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January 15, 2020
Sydney Thunder v Melbourne Renegades
Venue: Manuka Oval | Start: 6:10pm (AEDT)
Sydney Thunder – The Thunder snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday night to get their season back on track. It’s been a rollercoaster start to BBL09 for Shane Bond’s side; a rollicking start, followed by a flat period, and now back to winning ways. Bond said this week he was proud of the way they’ve rode the challenges this season, including having game called off they were on the verge of winning (in Canberra against the Strikers), in addition to Chris Green’s ban. “We had three losses in a row and some tough stuff happening with Chris, and then to bounce back and put in a tough run chase is a hell of a good performance,” he said. “I’m really pleased. We’ve had a number of close finishes, and when you start winning ones like that, then it’s good for the team.”
That chase, set up by a match-winning partnership of 96 by openers Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja, again personified the Thunder’s strength. In Hales and Khawaja, plus Callum Ferguson and Alex Ross at three and four, they possess perhaps the best top-four in the BBL. The four will be licking their lips to feast on a hapless Renegades bowling attack.
Gurinder Sandhu returns to the Thunder match day squad for his first taste of BBL09 (if selected), replacing experienced quick Chris Tremain. Nathan McAndrew and Jay Lenton also come into the 13-man squad, for Matt Gilkes and Liam Hatcher.
Melbourne Renegades – The season went from bad to worse for the Renegades on Sunday afternoon. Already sitting at 0-8 in a hapless BBL09 to date, Michael Klinger’s side were hammered by 63 runs by the Strikers at Adelaide Oval, skittled for just 110 in their pursuit of 173. It’s hard to know where the Gades’ first win of BBL09 is coming from, the team seemingly depleted of confidence in all aspects of their game. To put their form with the ball in perspective, no Renegades bowler (aside from Kane Richardson, currently in India with the Australian team) has averaged more than one wicket a game. It’s been dire returns.
While it’s been a torrid season for the Gades, there’s been two hugely positive stories in the form of Shaun Marsh and Beau Webster. Marsh’s quality was well known before the season, coming in as the 10th highest run scorer in BBL history. And in nine games (with 319 runs and third on the BBL09 runscorer tally), he’s already moved into fourth. Webster, however, was much less known. After a few seasons at the Hurricanes, the big-hitting all-rounder made the move to Melbourne and it’s paid off in spades. With 310 runs at a more-than-healthy 62.00, he sits just behind Marsh in fifth on this season’s run tally. And if the Gades are any hope of breaking their season duck, those two will have to perform.
They make just one change to their match day squad, seamer Andrew Fekete coming in for all-rounder Nathan McSweeney.
Betting Analysis – On paper the Thunder have far too much class for the Gades and should take the points in Canberra. Should one of the aforementioned top four score 60-plus for Bond’s side, plus their well-balanced bowling unit execute their plans, the result should only go one way. For the Thunder, look for skipper Callum Ferguson to return to top form at Manuka and top the individual markets. With the ball, it’s hard to go past the man currently donning the golden cap – Daniel Sams (17 wickets in BBL09). For the Gades, Marsh should again benefit from extra time at the crease opening the batting, while with the ball it’s a real toss of the coin; look for the experienced Cam Boyce to take a few poles.
Head to Head: Sydney Thunder
Top Runs Scorer – Sydney Thunder: Callum Ferguson
Most Wickets – Sydney Thunder: Daniel Sams
Top Runs Scorer – Melbourne Renegades: Shaun Marsh
Most Wickets – Melbourne Renegades: Cameron Boyce