It was a good day at the office for the cricket teams having Melbourne in their names. Stars continued their good start in the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21 edition, notching-up their second win in as many days, while Renegades will be delighted to get points on the board in the first game itself, as it took 10 games to do so in the last season.
Batting first, Marcus Stoinis set the tone for the men in green. After getting dismissed on the second ball of the first game, Stoinis looked in ominous touch against the Sydney Thunder on Sunday.
Even though, Stars lost Andre Fletcher early, partnership between Stoinis and skipper Glenn Maxwell provided them a much needed platform to launch from. Stars were bossing the game till the 11th over in which they lost Stoinis at the score of 97, but it all went downhill from there for them. Stoinis ended with 61 (37).
Maxwell, Hilton Cartwright went soon after and Stars couldn’t find anyone to stick and score quickly. After which Thunder bowlers staged a magnificient comeback to restrict the Stars to 169-8.
Thunder started on a more sedate note but were unlucky with the dismissal of Usman Khawaja, who didn’t edge the ball but was given caught-behind out.
Alex Hales and Callum Ferguson rebuilt the innings with a 69-run partnership, but both were dismissed in quick succession. Khawaja’s wicket-taker Dilbar Hussain had to leave the field with a hamstring cramp, but Maxwell managed his bowlers pretty well.
Ferguson completed his 6th BBL half-century in just 33 balls but fell soon after and it gave the opportunity for Stars to come back into the game.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa bowled an exceptional spell to restrict the run-flow. He gave away just 7 runs in his first three overs and didn’t give any loose delivery to Thunder batsmen to evn drive through the line. He finished with figures of 2/10 in his four overs and was awarded with Player of the Match award.
Debutant Liam Hatcher bowled well to take two wickets and keeping calm under pressure, especially when he was bowling during the Power Surge.
In the end, the mountain of 170 felt too steep as none of the other batsmen could add anything of value.
Renegades on the other hand, came on to the park with some new faces along with the some known ones. Left-arm pacer Josh Lalor, playing for his fifth franchise in the BBL had an immediate impact as he dismissed Colin Munro for a duck.
Kane Richardson from the other end, didn’t stay away from the wickets column for long as he accounted for the other opener, Josh Inglis.
Lalor continued on his merry run as he sent back another Scorchers batsmen Joe Clarke for just 10 as the men in orange were in deep trouble at 19/3.
Mitchell Marsh and skipper Ashton Turner managed to stitch a crucial 39-run partnership but a misunderstanding led to Turner being run-out.
Another new face for the Renegades, leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou after going for 12 runs came back nicely to send Cameron Bancroft and Marsh back. His fast googlies accounted for both of them as they were trapped in front of the wicket.
A gritty 36-ball 33 from Aaron Hardie helped the Scorchers to a respectable score of 130 after they were in a precarious position of 90-7 at one point.
Chasing 131, Renegades batsmen although were troubled by the initial swing of Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson, continued to play shots whenever they got an opportunity.
Finch played well for his 35 off 28 but Shaun Marsh was the star as he played a well-paced innings of 62 off 47 to get his side within the touching distance, after which it was just a formality.
Marsh hit seven fours and a six in his innings.
Renegades will now face the defending champions, Sydney Sixers, on Sunday at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.