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Stars Set to Battle Renegades in All-Melbourne BBL Final

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 16, 2019, 4:47 PM IST
Stars Set to Battle Renegades in All-Melbourne BBL Final

Glenn Maxwell (L) with Aaron Finch (R) ahead of the BBL Final. (Credit: Twitter)

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The Melbourne Renegades will take on local rivals Melbourne Stars in the final of the Big Bash League (BBL) on Sunday, with a lot more at stake than just local bragging rights.

Neither of the two Melbourne sides that will face off in the BBL | 08 final at the Marvel Stadium have ever gone the distance in the tournament, meaning whoever wins the final will have claimed their maiden title at the expense of the local rival.

The Renegades knocked over the Sydney Sixers in the second semi-final on Friday thanks in no small part to a cameo knock from Dan Christian, whereas the Stars beat the Hobart Hurricanes in the first semi-final.

The league stage saw the Renegades fare better as they recorded 8 wins to finish second in the standings; the Stars won 7 and just edged Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder to the fourth place.

However, going into the summit clash it is the Stars who have historically fared better against their local rivals.

Numbers Game

In 15 previous encounters, the Renegades have emerged victorious just four times. A local derby it may be but as far as results go, the match has generally been a one-sided affair.

It gets worse for the Renegades when you factor in that the match will take place not at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) but the Marvel Stadium.

Here the Renegades have only won one out of a total of seven encounters against the Stars and have lost the previous six matches on the trot.

Renegades have also been the lesser successful side in Melbourne, reaching the semi-finals of the tournament only twice before this season.

By contrast, the Stars made the semis six consecutive times from 2011/12 to 2016/17 and even reached the final in the 2015/16 season, losing to the Sydney Thunder.

They finished bottom of the standings in the previous season but have rebounded well from that setback this year.

Their historical record at the Marvel Stadium isn’t the best but Renegades skipper Aaron Finch believes that is down merely to poor execution of their plans and doesn’t see it as the Stars having a mental edge.

"I don't think we've played at our best when we've played against here against the Stars in the past, particularly the last couple of games," said Finch ahead of the game.

"It's quite strange because the dimensions are almost the exact opposite here to what they are at the MCG.

"Some days you're slightly off and they've got a very good side, they've got a side that has got match-winners all throughout their side – as we feel we do.

"I don't think it's anything mental, it's just a little bit of execution on the day."

Even Battle

One of the reasons the Stars have been successful this season is their ability to change their playing XI as and when needed, something skipper Glenn Maxwell pointed out in the pre-match press conference.

"We'll sit down, me and Flem (coach Stephen Fleming) tomorrow and discuss what our options are going forward into the final.

"As we've shown, we're not afraid to make changes even if we win and make sure we have the right team to match up with the opposition.

"Yeah it'd be nice to have the same team the whole way through but to have the match-ups and the right options for the opposition."

The final will be played on the same pitch which was used for the semi-final, which may see spinners come into play but the pitch is generally one that favours batsmen.

And given the number of hard-hitters present on both sides, there is every chance the final could be a high-scoring one.

Squads

Melbourne Renegades: Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Harry Gurney, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Cameron White, Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth

Melbourne Stars: Glenn Maxwell (c), Jackson Bird, Dwayne Bravo, Jackson Coleman, Ben Dunk, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, Sandeep Lamichhane, Nic Maddinson, Marcus Stoinis, Dan Worrall, Adam Zampa
First Published: February 16, 2019, 12:48 PM IST
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