An extremely high-scoring wicket at Melbourne Docklands means we may well get our sixth century of the Big Bash season, says Jamie Pacheco.
"So, on what is the best wicket in the tournament, another century is very much on here."
Melbourne Renegades v Melbourne Stars
Thursday, 8:35, Live on Sky Sports
Renegades looking to avoid another wooden spoon
After being fortunate in winning two matches in a row against Covid-stricken sides, the Renegades' run came to an end against the Sixers.
They bowled pretty well to restrict the Sixers to 150 and were pretty strong favourites going not their chase.
But they made a real mess of it. The classy Shaun Marsh (who made 39) was the only player in the Top 5 to get to double figures and he was clearly going to have to do it all himself with no real ability in the lower-middle order. Once Marsh was out the game was up.
So they're back to doing their best to try and avoid yet another wooden spoon.
It's not going to get any easier. Having already lost Reece Topley to international duty, they're now also without Mohammad Nabi (went home for personal reasons) and James Pattinson (injury) for the rest of the campaign.
Renegades' Likely XI:
Finch, Harper, Marsh, Maddinson, Sutherland, Fraser-McGurk, Harvey, Richardson, Lalor, Boyce, Khan.
Stars in real bother
They were probably never going to chase 197 against a strong Scorchers bowling attack anyway. But if they were, they certainly needed the in-form Joe Clarke opening the batting.
That he didn't was due to him still feeling the after effects of Covid and the fatigue from batting for so long the previous day. But here's a question: why did he keep wicket then?
They could have got someone else to do that job and spared their main man. But anyway.
The Stars have struggled this season and though they were badly-hit by Covid, they had issues well before that.
Glenn Maxwell in particular, who had had both a good IPL and T20 world Cup, has been really disappointing.
Marcus Stoinis, another who has been poor, returns for this one.
Stars Likely XI:Clarke, Stoinis, Larkin, Maxwell, Burns, Cartwright, Hinchcliffe, Ahmad, Rainbird, Zampa, Rauf
Venue and conditions
We're at Melbourne Docklands for this one.
Three of the last four matches here saw the side batting first go past 200. Unsurprisingly, all three of those teams won.
However, on two occasions the chasing side actually came pretty close to getting there. That's proof that it's not just a really good wicket but also one that stays true for the full 40 overs.
So, both teams will have made a note of how batting first is the way to go but may not be so disheartened at the break if they're chasing around 180.
The Renegades won this fixture a few days ago but the team the Stars put out (due to a Covid outbreak) was almost unrecognisable from the one who normally plays and indeed the one that is likely to play this time round.
But the Stars are still miles ahead on the head-to-head record. It's 14-7 to be precise. And that must be the chief reason why the men in green are such strong favourites at just 1.68/13 because quite frankly, that's far too short for a side who has been so inconsistent all season.
Still, the way the Renegades fluffed their lines a couple of days ago means you don't really want to be going with them, either.
The suggestion here (and remember you don't have to play this market at all), is to go with the side batting first.
Daniel Sams got 98 not out, Ben McDermott 127 and Mitch Marsh 86. Those are the top individual scores from three of the last four matches played here.
So, a century and another occasion where Sams (an all-rounder by the way) came extremely close to raising his bat on getting to 100.
On what is the best wicket in the tournament, another century is very much on here.
Especially when you consider that the likes of Clarke, Stoinis, Finch and Marsh are all extremely capable of playing long innings and scoring at a really fast rate.
The 9/1 that we see another century is extremely generous, even though it would only be the sixth of this year's edition.
The term 'classy batsman' is often bandied about but in the case of Shaun Marsh, it's very appropriate.
He should have had a far better and longer career for Australia than he did and quite frankly, he's a bit too good for the Bash. No matter.
At 3/1 he's a good bet to top score for the Renegades.
He's only played four matches this year since coming back from injury and has scored 21, 57, 8 and 39, top scoring in the second and fourth of those.
To say he has little to beat is putting it mildly. Aaron Finch has been out of sorts and he's the only other really classy player in the team so if he can get the Aussie captain beat, you've probably got yourself a winner.
JAMIE'S 2021-22 BIG BASH P/L
JAMIE'S 2021-22 BIG BASH P/L
Points wagered: 19pts
Points returned: 23.75
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