Aaron Finch is a massive inclusion for the Renegades. Image courtesy of news.com.au
People often talk about ‘First World problems’ when taking the mickey out of others these days. Compared to Sydney Thunder , the Melbourne Renegades have a First World problem, with heavy-hitter Aaron Finch and quick James Pattinson set to miss the business end of the Big Bash. Thunder's issue is far greater; it has now lost 19 matches on the trot and looks set to go a second straight tournament without recording a win. It gets worse for Sydney, as Cricket Australia has released Finch and Pattinson for Tuesday night's match, with the in-form duo set to unleash on the comepeition's bottom-placed side.
Saturday’s loss on the Apple Isle to the Hurricanes was one of the worst of the lot for the Sydneysiders. Hurricanes opener Ben Dunk managed more in his 54-ball knock (96) than Thunder did in its entire inning which lasted 16.4 overs. The consistent Usman Khawaja contributed his usual solid 28 at the top of the order, but this team showed how much it has relied on Mike Hussey this season and with the veteran failing for just the second time this season, a total of 94 was all the Sydneysiders could muster.
Former coach Shane Duff has blamed the franchise’s former administration for the woes the team finds itself in, but the signing of Hussey this season was seen as a step in the right direction. Even having one of the best exponents of T20 cricket and some stellar performances from another ageing T20 star, Dirk Nannes, have been unable to pull Thunder out of the doldrums.
After cracking a ton in the opening ODI on Sunday, Aaron Finch will rejoin his Renegades teammates for this clash, while James Pattinson, who was rested from the 50-over game, will also return after starring following his return from injury in this tournament. With Jos Buttler joining England’s 50-over squad, the Renegades have signed flamboyant West Indian Dwayne Bravo for the remainder of the tournament, but due to international commitments in New Zealand, he won’t join the side until the next round of the Big Bash. Alex Doolan returns from the Test squad, but Melbourne will need to find runs from somewhere once Finch departs. After an amazing Big Bash last time around, Ben Roehrer is one player who has to post a score after struggling through the first five games.
The Renegades desperately need a win here following their second loss of the campaign to cross-town rival the Melbourne Stars last start. The Renegades have had just two games at Docklands so far this season, beating Brisbane Heat comfortably before their last start loss to the Stars. It goes without saying Thunder is winless on the road this tournament. The Renegades won the corresponding clash last season by five wickets, thanks in part to the efforts of left-arm spinner Aaron O’Brien who picked up 3/15 with the ball.
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