It's a tough match to call but a couple of big-priced Renegades' smashers are worth a punt in their last game of the season, says Jamie Pacheco...
"Our plan relies on Finch and Webster getting out cheaply but I’ll take the chance and spit stakes between Nabi and Christian."
Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat
Monday January 27, 03:45
TV: live on BT Sport 1
Renegades have improved of late
If you've got no chance to get to the playoffs by the halfway stage, then showing some fight, desire and pride is about as much as you can hope for.
And that's what the Renegades have been doing of late. They posted a pretty decent total against the impressive Sydney Sixers and were just unlucky to run into an inspired Josh Philippe and Steve Smith, who ominously for the opposition, has settled in just fine in the Bash.
Aaron Finch scored a century- strangely there have been plenty of those of late after an absence of them in the early stages- but the bowling just wasn't quite up to scratch on that occasion with Will Sutherland the only bowler to go for less than 8.5 an over.
Star batsman Shaun Marsh has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an injury.
de Villiers making his mark
AB de Villiers' signing sniffed a bit of a player having it all his own way. He arrived when he felt it like it after spending Christmas at home in South Africa and he pretty much decided where he wanted to bat.
But when you're dealing with a player like him, you can afford to open a few exceptions.
His excellent 71 against the Stars meant the tournament favourites were never in with a chance of chasing the Heat's score and his presence in the squad has clearly lifted the mood after a tough spell through the middle of the campaign for them.
There has been some rather strange tinkering with the batting line-up though. They opened with Ben Cutting last time out and the new sensation of Australian cricket, Marcus Labuschagne, only came in at six. They'd certainly be better off opening with Chris Lynn and then deciding where to bat de Villiers depending on the situation of the game.
They need to win this match and improve their run rate considerably to make it to the Playoffs.
No bet on the match winner market
It's a question we ask ourselves plenty of times: does a side under pressure who has to win a game play better than one who has nothing to lose and not have to worry too much about the outcome? It's tough to answer but that's exactly the situation here.
The Renegades are [2.5] and some may feel that's worth taking if you believe the team who can play carefree cricket is better off. The problem is the absence of Marsh.
Their batting has been poor all season with only Marsh being consistent all the way through so you're pretty much solely relying on Aaron Finch and to a lesser extent Beau Webster to go out and get a decent score for them to be competitive here.
Then again, I wouldn't t back the Heat at [1.62] with borrowed money, so often have they put in shocking performances over the years for no particular reason. Best leave this market alone.
Chris Lynn is the favourite to top score for the Heat at 13/5 but that doesn't look a great price considering the presence of de Villiers in the side and the fact that Lynn has been batting at three of late.
De Villiers is 11/4 and if we're talking pure class, that's not a bad price about one of the best ever exponents of T20 batting.
But the value is arguably Cutting at 5/1 if he carries on opening. Unlike when he bats at six or seven and tries to smash it from the word go, he bats properly when he opens and if he gets going, may not give the rest much of a chance to catch up. If he's chalked n to open, he looks a decent wager.
It's not impossible for the Heat to go out and score 200 and for the Renegades' top order to be blown apart trying to stay up with the run rate. Or for the Renegades to go at it too hard if they bat first and then need a rebuilding job to post something decent.
So it could be worth looking to some big priced players in the middle order. Mohammad Nabi has been good of late and might get a promotion up to four. We've waited all tournament for Dan Christian to play one of those match-winning cameos from five or six where he smashes 40 off 20 but it hasn't come yet. Could this be the match? Maybe.
Our plan relies on Finch and Webster getting out cheaply but I'll take the chance and spit stakes between Nabi and Christian.
JAMIE'S BIG BASH P/L 2019/20
Points Staked: 20
Points Returned: 16.45