Picture: Daniel Wilkins/perthnow.com.au
The Melbourne Stars will be looking to avenge an eight wicket derby defeat on the opening day of the season when they face the Renegades on Sunday. Despite losing to the Brisbane Heat on Thursday, the Stars remain well placed to make the finals with four wins from their opening six matches and probably need to win just one of the remaining two to reach the knockout stage. Having lost just once in the opening six rounds, the Renegades will almost certainly be involved in finals action but will want a top two finish to ensure they get a home semi-final.
Rob Quiney was handed the wicketkeeper’s gloves against Brisbane and acquitted himself well enough to suggest that he will keep the role in order to squeeze all of the Stars bowling options in to the XI. Luke Wright returned from international duty at the Gabba and top scored for the third time in four matches this season and while his output has been good, the same can’t be said of some of his teammates. More will be expected of experienced campaigners David Hussey and Cameron White in the pressure cooker environment of the local derby, with both players struggling for form at the moment. The pair have scored just 164 between them in the opening six rounds and need to lift if the Stars are going to make a sustained run for the title.
The Renegades cemented their place in the finals with a comfortable win over the Strikers on Wednesday. Aaron Finch failed for a second straight match in that game however, and will be looking to regain the form that he was in earlier in the competition when he top scored in his sides first four fixtures. He was the difference in the season opening Melbourne derby when he led his team to victory with an unbeaten 111. Another player that will be looking for form is West Indies allrounder Marlon Samuels. Although his controversial off spinners has been potent in the Big Bash, Samuels is averaging just 11 with the bat in the competition and has a highest score of just 21 from his five visits to the crease.
While the Renegades were victorious in the derby earlier this season, the Stars were 11 run winners when these teams met at the MCG in the Big Bash last season. Home advantage could be crucial for the Stars in this showdown given that they have won four in a row at the ‘G’ and are unbeaten there this season. The Renegades win over Sydney Thunder at ANZ Stadium earlier this season was their only success away from home in its past four.
Click here to bet on Big Bash matches