Melbournes Stars 9/153 (18 Overs) Defeated by Melbourne Renegades 4/171 (20 Overs) @ MCG
Renegades Turn the Tables On Stars
The Renegades got one over their arch rivals with an upset 7-run win over the Stars in front of over 70,000 fans at a wet MCG. The Renegades broke a 5-game losing streak against the Stars, and it was ex-Stars captain Cameron White rubbing salt into the wounds of his old teammates with a match winning 64 from 42 balls. Defending 171, the Renegades took the key wickets of Maxwell and Pietersen and never really let up after that, taking 9 wickets and restricting the Stars to 153 in 18 overs, 7 runs shorts of their rain reduced target. The Renegades have now won two of their opening three games, and their loss was a last ball defeat against the Scorchers. After three straight years outside the finals, this side appears a far better balanced outfit and the best performing bowling outfit in the competition. The Stars drop to 1-1 and now travel to Sydney for a January 4 game against the Thunder at Spotless Stadium. The Renegades also travel up to Sydney, however are not in action until 9 January when they take on the Sixers at the SCG.
Stars Guns Fail To Fire
I applauded the move to open with Glenn Maxwell, however it backfired for the Stars as Tom Cooper clean bowled him in the opening over. Having praised Maxwell for keeping it relatively simple in his 58 against Hobart, he outsmarted himself here, running down the wicket only to york himself and walk off with his tail between his legs. For a player of his talent, he does have the odd brain explosion in him. Kevin Pietersen looked in excellent touch for 15 runs off 7 balls, before completely mistiming one straight to mid off. While Luke Wright, David Hussey and James Faulkner all looked in good enough nick, none of them could quite break the shackles as the Renegades controlled the run chase. With Robert Quiney available again next game, you would expect him to come back and open, pushing Maxwell down to Number 4. You could argue tonight they were a batsman light with Faulkner coming in at 5, however I just think they had an off night and you have to give credit to the Renegades for putting the brakes on a side that came out all guns blazing in Round 1.
Hogg Still Making An Impact at 45
I said at the start of BBL6 that I still thought Brad Hogg was a match winner and he is proving his worth in gold for his new club the Renegades. After three straight seasons outside the finals when the team struggled with the ball, the Renegades attack has taken on a completely different complexion with Hogg in the line up. On a wet night, with heavy rain falling for the majority of the Stars run chase, it was hardly ideal conditions for Hogg. However, under pressure, he delivered once again claiming 3 key wickets. Straight after the rain resumption, he managed to entice David Hussey into a cut shot which was chopped on to the stumps. Hogg was smart in that he bowled quite wide of off stump and not too full and, with the ball skidding on, he forced the Stars into a number of cut shots to the deep square boundary. In doing that he tried to eliminate the danger of being hit down the ground to the shorter straight boundaries and lessen the amount of times batsmen could drive. After cleaning up both Luke Wright and Sam Harper, Hogg was in his element celebrating each wicket just like he did 20 years ago with real relish.
Cameron White Remains One Of The Best
Last night proved that Cameron White remains one of the classiest batsman in the country. White was booed to the crease at the MCG, something he would not have experienced too much in his career at the MCG. Of course, White was the Stars captain for their first four seasons, leading to the semi finals each season, but unable to progress beyond that stage. He was controversially moved on and picked up by the Renegades, and how the Stars could have done with some of White's class and composure under pressure last night. White rebuilt the Renegades innings by running hard in the middle overs in the vast expanses of an MCG field he knows so well. After doing the donkey work, he then accelerated by launching into some of his trademark lofted drives against the quicker men. There has been plenty of pressure on Renegades captain Aaron Finch to produce over the years, however in White he now has a reliable big gun who knows the competition inside out. Having been a captain himself for over a decade, White also adds to the tactical nous of the side in the field in tight run chase situations like last night.
Lurker Lays An Egg
It wasn't a happy start to 2017 for the Lurker. After some amazing form at the back end of 2016 catapulted him to 10 wins from 11, the Stars let the Lurker down, falling to a surprise 7-run loss. Let's hope it's not the start of the Lurker chasing his tail, as he has yet to suffer back-to-back losses in his debut season.