Adelaide Strikers v Melbourne Renegades 9/171 (20 Overs)
Renegades Waste A Good Start
The Renegades squandered a fast start with a sloppy middle order batting display against the Strikers at the Adelaide Oval. It was an excellent fightback from the Strikers' bowlers, after conceding over 100 from the opening 11 overs. The Renegades' batting has been getting better in patches as BBL6 progresses, however they really made a mess of the final 7 overs here when a score of 200 looked possible. The Renegades have been finding different batsmen to stand up of late, with the likes of Tom Cooper and Callum Ferguson finding form. Tonight it was opener Marcus Harris' turn, as he blazed 85 from 53 balls. However, the Renegades will know the job is far from done after their embarrassing capitulation to the Hurricanes, after racking up a huge 4/222, just four nights ago. You would expect they would have learnt a fair bit from that result and will come out with some better execution and strategy. The Renegades' quicks have really gone around the park in the past two games, so it will be fascinating to see how the likes of the recalled Nathan Rimmington, James Pattinson and Thisara Perera respond. The Renegades need a victory, and a big one, to stay alive in the race for a final's spot.
Harris Takes His Chance
Marcus Harris has had a mixed BBL6 campaign to date, however he finally went on from one of his starts tonight. Harris has already been dropped from the team once in favour of a whacky option to open with Sunil Narine, however he proved the folly of those tactics tonight with a sparkling innings. Coming into this game, Harris had 125 runs at an average of 25, and a moderate strike rate of 119. However, he solidified his position as the Renegades' opening batsman with a fantastic innings against the Strikers. Harris, built low to the ground, is a diminutive batsman with his punchy drives, leg side swats and cuts. He keeps things pretty simple, often clearing his front leg to give himself some room, and opening up the shoulders. Harris hasn't quite made the most of his 47 First Class matches for Western Australia and Victoria, averaging just 31. However, he has been in good form this summer opening the batting. At 24 years of age he has time to turn things around.
Strikers' Tactics Dumbfounding Up Front
You can say it's easy to say in hindsight - however I am not a fan of bowling first when you're a side struggling down the bottom of the table. Why hand the initiative to a strong batting line-up like the Renegades? I was also left baffled by the Strikers' tactics of starting with their inexperienced bowlers in the Power Play. The Renegades' best player is Aaron Finch, so surely you want your best bowlers having a crack at him early. The Strikers' best bowlers are clearly Ben Laughlin and Ish Sodhi and, to limit the Renegades, they need to either get Finch out early, or contain him as best they possibly can. So I was scratching my head to see Michael Neser, Liam O'Connor and Wes Agar combine to bowl the opening four overs. The result was 0/49 and a flying start for the Renegades, with the Strikers chasing their own tail. When Ben Laughlin was introduced in the 5th over, he bowled an outstanding over, conceding only 2 runs. However the bird had flown in many respects.
Strikers Need an Injection of Quality in the Off Season
I'm officially writing off the Strikers in BBL6. Even if they win this game, I don't think they can sneak into the finals. They look the weakest side in the competition at the moment, and I think they are destined to finish with the wooden spoon. After a couple of Top 4 finishes in the past two seasons, the Strikers have fallen off the perch this season. With Travis Head not firing, and now being unavailable, and Kieron Pollard far from his best, their roster looks a bit paper thin to me. The Thunder looked by far the weakest side through the first half off BBL6, but the return to form of Shane Watson, and the injection of some real overseas quality in James Vince and Carlos Brathwaite, have completely turned their fortunes around. The Strikers made a speculative signing in Chris Jordan and, whilst he was improving as the BBL progressed, I don't think you can classify his impact as genuine. Adelaide are also far too reliant on an ageing Brad Hodge, and I think next season they need to target a genuine top order overseas player that can bat in their Top 3.
Fuming Lurker Starting To Spit Chips
The Lurker was left none to pleased with Mark "Junior" Waugh continuing to waffle on about Sunil Narine comparing him to Brian Lara. "Junior is on the gear. The only similarity between the great BC and Narine is they have an asshole. If that battler Perera gets a trundle tonight I'll be hiding under the sheets. I wouldn't bowl him in 4th Grade". The Lurker was left spitting chips and a fuming mess after the Renegades snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Hurricanes. Can the Strikers send him to the depths of despair once more by chasing down 172 for victory?