Both the Renegades and Strikers come into this fixture out of form with the Renegades sitting bottom of the table at 0-8 after blowing another golden opportunity to win their first game of the season against the Stars on Friday night. The Strikers are holding on to a place in the top five by the skin of their teeth as they have lost their last two games, including back to back losses against the Sixers where they failed to close out the Sixers with the ball. Adelaide Oval hasn’t been a fortress against the Renegades as it has been against other sides, the Renegades have a 3-2 advantage at the Adelaide Oval against the Strikers. However overall the Strikers hold a 7-4 head to head record against the Renegades.
It’s mixed news at the selection table for the Strikers as they lose their leading run scorer Alex Carey who is in India on international duties, but they gain their captain Travis Head who is back from Test duties. Leg spinner Liam O’Connor replaces Cameron Valente in the 13 man squad that lost to the Sixers on Wednesday. The Renegades welcome back Mohammad Nabi who was a crucial part of the Renegades making the BBL08 final, Nabi has been playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, he replaces under performing Englishman Richard Gleeson. The Renegades lose their leading wicket taker in Kane Richardson who is in the Australian squad for the ODI series in India, young all-rounder Nathan McSweeney replaces Richardson in the 13 man squad that lost to the Stars on Friday.
Adelaide Strikers Squad (13): Travis Head (c), Wes Agar, Harry Conway, Rashid Khan, Michael Neser, Harry Nielsen, Liam O’Connor, Phil Salt, Matt Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Jake Weatherald, Jon Wells
Melbourne Renegades Squad (13): Dan Christian (C), Cameron Boyce, Tom Cooper, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Shaun Marsh, Nathan McSweeney, Joe Mennie, Mohammad Nabi, Samit Patel, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster, Jack Wildermuth
The Strikers began the season with three impressive wins from their first four games of the season as they firmed as genuine title contenders, however three consecutive losses since have raised some doubts over the side. Death bowling has been the main concern in the last two losses as Michael Nesser and Peter Siddle failed to close out consecutive games that the Strikers looked set to win. The Strikers batting line up hasn’t failed to get starts but they’ve lacked match winning knocks that they were getting at the beginning of the season, with the top scores in the last three games being 47 (Jake Weatherald), 40 (Jon Wells) and 52 (Jake Weatherald). If the Strikers batsmen can turn those starts into genuine match winning knocks of 80 plus, they’ll have no issues against the Renegades.
Travis Head makes a timely return against a side he’s dominated across the history of the Big Bash. In just five games against the Renegades, Head has scored 221 runs at an average of 55.25, with a strike rate of 148.32, those 221 runs are the most of anyone in games between the Strikers and Renegades. In his past three matches against the Renegades Head has scores of 71, 58 and 85, safe to say he enjoys playing against the Renegades. Head will be full of confidence coming off an impressive series against New Zealand where he scored 213 runs at an average of 42.60, including a memorable century in the Boxing Day Test. Full of confidence, at home and against a side that he has put to the sword nearly every time he has faced them, expect Travis Head to produce the goods against the Renegades again.
The Renegades blew another chance to register their first win of the season against the Stars on Friday night, the Stars chased down 12 an over for the last six overs of match. The Renegades bowling attack has been the worst in the league by a considerable amount and have been unable to close out innings and games throughout the entire tournament. There were some positives with the bat for the Renegades with Shaun Marsh (63 runs) and Marcus Harris (42 runs) registering their highest scores for the season. However the middle and lower order again failed to contribute as the Renegades lost 4/22 in the last four overs. Mohammad Nabi is a massive inclusion for the Renegades, Nabi put together a match winning knock against the Strikers last season at the Adelaide Oval where he scored 48 not out off 30 balls to lead the Renegades to an unlikely victory.
Marcus Harris was put to the top of the order for the first time this season on Friday and he delivered for the Renegades, scoring 43 off 33 deliveries. Marcus Harris is the most productive Renegades batsmen in matches against the Strikers. In four games as a Renegade against the Strikers, Harris has scored 162 runs at an average of 40.50 with a strike rate of 137.29. Harris smashed 85 off 53 deliveries at the Adelaide Oval in BBL06 as well as 45 off 29 that nearly dragged the Renegades over the line in the BBL07 semi final at the Adelaide Oval. With Harris beginning to get an opportunity in his favourite position at the top of the order against one of his favourite opponents, at a ground that he has performed well at, he is a great choice as the Renegades top run scorer.
This is a must win game for the Adelaide Strikers as they need a victory to stay inside the top five on the BBL ladder. The Renegades don’t look capable of putting together a 40 over performance with bat and ball to win a game at moment and with Travis Head coming back into side providing the Strikers batting order some balance throughout the middle order, they look hard to beat. With Jon Wells (243 runs at an average of 78) and Jake Weatherald (266 runs at an average of 38), the Strikers have too much firepower to contain for the Renegades, who look unable to contain anyone with Kane Richardson. The Strikers will cruise to an easy victory at home and regain a spot back in the top five.
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