Big Bash 2016/17 - Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades Season Preview and Prediction

Big Bash 2016/17 - Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades Season Preview and Prediction


2015/16 - 2nd. Lost Final to Thunder (6 Wins, 4 Losses) 

Overall Win Loss - 22 wins 15 losses, 60% win ratio 

Titles - 0 

Record - The Stars are considered the rich kids of the Big Bash. Bankrolled by Eddie McGuire, they have often fielded some of the biggest "Stars" in the game and have always carried a swagger about them. However, all that glitz, glamour and money spent has not translated into titles, with the Stars yet to win any silverware in their first five seasons. The Stars have qualified for the finals in all five of their seasons, however lost four straight semi finals in their first four seasons. Last season the team went one better, finally breaking through in the semi final stage, before losing a tense final to the Thunder by three wickets at the MCG. Despite being a consistently winning franchise, the Stars have gained a reputation of "chokers" somewhat when it comes to the crunch. 

Squad - David Hussey (c), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sam Harper, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Tom Triffitt, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa

Imports - Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright - The Stars retain their talented and experienced  English pair of Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen to the side that made the Final last year. Pietersen was a smash hit last year for the Stars, scoring 323 runs at an average of 40. Pietersen has an outstanding T20 average of nearly 35 through 164 games at a great strike rate of 136. Luke Wright has been one of the best opening bats in T20 cricket for a number of years, and has often done the business for the Stars. Through more than 250 games, Wright averages 28 at a explosive strike rate of 145. With both players available throughout the whole BBL 6 it gives the Stars great stability in the Top 3 which other sides might not enjoy. 

Verdict - The Stars have a great squad as usual, however they don't appear like a well drilled unit. I think they rely on individual brilliance too much, rather than disciplined team performances,  and that has hurt them when it has come to the crunch over the years. With the likes of Maxwell, Pietersen, Handscomb, Wright and Hussey, the batting line up will win them games, and by large margins, if one or two of them fire. In Hastings and Faulkner they have two of the premier fast bowlers in the competition and Adam Zampa, when available, will be very tidy with the ball. They are a certainty to make the finals and will probably finish the regular season in 1st or 2nd spot, but, like South Africa in World Cups,  in the big games I think they choke. 

THE LURKER - 1st "Once again the Stars look like the team to beat on paper. If you have 20 bourbons and decide to spin the chocolate wheel at Crown Casino the Stars are the "evens" favourite every mug favourite punter like Nick Stapleton wants to be on them. They celebrate $1.30 pops like they have won lotto, who gives a toss. Full of class and depth with both the bat and the ball they should finish the regular season in top spot. However once again they will crash and burn in the finals series. They choke like David Skuthorpe over a steak or James Tyson over a 3 foot put"


2015/16 - 5th (3 wins, 5 losses) 

Overall Win/Loss - 16 wins, 19 losses, 45% Win Ratio 

Titles - 0 

History - The Renegades will be looking to put an end to three straight years of mediocrity when they hit the field in 2016/17. The Renegades have finished 6th, 6th and 5th in their last three seasons, finishing with losing records and outside of the finals in each of those seasons. The side has been one of the least successful Big Bash franchises, making the finals just once in their five seasons. That season was 2012/13 where the side finished with a dominant 7 wins and 1 loss to top the group standings. However they were unceremoniously dumped out of the finals in the semi final in a home match against the Brisbane Heat. 

Squad - Aaron Finch (c), Cameron White, Tom Beaton, Dwayne Bravo, Tom Cooper, Xavier Doherty, Callum Ferguson, Marcus Harris, Brad Hogg, Sunil Narine, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Nathan Rimmington, Peter Siddle, Chris Tremain, Matthew Wade, Matthew Short, Cameron White, Nick Winter.

Imports - Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine. The Renegades decided not to re-sign The "World Boss" Chris Gayle, perhaps marking the end of the enigmatic West Indian's time on Australian shores. However, they do retain fellow West Indian all rounder Dwayne Bravo. With over 5000 T20 runs and 365 wickets, Bravo is one of the few premier all rounders in the shortest format of the game. The Renegades may have plucked the signing of the summer in mystery West Indian spinner Sunil Narine. Narine is an outstanding T20 bowler with 241 wickets from 196 matches at an astonishing economy rate of under 6 run per over. His variations make him hard to read, and he often bowls flat and fast, not allowing batsmen to use their feet with any confidence.

Verdict - This side may have the best bowling line up in the competition. With Narine and Hogg they have 8 overs of pure gold from their spinners. These guys will rarely go for more than 6 or 7 an over, and build a lot of pressure, as well as taking wickets. There is some firepower with the ball with Pattinson, Siddle, Tremain and Rimmington all providing genuine wicket taking options. I am a bit worried about their batting relying too much on Finch, as the likes of Ferguson, Beaton, Harris, Bravo and company are unlikely to win you a game off their own bat.  If you're putting stock on bowling being the most important ingredient to win T20 games, then this squad might have the genuine chance. Their batting is short on star power, so I have them just sneaking into the finals. 

THE LURKER 5th - " These blokes remind me a bit of the 5 dog at Bulli on a Thursday Night. $13 dollars and if it pings the lids for once it's life it might be in business. These blokes have been dead set losers over the years, talking up a good game but delivering doughnuts outs in the middle. With international experience in Bravo, Narine and Hogg the Renegades have one of the strongest bowling line ups in the comp. However I'm head set scratching my head looking for blokes that can score runs for them. They are a half a sniff of making the finals however will go missing like Alex Sciascia from a circuit during the back half of the comp"