The BBL09 regular season concludes with a do or die game for the Brisbane Heat as they take on the Melbourne Renegades. The equation for the Heat is simple, a win and they play finals, a loss and they will miss out. The Heat kept their season alive with a 71 run win over the league leading Melbourne Stars on Saturday night, as AB de Villiers smashed 71 runs off just 37 deliveries. Aaron Finch notched up his second BBL century with a superb 109 against the Sixers at the SCG on Saturday, however it amounted for nothing as the Sixers won by 7 wickets. The game encapsulated the Renegades season with runs from the top order, no contribution from the middle order and poor bowling. The Renegades have an imposing head to head record over the Heat with a 9-3 advantage, including defeating the Heat in eight of their last nine encounters.
Both sides come into the fixture with unchanged squads as there is plenty of international talent on display with a combined seventeen players across both squads having played at international level. The batting orders of both sides will likely change as there are many calls to get Marnus Labuschagne up the order. Labuschagne scored 24 runs off 13 balls however he’s being wasted at number six, a move up to open for Ben Cutting would be the most logical idea for the Heat. It’s unlikely Tom Cooper will open given the Renegades struggles through the middle order and given the result bears nothing for the Renegades, it wouldn’t be surprising if the experiment with the order. Hard hitting Beau Webster could slide up the order or second gamer Brayden Stepien who smashed 62 runs off 19 balls for Carlton in premier cricket just over a week ago, could be another explosive option to help Aaron Finch.
Melbourne Renegades Squad (13): Aaron Finch (C), Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Zak Evans, Nathan McSweeney, Mohammad Nabi, Samit Patel, Kane Richardson, Brayden Stepien, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster, Jack Wildermuth
Brisbane Heat Squad (13): Chris Lynn (c), Ben Cutting, Sam Heazlett, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Lalor, Ben Laughlin, James Pattinson, James Peirson, Jack Prestwidge, Matthew Renshaw, Mitch Swepson, AB de Villiers, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The Renegades will end their horror title defence campaign at home with a chance to end the Heat’s season, a team they have well and truly had the wood over across the history of the Big Bash. The Renegades pulled off a miraculous comeback to defeated the Heat at the Gabba just over a week ago. The Heat were 0/84 in the 5th over chasing a modest 164 before losing 10/36 in the worst ten wicket collapse in BBL history. The Renegades will be full of confidence as they look to win their first game at home this season. Aaron Finch’s spectacular 109 went in vein on Saturday afternoon as the Renegades again failed to capitalise on a platform from their top order, with the next highest score being 24 from Tom Cooper. The Renegades inability to get a complete performance from its entire batting group has proved costly in a season that has only produced two wins so far.
Despite only playing eight out of a possible thirteen matches this season, Aaron Finch has put together a quality campaign. Finch has scored 300 runs at an average of 37.50 with a brutal strike rate of 141.50. Finch holds the record for the most runs scored in matches between the Renegades and the Heat, with 353 runs at an average of 50.43. Finch’s last four knocks against the Heat have produced scores of 8, 71, 65 and 81. Finch has been in a rich vein of form in white ball cricket in the last twelve months at both international and domestic level. Finch will like his matchups against Pattinson, Cutting and Laughlin who have been expensive this season. The Renegades will need a huge performance from their skipper, and he is facing an opposition which he has had plenty of success against. Expect a big score from Finch in the Renegades final game for the season.
A three game losing streak filled with poor batting threatened to derail the Heat’s finals hopes, but an upset victory over the Melbourne Stars means their finals destiny is in their own hands. A victory and they play finals, a defeat and they don’t. AB de Villiers notched up his first BBL half century and the spin combination of Mujeeb Ur Rahman (2/11) and Mitch Swepson (3/31), tore through the Stars. The Heat are getting important players back into their squad with Labuschagne, Burns and Pattinson returning from international duties and the inclusion of AB de Villiers has the Heat at full strength at the right time of the season. If the Heat can win this match and sneak into the finals, their won’t be many teams keen to face such a dynamic batting line up.
Sam Heazlett’s move to the top of the order at the expense of Max Bryant immediately paid dividends as he scored 56 off just 37 deliveries against the Renegades. In his last three matches as an opener Heazlett has scored 90 runs at an aver of 30, with a strike rate of 174.62. In the middle order this season Heazlett has only scored 28 runs at an average of 9.33 with a strike rate of 116.66. Heazlett’s move to the top the top of the order has allowed the Heat to maintain a left/right hand combination at the top of the order and provide some stability that the inexperienced Max Bryant couldn’t provide them. Heazlett’s season has been trending upwards since a promotion up to the top of the order and provides some excellent value to be the Heat’s leading run scorer.
It’s all on the line for the Heat who were touted as title favourites in pre-season, they now face a do or die clash just to make the finals. However with a full strength side against a Renegades team missing Shaun Marsh and Sam Harper the Heat should be full of confidence, with the Renegades having nothing to play for. It’s nearly impossible to see the Renegades bowling attack which has been the worst in the competition this season being able to contain the likes of Lynn, de Villiers, Heazlett, Labuschagne and Burns. The Renegades have struggled badly against spin this season, with Mujeeb and Swepson coming off big performances, the Renegades will be exposed to plenty of overs against spin. With the quality of batsmen the Heat possess, they will be far too strong for the Renegades and will book their place in the BBL09 finals series.
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