Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers: Sixes line could be set too low for first match at the Marvel

Melbourne Renegades opener Aaron Finch
Will World Cup winning captain Aaron Finch enjoy a better Big Bash than of late?

Renegades and Strikers both look weak in the batting department but Paul Krishnamurty says they can defy a low line for total sixes in their opening match...

"A superior plan to get with the batsmen is via the Total Sixes market, where the line is 9.5. 'Overs' won in six of the last seven matches at this ground, with 11 or more hit on each of those occasions."

Melbourne Renegades v Adelaide Strikers
Tuesday, 08:15 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

According to the betting order, these are the two least likely sides to win the title, at odds of 14.5 and 13.012/1 respectively. Whilst is hard to argue with either assessment, hope springs eternal at the start of a new season.

Changes afoot for wooden spoon favourites

Renegades have finished bottom of the league table for the past two years, by substantial margins on both occasions. They've made some significant changes. Having signed from Melbourne Stars, Nic Maddinson now assumes the captaincy from Aaron Finch, while David Saker returns to the head coach role.

Two important signings are Reece Topley and Unmakt Chand, although the latter will miss this match. They are further weakened in the early stages by the absence of Shaun Marsh. To contend, one must think there is a huge onus on Sam Harvey and Finch (who endured a poor World Cup, despite captaining the winners) to perform with the bat.

Strikers look chronically imbalanced

Strikers' credentials are definitely superior. They qualified for the play-offs in fifth spot last term, finished third in the points table the previous year and won the title as recently as 2017-18.

Moreover, they boast an outstanding bowling attack - arguably the best in the competition. Rashid Khan remains peerless in this format but he was outshone in the wickets department last term by Wes Agar and this year's captain, Peter Siddle.

Their problem, however, is a chronic shortage in batting. Alex Carey and Travis Head are lost to Ashes duty, while Phil Salt has gone. Of those left, only Jake Weatherald and Jon Wells mustered 200 runs in last year's series. However if the likes of Harry Neilsen and Matthew Short can step up, they do have the attack to defend even low totals. The signing of George Garton will improve the balance.

No toss bias at the Marvel

After so many months of having to wait for the toss before even considering a bet on the match odds, the Big Bash brings some relief. There is no evident bias at the Marvel Stadium, where the last 20 matches were shared ten apiece by defenders and chasers.

Of those 20 matches, six produced a first innings score of 170 or more and five were sub-140. Of the last 11, only one was below 150. Given that we have a fresh pitch for this first match of the season, there is an inclination to take 9/4 about both sides scoring 160. However the stats don't support that and both batting sides are weakened. I suspect 160 would be a winning total.

A superior plan to get with the batsmen is via the Total Sixes market, where the line is 9.5. 'Overs' won in six of the last seven matches at this ground, with 11 or more hit on each of those occasions.

The favourite for each side in their Top Team Runscorer market is enhanced - Weatherald to 9/4 for Strikers, Sam Harvey to 13/5 for Renegades. A fair offer but, as regular readers of my cricket analysis will know, not my type of bet.

Back these late sloggers at huge odds

In search of a slogger down the order, Jack Prestwidge catches the eye at 50/1 for Renegades. He hit half a dozen maximums last year in six matches, with a top-score of 33. That sort of score often wins this market. He'll probably come in around number eight.

Likewise at around eight for Strikers, take 100/1 about Daniel Worrall. He hit 62 not out on one occasion last year. At these odds, we only need one to land all season to make an overall profit.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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