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Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades

T20 Big Bash League: Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades Betting Preview – Saturday 7 January, 2012 at the MCG at 7.00pm

MELBOURNE STARS CAMPAIGN:

Game 1 – lost to Sydney Thunder by six wickets (with six balls remaining) at MCG (17/12)
Game 2 – defeated Brisbane Heat by eight runs at ‘Gabba (20/12)
Game 3 – lost to Sydney Sixers by two runs at SCG (27/12)
Game 4 – lost to Perth Scorchers by eight runs at MCG (4/1)
v Melbourne Renegades at MCG (7/1)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena (9/1)
v Adelaide Strikers at MCG (19/1)

MELBOURNE RENEGADES CAMPAIGN:

Game 1 – lost to Adelaide Strikers by 67 runs at Adelaide Oval (18/12)
Game 2 – lost to Perth Scorchers by eight wickets (with four balls remaining) at Etihad Stadium (22/12)
Game 3 – defeated Sydney Thunder by six runs at ANZ Stadium (30/12)
Game 4 – defeated Sydney Sixers by eight wickets (with 14 balls remaining) at Etihad Stadium (2/1)
v Melbourne Stars at MCG (7/1)
v Brisbane Heat at Etihad Stadium (12/1)
v Hobart Hurricanes at Blundstone Arena (18/1)

KEY PLAYERS:

Matthew Wade’s form over the past few years has been so good that many consider him the next wicketkeeper for Australia. The 24-year-old, who has already played two T20’s for his country, is as reliable as a padlock behind the stumps, but his aggressive hitting at the start of an innings has turned many heads. Wade hasn’t had the best start to the Big Bash League, but has the perfect opportunity to announce himself on the big stage against the Stars’ archrivals.

There will never, ever be another cricket like Shahid Afridi. The Pakistani all-rounder is one of the most unique cricketers in the world, but is mainly known for his hard-hitting and quick scoring with the bat. However the 31-year-old has become a real threat with the ball in the T20 format and his leg spinners have captured him 54 international wickets – the most in the format’s short history. Whether it’s with the back or with the ball, Afridi will cause the Stars headaches on Saturday night.

MELBOURNE STARS LIKELY TEAM:

1. Rob Quiney
2. Matthew Wade (WK)
3. George Bailey
4. David Hussey
5. Cameron White (C)
6. Adam Voges
7. Luke Wright
8. James Faulkner
9. Clint McKay
10. Shane Warne
11. Jackson Bird

MELBOURNE RENEGADES LIKELY TEAM:

1. Aaron Finch
2. Brad Hodge
3. Glenn Maxwell/Aaron Heal
4. Andrew McDonald (C)
5. Shahid Afridi
6. Nathan Reardon
7. Graham Manou (WK)
8. Abdul Razzaq
9. Shane Harwood
10. Dirk Nannes
11. Shaun Tait

Bookmakers Odds & Tips

In any sport, nothing beats a good old local derby. And even though these teams are new on the sporting scene and have never played each other before, still expect an electric atmosphere and plenty of fast-paced action when they meet at the MCG on Saturday.

After a slow to their Big Bash League campaign, the Renegades have hit form in the past two games and are now back in the hunt to play in the finals. They have been clinical in defeating the Sixers at ANZ Stadium and, more recently, the Thunder at Etihad Stadium.

The Renegades were scintillating with the bat against the Sixers, in particular Brad Hodge and Andrew McDonald. The Victorian veterans put on 124 for the second wicket to guide their team to a magnificent eight-wicket victory. Hodge smashed 72 not out to prove why he is still one of the best T20 batsmen in the world, while McDonald hit seven sixes on his way to a Man-of-the-Match knock of 60 from 37 balls.

To put it simply and bluntly, the Stars are struggling and have basically blown their chances of making the BBL finals. They looked flat and unhappy during their match against the Perth Scorchers, who won the match by eight runs. The Stars bowled superbly but drastically failed with the bat, which is ridiculous considering their star-studded batting line-up.

The Renegades come into this match with the bigger momentum after two big wins. Hodge has been the talisman his side desperately needed and his return to the side has been a big reason behind their success. If him, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and McDonald get going again they will be tough to dismiss.

Despite their poor form, don’t disregard the Stars’ batting line-up. Yes they haven’t really got going this tournament, but with the likes of Wade, Quiney, Bailey, Hussey, White, Voges and Wright, the Renegades’ bowling attack can’t afford to let their guard down.

Ultimately, it will come down to the better batting team and who can make the most runs. And at the moment, with Hodge in the side, the Renegades are the sounder batting team at the moment and have so much more momentum. Tipping the Renegades to win and to push for a finals spot.

Best Bets For Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades:

Melbourne Renegades to win ($1.85 – Sportsbet)

Brad Hodge Renegades High Bat ($3.25 – Sportsbet)