Melbourne Renegades v Hobart Hurricanes: Back Hurricanes to add to Melbourne's misery

Nic Maddinson
Melbourne Renegades' skipper Nic Maddinson is under pressure after leading his side to four straight defeats

Bottom of the table Renegades host Hobart on Wednesday and Matt Harris is backing the Hurricanes to maintain their strong form...

"Ben McDermott has been an undoubted star with the bat and his 110 guided a perfectly-timed run chase against Adelaide Strikers last time out"

Melbourne Renegades v Hobart Hurricanes
Wednesday December 29th, 08:15 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Renegades rooted at the bottom

A two-run win over Adelaide Strikers in their opening match is as good as it's got for the Renegades so far. Four straight defeats keeps Nic Maddinson's side at the bottom of the table, three points adrift of the side above them.

The squad looks competent enough but when the key players aren't performing, a lack of depth is exposed. A hostile pace attack is proving expensive with James Pattinson and Reece Topley going for 71 from seven combined overs against Perth last time out. While Maddinson stepped in to claim a wicket, the skipper isn't a tangible long-term option as a sixth bowler.

Aaron Finch's late entry to the tournament hasn't helped and, while 21-year-old Mackenzie Harvey shows serious promise, that lack of depth is also showing in the batting. Maddinson, Mohammad Nabi and Jake Fraser-McGurk are all short of runs.

Hurricanes breeze past Strikers

In contrast, Hobart Hurricanes are homing in on a playoff place with three wins from six. Five bonus points in those six games puts Hobart in third and gives them a four-point cushion over Melbourne Stars.

Ben McDermott has been an undoubted star with the bat and his 110 guided a perfectly-timed run chase against Adelaide Strikers last time out. The one issue with that seven-wicket win came via the spinners, led by Sandeep Lamichhane, who were expensive and wicketless.

Hurricanes' depth in both departments is keeping them in touch with the top. Skipper Matthew Wade was able to call on seven bowlers while Peter Handscomb, who has a century in this format, was an unused batsman at number six.

Less than marvellous home record

Melbourne Renegades return to their home territory with a record of one win and two defeats at the Marvel Stadium. They've posted consistent first innings scores of 153 and 151 while Perth lifted the average with their 206/5 on December 22nd.

Two of those games have gone with the side taking first knock and, as we've seen in this tournament, there isn't the weighted advantage for the chasing team that has been evident in other T20 competitions.

There should be no need for the stadium's retractable roof on a warm, clear evening and the team batting first will want to target that current average of 170 as a minimum.

Hobart heavily backed

This is the most one-sided BBL 11 market of the games that I've previewed so far. Hobart Hurricanes are some way ahead at 1.625/8 while Melbourne Renegades are in the distance at 2.486/4.

Those that want to make a case for Melbourne Renegades can argue that they've played table toppers Perth Scorchers twice in their first five games. A big contribution from Finch or Harvey can take the tie away from any team but I'm siding with the favourites here.

Hobart may only have a 50% winning record at this stage of the tournament but that depth of quality has impressed me. It's in stark contrast to the issues in the Renegades' camp and it's tough to argue with those odds.

Harvey to lead the Renegades' challenge

The one Renegades player to impress on a consistent basis has been Mackenzie Harvey. Back in 2018, He top scored for the franchise on his debut as an 18-year-old, albeit in a total of 99, and has been one to watch this season.

Harvey has top scored in three of Melbourne's first five matches in BBL 11 and he's my pick to do so again at 7/2. Other options in this market include Aaron Finch at 2/1, Nic Maddinson at 7/2 and Sam Harper at 11/2.

Don't have a short memory

D'Arcy Short to top score for Hobart was my recommended bet on Monday and, while he didn't deliver, the left hander found some form with 37 from 32 balls. Ben McDermott has top scored in three of the Hurricanes' six matches and will attract interest at 5/2 but Short will come good soon.

Over in the #OddsOnThat section of the sportsbook, there's a generous 12/5 on Short and Renegades' Sam Harper to hit at least three fours each but, if you're looking for a third tip, Short to simply top score for Hobart at 7/2 is the one to consider.

Matt Harris' BBL P/L

Staked: 13pts
Returns: 10.79pts
P/L: -2.21pts

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