10:02 PM ET
January 10: Melbourne Renegades v Merlbourne Stars at Melbourne
Sam Harper (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Nick Larkin, Dan Christian, Beau Webster, Cameron Boyce, Haris Rauf, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sandeep Lamichhane
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates
Captain: Haris Rauf
Rauf has been the hottest property this Big Bash season. So far, he has picked up 13 wickets at an incredible average of 7.23 and an economy rate of 5.87 – all extraordinary T20 numbers for any bowler. It is hard to believe Rauf was playing grade cricket in Hobart just a few weeks ago, and roped in only as cover for the great Dale Steyn. Arguably the find of the tournament so far, Rauf’s pace and form are good enough for you to shed the ‘pick batsmen or allrounders as captain’ policy, despite the law of averages looming large.
Vice-captain: Shaun Marsh
A single-digit score last game aside, Marsh is a safe pick at the Docklands Stadium, where he averaged 182 coming into this season. In the absence of Aaron Finch, who will be leading the national side in India this week, Marsh is by far Renegades’ most experienced batsman, and a lot will depend on him if they are to turn around their winless campaign. Marsh’s scoring rate isn’t the quickest, but he offers insurance as one of the few Renegades batsmen who can handle pace, fingerspin and wristspin equally well.
Maxwell is among the big names missing from Australia’s squad touring India, and will look to continue a fabulous BBL season. He averages 57 with the bat and has an acceptable economy of 6.92 with the ball. His average of 71.5 in chases this season explains why that could be a decision well worth considering. So wait for the toss and then pick your captain, Maxwell won’t be a bad choice too.
Stoinis racked up a number of Player of the Match awards last season, most notably twice in the league phase against cross-town rivals Renegades, in this very fixture. He is Stars’ leading run-getter of the season at this point with 331 runs at a strike rate of 121, and has been playing as a specialist batsman. Stoinis’ consistency with the bat makes him a solid fantasy pick despite not bowling a single ball this season.
Renegades’ wicketkeeper-batsman is finally starting to show shades of consistency, which is a lethal combination to go with his boundary-striking capabilities. He’s coming off his highest T20 score of 73 in their last game, and in Finch’s absence, could move up the order to open the batting.
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A surprise name at the top of Renegades’ runs charts, Webster has been whacking them to all parts this season. His 236 runs have come at a strike rate of 142.16. His vulnerability against wristspin might prove a problem, but Stars are without Adam Zampa, who is also away in India. All things considered, a shoo-in to your XI on current form.
He hasn’t had a great time away from home this season, but is always a handy option to have at the Docklands Stadium, where he has been their go-to option after the Powerplay. Boyce has 10 wickets from his last five home games at an economy rate of 6.73.
Points to note
A number of big stars are missing from this fixture – Finch, Kane Richardson, Zampa, Peter Handscomb to name four, as they are on the plane to India for the ODI series. Keep that in mind while picking your XI
The Docklands stadium hasn’t been the highest scoring of grounds, thanks in part to a slowish outfield. Expect a lower par score, in the 140-155 range, and pack your XI with bowling and all-round options
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