It's a top of the table clash tonight at Etihad, presenting coaches with the toughest contest yet both tactically and price wise.
Both sides are capable of taking early wickets, which brings the middle and lower order into serious selection contention, but with such class at the top coaches are sure to be executing myriad last-minute panic trades tonight. That there's no cheap bowling options further complicate selection and tactics as coaches are forced to invest heavily on bowlers on what is a very batting-friendly pitch.
Renegades: Finch, Harris, White, Cooper, Hodge, Bravo, Ludeman, Nabi, Wildermuth, Richardson, Hogg, (Tremain, Holland)
Scorchers: Klinger, Bosisto, Cartwright, Turner, Voges, Agar, Willey, Inglis, Johnson, Richardson, Tye, (Muirhead, David)
A little bit of pre-game spice been added to this game from the veteran Brad Hodge who insinuated that the Scorchers are using some Melbourne Storm-like creative accounting to retain their list year in year out, so expect everyone to be right on their game here from the first ball.
Scorchers look like they are on the crest of a slump despite winning their first two, the talent they have out will be missed sorely tonight against a side that has gone 2-0 in second gear – expect that the Scorchers bat first either way so make sure you have some middle-lower order batting exposure from the visitors.
If in doubt, take class over hail-Mary’s at Etihad.
Six Good Nuts
Bowler – Mitchell Johnson
The lack of cheap options in this contest makes Johnson really appealing. Tye’s medium mixed bag is never as effective at Etihad and against this Renegades top order I’m putting a premium on speed and class. If you have to pay quality prices, you may as well dish out for quality you can bank on. Johnson will get you 50pts here with his mix of wickets, dots and a splash of economy.
Batsman - Cameron White
Some great value in this contest in the batting department but if you are picking on form (which I am) then the big bear is first man picked. The balls are coming off the bat as well as they ever have so I’m riding the confidence wave for hopefully at least another game of 40+ runs.
All-Rounder – Dwayne Bravo
Normally I take Willey as a default but the combination of the pitch and Bravo’s guaranteed death bowling makes his price worth paying here for mine.
Agar is likely to bat top 6 again and looms as a very good cheaper option if you are scrounging for cash in this section or if you are wanting to play a second all-rounder. He is the Scorchers primary spinner and like Bravo often gets placed in good positions for catching points. Wildermuth showed last game that his pace and accuracy has gone up a few notches and also looms as a legitimate second AR option
Wicket Keeper – Tim Ludeman
Some coaches won’t have the $750 but if you have it, spend it. Back Ludes in with the 7-9 overs of spin to get a stumping or caught behind ahead of Inglis getting a catch from pace. Sure he may not bat but if he does he is incredibly damaging and could easily come in up the order if the occasion calls for it (ie a wicket in the first over). Should be over 80% owned tonight.
POD Pick – Brad Hodge
Batting 5 against the Scorchers bowling is like batting 3 against most other attacks – Hodgey should come in with a job to do and after his comments pre-game the grey fox will be well aware of what not performing means. Should be less than 20% owned and expect he doubles his current average of 25pts here.
Avoid – Andrew Tye
Nothing annoys me more than when overrated players junk up or get lucky off sh*t balls. Sure Tye has skills but he is not a 150pt average player and coaches should think very long and hard before paying a king’s ransom for a player whose slower ball the likes of Hodge and Bravo are good enough to put over the fence at will.