The BBL12 Finals continue on Sunday night with a massive clash at Marvel Stadium between the Renegades and the Heat! Can the Renegades win their first finals match since 2019? Or will the Heat continue their hot streak to book their place in The Challenger?
Jack Tobin is on deck with his preview for The Knockout and head over to our BBL Tips page, for coverage on every game of the BBL12 finals. If you're going to have a Dabble, why not bet with Dabble?
BBL12 Renegades vs Heat Preview & Betting Tips
Marvel Stadium, Sunday 29th January, 7:15pm (AEDT)
Predicted XI: Shaun Marsh, Martin Guptill, Sam Harper, Aaron Finch, Matthew Critchley, Will Sutherland, Jonathan Wells, Tom Rogers, Corey Rocchiccioli, Kane Richardson, Fawad Ahmed
After finishing bottom of the table for three consecutive seasons, the Renegades return to the finals for the first time since winning the BBL08 title. Aaron Finch guided the Renegades home against the Strikers with an unbeaten 63, to book their place in the finals. The surface at Marvel took a lot of spin in that fixture in what was a low scoring encounter, so Fawad Ahmed and Corey Rocchiccioli will have big roles to play.
Playing on a difficult batting surface may suit the Renegades given the advantage the Heat do have in their batting stocks. The Renegades have only scored above 180 twice this season, with the batting load falling largely on Aaron Finch who has had a return to form this season after a few lean years with the bat. Finch has scored 418 runs at an average of 41, with a strike rate of 122 as an anchor in the middle order for the Renegades. In three of the Renegades four successful run chases this season, Finch has not been dismissed.
If the Renegades are to come out on top in this clash, it’s going to be on the back of their bowling attack getting on top of the Heat. Tom Rogers has spearheaded the attack, taking 21 wickets in his first season in red to be the fourth highest wicket taker in BBL12. Rogers took 3/12 from his four overs against the Strikers, and will be a handful for the Heat top order on a difficult surface.
Predicted XI: Usman Khawaja, Josh Brown, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Renshaw, Sam Hain, Jimmy Peirson, James Bazley, Michael Neser, Spencer Johnson, Matt Kuhnemann, Mark Stekete
The questions around the Heat coming into The Eliminator revolved around how their batsmen would respond after their embarrassing loss against the Hurricanes, and the Heat answered those questions emphatically. No team had scored more than 139 runs at the Showground Stadium this season, until an Usman Khawaja masterclass saw the Heat pile on 5/203 in an eight run victory on DLS. Khawaja’s 94 off 55 was well supported by fellow Test teammates Marnus Labuschagne (73 off 48) and Matt Renshaw (24 off 8).
The Heat will be without Mitch Swepson who is off to a spin camp with the Australian team, in what is a massive loss given the amount of turn that was on offer in the Renegades last game at Marvel Stadium. The Heat don’t have another specialist spinner in the squad, so they’ll likely look to Renshaw and Labuschagne to bowl overs during the middle of the innings.
The Heat lost both of their games against the Renegades this season, however Khawaja and Labuschagne didn’t feature in either game, while the Renegades had both of their star imports Akeal Hosein and Mujeeb playing, who won’t be playing on Sunday night. The Heat will be confident that their star studded batting unit can perform on any surface, and if they can produce a score of 180, they know the Renegades will struggle to go with them.
Since the five team finals format was introduced in BBL09, the third placed team has never won The Knockout. The benefit of getting to play consistent games to keep building momentum has seemed to be a benefit for the teams coming from The Eliminator.
The Heat have won five of their last six games, coming into Sunday night’s clash in some serious form and possessing one of the best finals players in the history of the competition in Usman Khawaja. Despite the Marvel Stadium pitch being difficult to score on this season, the Heat’s star power with the bat will be the deciding factor in this fixture. They showed on Friday night that they can find a way to score runs regardless of the conditions, and with the discrepancy in the batting stocks between these two sides, they’ll be too strong for the Renegades.
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Once again Usman Khawaja proved his reputation as the best big game player in the Big Bash, with another stunning finals innings. Khawaja has scored 411 runs in eight finals matches at an average of 58. Khawaja has four 50’s and a century from those eight games, and has only scored below 23 in a final on one occasion.
On difficult batting pitches the cream tends to rise to the top, and Marnus Labsuchagne is going to be a crucial piece for the Heat, given his ability to get through challenging conditions. Labuschagne is averaging 24 for the Heat from his seven games this season, and will be priming himself for this huge fixture.
To finish the multi, we’re adding some spin flavour given the conditions we saw for the Renegades vs Strikers clash on Tuesday at Marvel. Fawad Ahmed was unplayable at times, taking 3/17 from four overs. Fawad took 1/20 against the Stars in his other game at Marvel this season, giving him figures of 4/47 from eight overs at an economy of 5.8.
Usman Khawaja 20+ Runs
Marnus Labuschagne 15+ Runs
Fawad Ahmed 1+ Wicket