With two stacked batting lineups, there is sure to be 360+ runs tonight as the Stars seek their first desperate win against a Renegades side equally desperate to bury their cross-town rivals BBL07 campaign in front of 60,000.
A plethora of all-round options once again makes that position key, while a lack of premium-priced bowling options allows coaches to save some coin in order to load up on the batting which I believe will have the upper hand tonight.
Probably the biggest question is how many wickets will actually fall given the class of both top orders and the extra grit the Stars are likely to display.
Stars: Wright, Dunk, Peiterson, Maxwell, Stonis, Handscomb, Faulkner, Hastings, Zampa, Boland, Beer, (Coleman, Gotch)
Renegades: Finch, Harris, White, Cooper, Hodge, Bravo, Ludeman, Nabi, Wildemuth, Richardson, Hogg, (Tremain, Holland)
Handscomb will come straight in and Boland will return for this must-win clash whilst the Renegades will be unchanged barring injury.
Stars Player Form
Luke Wright: Hates the spinners early (or at any time) which will see Nabi and Cooper both get early overs at him. 26pt average this season hints that teams have figured him and after watching him so far I can’t have him given the class of the slower bowlers the Renegades have. Others Stronger.
Ben Dunk: Averaging 10.7pts yet somehow still 12k on Draftstars, Dunk is further proof that a player seemingly has to retire from the game or actually die in order for their price to drop significantly (Ludeman is 4k cheaper and averaging 5pts more). The only keeping option that will bat up the order which is rare so exposure wise Dunk appeals strongly. Absolutely due and will be looked on to attack Nabi/Cooper given the troubles Wright is having. Worth the risk tonight.
Kevin Pietersen: Ego got the best of him last game after the commentators talked him into trying to hit the spinner down the ground. Lost his peg at a crucial time too (again). I expect him to deliver nothing more than a big innings tonight. Loves the big stage and is due to deliver. Expect that 30pt two-game average to jump significantly after tonight. Big Chance!
Glen Maxwell: Bottom-lipped and miss-hit his way to a 68pt half century last start to boost that 3-game average to 40. Shifted to the batsman column (finally!) thanks to the fact he has not looked at all like getting a bowl all comp. With five front-line bowlers and Stoinis, Maxwell remains very long odds to bowl tonight. Love this guy but something (everything) about his knock against Brisbane is telling me to stay away tonight. Respect this class.
Marcus Stoinis: Poor game awareness/lack of speed cost him his wicket last start but his 3-game average is still over 100 thanks to that first-up 258pt effort in Brisbane. If you are fading Maxwell, Stoinis should be strongly considered. Should get 1-2 overs. This game looms as a real chance for Stoinis to announce himself. Price is still prohibitive but I'm paying it tonight. Danger. Go Close!
Peter Handscomb: Tough to gauge where he comes in here. I expect he will float anywhere from #4 to #7 depending on game situation. Is the WK option to take if you are expecting the Stars to lose early wickets. Can see he and Pietersen batting decent time together if the openers go cheaply. Underestimated T20 player who has all the shots. Looms as a threat.
James Faulkner: Two overs last start against the rampaging Bash Brothers. Very strange how he has been bowled this comp so far. Expect he gets his 2 overs in the power play then saved for the death, will be crucial with the ball tonight but batting #7 is unlikely to feature as prominently with the willow. Loves the G, expect a 50+ from bowling stats here. Goes well this track.
John Hastings: Has done almost nothing well and/or right so far and has cost his side both games against the Heat through poor captaincy and/or a dropped catch. Having said that he has been shifted from AR to bowler tonight (imagine, a bowler batting at #8 in the bowler section? How strange!) and at his price you can start to mount a case for inclusion. Include in Multiples.
Adam Zampa: Tantalizingly priced for a player that loves the MCG but his 3-game 20pt average thus far is screaming ‘out of form’. If the Stars bat first Zampa becomes much more appealing as I expect the Renegades will look to get after him which can lead to wickets. Another big-stage player who needs a big game. Out of form but appeals on price.
Scott Boland: Speaking of value, Boland can be big tonight at a great price. Averaging just 23pts from his two games and dropped last start, look for a much-improved effort here. Straight in my side tonight. Take on Trust.
Michael Beer: Lynn/McCullum showed what happens to Beer when the batsman win the first over – a horrible 5pt return. Finch and Harris will look to be equally aggressive tonight. Averaging 68pts two starts prior. If Stars bowl first Beer appeals much more. Worth Considering.
Renegades Player Form
Aaron Finch: Has been rocks or slightly less-sh*t rocks for Finch up until his last start 84pt effort against Sydney. Always a danger especially in these big games; players playing multiple lineups should definitely have some coverage but there looks more value down the batting list for mine tonight. Expect a miss-hit off Faulkner sees him out early. Not keen this game.
Marcus Harris: Averaging 32pts and fast becoming the Peirson of the Renegades side throwing his wicket away unnecessarily trying to be the uber-aggressor. Just needs to play sensible cricket, if he does that there is a big score here. Should be low 20% ownership at best tonight too. POD appeal.
Cameron White: 68pt season average from his 4 starts. Is in excellent form. One miss-hit that spooned to 45 against the Scorchers is the only real blemish. Goes straight in for mine, any power hitter whose default is to knock them around early on is worth his weight in fantasy gold. Hard to hold out.
Top Cooper: Old smelly pooper wasn’t needed with bat or ball against the Sixers which brought his average down to 49 for the season. Will bat #4 and very likely to bowl an over but until Draftstars realise the difference between a batsman who is thrown the ball for a junk over, and an all-rounder, Cooper will continue to be POD status. Drawn a bad barrier.
Brad Hodge: For someone of Hodgey’s class that price tag is amazing. I am really struggling to leave him out tonight. If you think Faulkner and Beer will make inroads, then this man is your ready-made cheap option in the batting section who will deliver points tonight. Respect his class.
Dwayne Bravo: I’m fading Bravo tonight. I know, I know, the freak averages over 100pts this tournament. But AJ Tye showed us last night (and Laughlin the night before) that even the best death bowlers can get smacked at times and just this game situation with the Stars needing to win I just can’t see Bravo dominating like he usually does. They will respect him, and it will cost him points. In-form runner.
Tim Ludeman: Priced very appealingly for players taking two gun all-rounders and/or Finchy. Will be popular tonight despite averaging just 15pts and scoring just 1 run so far in four games. If he gets the chance (if the Renegades completely collapse) he can hit it to all-parts. Consider.
Mohammad Nabi: Has good economy written all over him early and looms as the likely first wicket taker for the Renegades against Wright and an out-of-form Dunk. Averaging 55pts and that’s what coaches can bank on again here. Gun that is well-priced. Consistent performer.
Jack Wildermuth: 56pt average has surprised many but again, if Hastings has been moved to bowler section how hasn’t this guy? Bats the same position and has just 5 runs to his name this comp in four starts from 10 balls faced (3 DNB’s). Switch on DS. Expect will go the journey here against a Stars team brought into focus by desperation. Others stronger.
Kane Richardson: Has failed to take the wickets he did last season with the Strikers but a maiden first over last start saw him to 62pts (wicketless). Priced too high for mine tonight but again has the class and should be close to POD range. Take on trust.
Brad Hogg: I think he will go the distance tonight and I’m still picking him. There is nothing better in fantasy Big Bash than being on Hoggy when he is appealing. I expect a 40pt return tonight (wicket, few dots and a small economy bonus) but if the Stars aren’t on Hoggy is always a chance to cash in on that three wicket bonus. Looms as a threat.