The Melbourne Renegades open up their BBL06 campaign against the Sydney Thunder on Thursday morning.
We’re only two matches into BBL06 and we’ve already been treated to some absolutely brilliant cricket. Things heat up again in Thursday’s fixture, which will see the dangerous Melbourne Renegades hosting the Sydney Thunder at the Etihad Stadium.
Can the Renegades open their account with a win or will the Thunder bounce back after suffering defeat to their cross-town rivals on the opening day of the competition? Let’s take a look:
Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder | Thursday 22 December | Etihad Stadium | 10:40
To Win Match
Renegades 67/100 | Tie 35/1 | Thunder 5/4
The Renegades come into BBL06 as one of my favourites to go on and win the tournament. They possess an explosive batting line-up and an all-star bowling attack. If all of these guys click and perform to their ability, they’ll definitely be in the mix come the end of the season.
This Galácticos approach doesn’t always work though as the Renegades found out last season. The Melbourne side finished outside of the semi-final places after winning only three of their eight games. Andrew McDonald will be looking for a much-improved performance this time around.
Aaron Finch will captain a side which includes the considerable talents of Sunil Narine, Brad Hogg, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Tremain, Peter Nevill and James Pattinson. They’ll definitely miss the batting ability of Chris Gayle but should have the firepower to post competitive totals against even the most miserly bowling attacks.
I’m not really sure what to expect from the Renegades going into their first game of the season. One thing is for sure, though: they’d have taken massive heart from Thunder’s below-par performance against the Sixers on the opening day of the competition.
The Thunder were pretty average in their nine-wicket loss against the Sixers on Tuesday morning. A paltry total of 159-8 on what looked to be an excellent batting surface was easily chased down by the men in pink with 12 balls to spare.
Aside from Ryan Gibson’s 43-ball 53 and Andre Russell’s dodgy electric pink and black bat (which has subsequently been banned after discolouring the ball), the Thunder did absolutely nothing to suggest that they can defend their title.
That can all change for the Thunder against a team, who on paper, are far superior. The two international boys, Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell will need to show much more quality with the bat, after scores of 26 and 9 respectively. Much of the Thunder’s season will hinge on their performances, if they don’t make the runs, I don’t see them making the semi's, let alone defending their title.
Shane Watson – who was one of the players of the tournament last season – remains out of contention with a calf injury that’ll keep him out until after Christmas. The Thunder absolutely can’t afford to lose their first two games of the tournament; expect a fighting performance.
Verdict: Melbourne Renegades 67/100
The Renegades should be far too strong for the Thunder. They’ve got home ground advantage and better players. Back them to claim a fairly straight-forward victory at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday morning.
Value Bet: Cameron White to top score for the Renegades 11/4
White’s a player who has been around for a long, long time. He’s familiar with the rigours of this tournament and has the advantage of some excellent First Class and List A form coming into the tournament. Back him at 11/4 with a small stake. Lots of value here.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.