Muttiah Muralitharan has been difficult to get away this Big Bash season. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Gregg Porteous
Everything was looking positive for the Renegades when they lined up earlier in the week against a team which hadn’t won in over two years, with Australia representatives Aaron Finch and James Pattinson released for Big Bash duty, and a spot in the finals well within sight. A few hours later, Sydney Thunder had snapped its 19-game losing streak with a nine-wicket victory, and the Renegades now find themselves in a dogfight for a spot in the top four.
The Renegades suffered a blow earlier in the tournament when Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was forced to pull out after he was called in to his national side. There is help on the way, though, with enigmatic West Indian Dwayne Bravo coming in to the team. He played for Victoria in Australia’s old Twenty20 competition and has crossed the ditch in good form after smacking 106 off 91 for the Windies in a one-dayer against New Zealand last week. He’ll also provide some handy overs with the ball with his changes of pace.
The Sydney Sixers have had some tight games this season and that continued this week when they managed to reel the fast-starting Hurricanes in at the SCG. Openers Ben Dunk and Tim Paine smashed 98 off the first 10 overs but Nathan Lyon had both of those players stumped coming down the track and in-form paceman Josh Hazlewood also picked up another couple of wickets. Steve Smith posted his second straight half-century since coming back from international duty but there hasn’t been much else of note from the Sixers’ bats in the past couple of games. Smith scored off every ball in his innings against Hobart, bar two, and one of those led to his dismissal.
The Renegades have won both matches between these teams in the first two Big Bash League seasons, including Melbourne’s 29-run victory at the SCG last year. The Renegades have lost all-rounder Will Sheridan to injury with community rookie Solomon Mire called in to the 18-man squad.
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