Melbourne Renegades v Sydney Thunder
Saturday, 7:05, Live on Sky Sports

Renegades making the most of it

We all know luck has a big part to play in cricket when it comes to umpiring decisions, tosses, dropped catches, weather and a load of other factors.

But over the past week or so, the Renegades have experienced a very different sort of luck.

Two matches ago they were rock bottom but then played the Stars, followed by the Heat. In both cases their opponents were missing about 3/4 of their players due to testing positive for Covid. In both cases the Renegades took all four points to move into fifth from absolutely nowhere.

And not only were they lucky that they were against such depleted sides, but they were incredibly fortunate not to have any players out themselves.

Essentially, it was their first choice IX against reserve players and in some cases grade players, completely out of their depth.

But they certainly made the most of their fortune.

And with Shaun Marsh finally available and Nic Maddinson now focussed and unlikely to be needed any more to be on stand-by for the Ashes side, they may just be contenders for the Playoffs.

Reece Topley has gone home.

Renegades’ Likely XI: Finch, Harper, Marsh, Maddinson, Sutherland, Nabi, Harvey, Seymour, Richardson, Evans, Khan.

Thunder on superb winning run

The Thunder are on a four-match winning streak, which is quite something. They beat the Strikers twice, the Scorchers just before Christmas and then got the better of Aston Turner’s lot again on Thursday.

And they weren’t quite as fortunate as the Renegades were. The Scorchers were missing two or three players, not seven or eight, so they deserve credit for restricting such a good batting line-up to 133/9, which they chased pretty comfortably in the end.

So, they’re now into third and could challenge the Sixers for that Top 2 finish.

But it’s not all good news. Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood, who were both excellent, have played their last game for the season.

Mahmood is flying home to prepare for a tour of the Windies, Billings is on stand-by and could yet feature in the Ashes.

Thunder Likely XI: Gilkes, Hales, Sangha, Davies, Holt, Sams, Cutting, McAndrew, Green, Sandhu, Hasnain

Venue and conditions

We’re at Melbourne Docklands for this one.

The Renegades posted 153 and 151 here, both chased easily. But then again, that was when the Renegades were missing important batsmen.

It was also where the Scorchers racked up 206/5 against the Renegades, the same score as the Hurricanes got against Maddinson’s men, who didn’t even come close to chasing those totals.

So, obvious as it sounds, if you bat well here you can get to 200.

These are the two of the league’s in-form sides here. The Thunder have won their last four, the Renegades their last two. So, something’s gotta give.

You could argue the Renegades aren’t a bad price at all at 2.35/4. They have an extremely strong record in this fixture; they’re 9-4 up.

Sydney Thunder batsman Alex Hales.jpg

And given the absences in other sides, their Top 4 of Finch, Harper, Marsh and Maddinson is probably one of the strongest out there right now.

And the Thunder will badly miss Sam Billings and Saqib Mahmood.

I mentioned in previous previews how influential Billings has been to this side with the bat, keeping wicket and being a sort of extremely vocal vice-captain. Mahmood has just taken a load of wickets: 13 in six games. They won’t be easily replaced.

So, a trade of the Renegades from 2.35/4 to about 1.75/7 should be on. But as has been the case with the BBL all season, better bets can be found in the side markets.

It’s been a strange debut season for Maddinson as captain of the Renegades.

He missed a couple of games on Australia A duty and then another while he was on stand-by for the Ashes squad.

In between that he’s bowled beautifully, taking five wickets in just nine overs with an economy rate of 5.55 and a strike rate of 10.8. Not bad for a part-timer.

With the bat, his 67 against the Scorchers was pipped by Finch’s 68 but he’s striking the ball better than his numbers suggest and he could go well here.

The return of Marsh means he’s dropped down a place in the order to four and that he has an extra seriously good player to beat.

But then again, Marsh and Finch are both 13/5, their top scorer for the season in Harper is 7/2 and Maddinson is 11/2. That’s pretty big.

As is Jason Sangha for the Thunder. He provided a winner for us last time out at a boosted 7/2 with a well-made 34.

So that’s 273 runs for the season at an average of 68.25. That was his third time in six matches he’s top scored for the side and came mightily close in another two games.

The absence of Billings will help his cause here.

Billings11.jpg

And at 7/2 it’s certainly worth going to the well with him one more time, given he’s clearly in the form of his life.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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