Our prediction is Melbourne Renegades to win!
Game two of the Big Bash League 2018-19 sees the Melbourne Renegades host the most successful team in the competition, Perth Scorchers. With three BBL wins, Perth are always a dangerous team to come up against and it will be an early test for the Renegades.
These two sides met twice last season. In Melbourne, Perth ran out three-wicket winners after Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Tye took three wickets apiece. The Scorchers also beat Renegade at home by five wickets, so they have had the best of recent encounters.
There are some interesting match-ups for this one, particularly as Australia have allowed Mitchell Marsh (Scorchers) and Chris Tremain (Renegades) to play in the opening round of BBL matches. There is also a fascinating battle in store between the all-rounders as Mohammad Nabi and Daniel Christian from the Renegades take on Marsh and David Willey from the Scorchers.
Renegades could really benefit from having Tremain available although they are still missing batsmen Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris. That puts a lot of pressure on the likes of Tom Cooper and Cameron White to perform although Christian had a good spell in South Africa recently so comes into the tournament in good form.
Although the Renegades have never won the BBL, they did finish on top of the standings 2012-13, when they had Muttiah Muralitharan in their side. Out of 58 BBL matches, they have won 28 – that is just 48.27%. However, they have shown signs of progress, finishing fifth two seasons ago and third last season in the league standings when they lost in the semi-final to eventual winners Adelaide Strikers by just one run.
Cameron White (c), Tom Cooper, Tim Ludeman (wk), Will Sutherland, Jack Wildermuth, Beau Webster, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie, Jon Holland, Usman Khan Shinwari.
The Scorchers are the only side to have won this tournament more than once and have the best win rate of all eight sides, winning 45 of their 69 games (65.94%). They will be keen to avoid any repeat of their disappointing semi-final collapse against Hobart Hurricanes last season.
With Mitchell Marsh available to lead the side in this one, they go into the opening weekend with a strong squad to pick from. However, Cameron Bancroft will be unavailable until the end of the year while he serves his ban, Shaun Marsh remains with Australia and Joel Paris has a back injury and won’t return until January.
Nevertheless, the Scorchers have plenty of options, including leg-spinner Usman Qadir as one of their overseas players. He has already impressed playing in Australia and could be a key man. They will hope Michael Klinger can prove his fitness after he suffered a back injury during the Mzansi Super League.
Michael Klinger, David Willey, Ashton Turner, Mitchell Marsh (c), Hilton Cartwright, Sam Whiteman (wk), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Usman Qadir, Andrew Tye.
It is forecast to be warm and humid this week in Melbourne with humidity rising as the game gets closer. There is the possibility of some rain. Moisture in the air may slow the pitch a little.
The Marvel Stadium was previously known as the Etihad Stadium and is also referred to as Docklands. A multi-sport venue, as well as the Renegades playing cricket here, fans come here to watch Aussies rules, soccer and rugby. It has hosted occasional international games, including the first indoor ODI between Australia and South Africa in 2000.
The last two times the Renegades won the toss, they chose to field first. At this venue, the preference seems to be to field first and this is what the Scorchers did in the corresponding fixture last year. In 28 matches played at the Marvel Stadium, the side batting second has won 17 times and the side batting first 13, so expect teams to favour chasing.
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Melbourne Renegades have only won two of their last 10 matches at home and Perth Scorchers clearly have the edge in the head-to-head records. On paper, the Renegades look to have the stronger team thanks to their opponents missing players for various reasons. But can they put behind them previous losses to a Scorchers side that always seems to be there or thereabouts? It’s a close call, but we feel their opponents may take time to get going this season as they bring in new players, so we give the Renegades the edge for this one.
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