Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades
Saturday January 2, 6:10pm
The MCG will host the eighth edition of the Melbourne derby with both sides having won one of their opening three games in this year’s tournament.
The Stars got their campaign back on track with a relatively comfortable five-wicket win over the Sydney Sixers at the SCG last Sunday, following on from earlier defeats to the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder. Victory over the Sixers was steered by a much more disciplined effort with the ball, especially from spinners Michael Beer and Adam Zampa who combined for 3/39 off eight overs. However the Stars will be hoping for a greater contribution from death-bowling specialist James Faulkner who so far has taken only one wicket and conceded more than nine runs an over.
For the Renegades it has been a familiar story – in all three games their power-packed batting line-up has fired, chasing down 180 against the Brisbane Heat before setting sizeable totals of 4/172 and 4/170 against the Sixers and Scorchers respectively. However their bowling attack has let them down with both the Sixers and Scorchers overhauling those targets with more than an over to spare, and in Perth’s case, without losing a wicket. None of the Renegades’ bowlers have conceded less than seven runs an over, while Nathan Rimmington is the only bowler to average less than 35.
The only game at the MCG in this season’s tournament produced a high-scoring affair with the Stars falling just one run short of the Thunder’s 6/178. That continues the theme of last season where the average first innings score was 168, with the side batting second still managing to win three out of four matches.
The Stars have won five out the seven Melbourne derbies, including the last four, and are 1.79 favourites to extend that winning run with the Renegades 2.26 underdogs. With a more balanced side the Stars deserve favouritism, however in the event of the Renegades batting first I don’t wish to oppose their dangerous and in-form top order.
One area where the Renegades have excelled this season is being ahead after the first six overs. In their opening three clashes they have been ahead at the comparative six over mark on every occasion, averaging 47 with the bat, whilst only conceding an average of 39 with the ball.
Conversely the Stars have been ahead of the game after six overs only once so far this season, averaging 44 with the bat but conceding an average of 43 in the powerplay. Therefore look to back the Renegades to have the highest six over total at 1.90 or bigger.