BBL Final Ultimate Guide: Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars, Stars win bat flip and elect to bat first
Whatever happens in today, the eighth edition of Big Bash League will see a first-time champion being crowned as the Melbourne Renegades host cross-town rivals the Melbourne Stars in the big dance (2:45pm EDT).
Stars captain Glenn Maxwell won the bat flip and has elected to bowl, with Melbourne’s green team making one change with seam bowler Jackson Bird replacing Evan Gulbis.
The Renegades are unchanged, with captain Aaron Finch declaring his side would’ve batted first, should they have won the toss.
Melbourne Renegades: Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch (c), Sam Harper (wk), Cameron White, Mackenzie Harvey, Tom Cooper, Dan Christian, Cameron Boyce, Kane Richardson, Chris Tremain, Harry Gurney
Melbourne Stars: Ben Dunk, Marcus Stoinis, Peter Handscomb (wk), Glenn Maxwell (c), Nic Maddinson, Dwayne Bravo, Seb Gotch, Jackson Bird, Adam Zampa, Daniel Worrall, Sandeep Lamichhane
BBL grand final at Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars
HOW THEY GOT THERE
The Melbourne Renegades qualified for their first ever BBL final when they toppled the Sixers in a final-over thriller on Friday, and in doing so ensured a Victorian side will take out the tournament for the first time ever.
Convincing winners in their opening two encounters, the Renegades were just as comfortably defeated in their next three to raise a serious red-flag over their tournament hopes. They spent the rest of their regular season alternating between those two poles with their tightest victory and closest loss both only being by four deliveries.
Aaron Finch’s outfit found consistent form in the second half of the season, winning three of their last four matches to pip the Sixers to a home-semi-final, which they won by three wickets and three balls.
It’s been the most topsy-turvy of seasons for the Melbourne Stars, who have twice strung together three-match winning streaks but also suffered seven losses from 14 games in the regular season.
Now, the Glenn Maxwell led side finds itself in the decider chasing its first ever BBL title.
Wooden-spooners last summer, the Stars looked set to endure another rough season when they sunk to defeats against the Thunder and Hurricanes at the start of the tournament, only to rally back with convincing wins over the Sixers, the Renegades and Thunder.
A three-match losing streak left the Stars firmly in trouble again, only for another three-game winning run to leave the side needing just one win from their final three encounters to make the final. They left it to the last possible moment, beating the Sixers to pip the Brisbane Heat to fourth place and book a spot in the semi-finals against the Hurricanes.
On Thursday they beat table toppers the Hobart Hurricanes to make Sunday’s final. That was their second win in a row, and this season’s history suggests that when the Stephen Fleming coached outfit wins one match they go on to win three in a row.
WHY THEY’LL WIN
If there were any question marks over the Renegades, it was whether they could hold their nerve in a tight match. They did just that against the Sixers.
The Stars have the wood on the Renegades, comfortably winning both their regular season encounters.
Marcus Stoinis (Stars)
By any measure it has been a remarkable season for Stoinis, who sits third on BBL 08’s run-scoring charts (494 at 54.88) and 13th for wickets taken (14 at 14.78). The big-hitting all-rounder has plundered runs at a strike rate of 133.51 this season, and passed 40 in five of his seven innings since returning from Australia duty. Worryingly for the Stars, his two scores below 40 both came in his past two innings.
Kane Richardson (Renegades)
The season’s top wicket-taker (24 at 16.58), Richardson has been at the heart of the Renegades’ march to their first ever final. It’s been a lean year for the Renegades’ batters, with no player passing 300 runs for the tournament, leaving the bowlers to carry much of the load. They have done so with aplomb, with Richardson leading the way. The quick has been below his best the past two games, and the Renegades will be desperate for him to shake that off.
Aaron Finch (Captain), Cameron Boyce, Dan Christian, Tom Cooper, Harry Gurney, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Cameron White, Kane RIchardson, Chris Tremain, Jack Wildermuth
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