Big Bash Opener

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The Renegades will look to get a first-up win against crosstown rivals the Stars. Image courtesy of
The second season of the Big Bash competition gets underway with a blockbuster showdown between the Melbourne Renegades  and Melbourne Stars  at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. The Stars appear to have the best team on paper, but the Aaron Finch led Renegades are confident that they can upset their much vaunted rivals.

South African Test star Faf Du Plessis will line up for the Renegades as a replacement for West Indies World Twenty20 winner Marlon Samuels who is on international duty, while world record Test wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan will also line up for them. He is the only real strike weapon in an attack that appears to lack any real sort of firepower however, with Jayde Herrick ruled out with a foot injury. Skipper Aaron Finch – the leading runscorer in the Ryobi Cup this season - forms a strong opening partnership with former South Australian star Daniel Harris and that pair will be expected to get the side off to a good start.

The Melbourne Stars boast a powerful top order with the likes of Australian representatives Rob Quiney, David Hussey and Cameron White in the ranks, while English international Luke Wright provides another option for skipper Shane Warne. Warne will shoulder the slow bowling responsibilities but could be a little bit rusty having not played a competitive match since the Stars semi-final defeat to the Scorchers in January. The sides fast bowling contingent will be spearheaded by Sri Lankan ace Lasith Malinga, while he will be supported by Clint McKay and James Faulkner. John Hastings, who made his Test debut against South Africa at the WACA last week, has been ruled out through injury.

The Stars were 11 run victors in last year’s rain affected Melbourne derby courtesy of a rapid fire half century from David Hussey. Two of the three Twenty20 matches played at Etihad Stadium were won by the team batting second last year, while the average first innings score at Docklands was 172, the highest of any ground in the tournament.

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