justin Langer’s side, given that they have lost three in a row at home.
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