Big Bash League champions Melbourne Renegades will look to start their title defence on a perfect note when they host Sydney Thunder at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong on Thursday.
The Thunder started their tournament on a high when they defeated Brisbane Heat by 29 runs in the opener game of BBL09. That said, the Thunder have struggled historically against the Renegades losing eight of their nine encounters. That includes losing their last six since beating them in January 2014.
After a successful run to the title last year, the Renegades have roped in Michael Klinger as their coach. Batting would be the focus, considering they hit only two half-centuries last season. The addition of Shaun Marsh is expected to fill that void.
The Renegades have been cornered on the foreign circuit front, with Usman Shinwari and Faheem Ashraf pulling out of the tournament. Little-known Richard Gleeson has been signed as a replacement, but the exciting Harry Gurney plays through the season now.
The Thunder rode on a masterclass by Callum Ferguson (73* off 44 balls) to defeat Heat in their first match. He had ample support from Alex Ross and Chris Green helping to lead them to a safe score of 172. That proved to be more than enough in the end with the Heat restricted to 143.
All the bowlers impressed, with four taking two wickets each. Although they haven’t won two games in a row since doing so in the first two matches of the previous season, the Thunder will hope to catch the champions on the wrong foot.
Last season saw the Renegades struggle with their batting, with only two half-centuries overall. That didn’t stop them from going all the way, however. With Marsh and Finch at the top, the Renegades will hope for quick starts. The Thunder, meanwhile, will be confident after their first match. While the likes of Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja have not hit their stride yet, the bowlers have shown that they can impress as a batch. It could be a fascinating battle between the top-order batters of the two sides.
History & Statistics
- Melbourne Renegades have won eight of nine matches against Sydney Thunder, including the last six.
- The only H2H loss for Melbourne Renegades has come while batting first.
- Melbourne Renegades have won the only H2H played at neutral venue.
- Sydney Thunder’s Callum Ferguson has scored at least 26 runs in his last six Big Bash innings.
- Sydney Thunder have won two and lost two BBL matches played at neutral venues.
- The last time Sydney Thunder won back-to-back BBL matches was in December 2018.
Cameron Boyce has 14 wickets against the Thunder in nine career BBL matches at a SR of 12.2 (wicket every two overs) and ER of 6.48. If the leggie can match his career stats, the Thunder would be under pressure.
Callum Ferguson has scored 339 runs in his last six BBL batting innings, with 2×50 and 1×100. If he can continue the purple patch, the Thunder will be well served.