After finishing at the bottom of the table during the ninth edition of the Big Bash League (BBL), Melbourne Renegades would have looked forward to an improved showing this season. After all, they couldn’t possibly do worse than finishing last with just three wins from 14 matches. And there were encouraging signs when they secured a big victory in their opening match this season. That promise, though, didn’t take long to fade away as they have succumbed to seven consecutive losses since and once again find themselves in the eighth spot.
Meanwhile, Adelaide Strikers have endured mixed fortunes thus far. In eight matches, they’ve won four and lost as many. They will enter this contest full of confidence though, having thrashed the same opposition, the Renegades, by 60 runs on Tuesday (5 January 2021). They enter this game in fourth place and could move up a place or two with a win.
STRIKERS SLOW BUT RENEGADES’ BATTING IN DISARRAY
So, what has been the reason behind the Renegades’ dismal performances this time? Well, the batting is a good place to start with. Despite consisting some distinguished batsmen in their line-up, the BBL 08 champions have been bowled out for totals of 60, 80, 89 and 111 this season.
In the ongoing edition of the BBL, the Renegades have lost a wicket every 16 runs and 12.8 deliveries, which are very poor numbers. In fact, no other team is even close to being as bad as them on those fronts. The team with the second least average runs per wicket at this moment are Brisbane Heat at 22, which is a huge difference. Even when you consider average balls per wicket, no other team is close to the Renegades’ rate.
Unsurprisingly, as a result of losing wickets regularly, their run rate of 7.5 is also the lowest in the competition until now. Speaking of scoring rate, that’s one area where the Strikers have fallen behind the eight ball as well. The team from Adelaide have a run rate of 7.8 this season, which is the second lowest. But unlike the Renegades, their average runs per wicket (23.2) and balls per wickets (18) rates are not bad, so it’s more to do with their approach.
The top four for the Strikers in their last couple of games have been Matt Renshaw, Philip Salt, Alex Carey and Jonathan Wells, and their batting strike rates this season are 111.5, 128.4, 118 and 99.3 respectively. While Salt has been below-par and is usually a batsman who scores quickly, there seems to be a steady approach from the other batsmen at the start of the innings. It remains to be seen if the Strikers continue with this strategy through the tournament.
CONTRASTING BOWLING DISPLAYS
On the bowling front as well, the Renegades have been unsatisfactory – they find themselves at the bottom when it comes to run-rate (9.1), average runs per wicket (30.6) and balls per wicket (20.3). On the other hand, the Strikers have done quite well with the ball. While they have been unhurried with the bat, they have been very economical as a bowling unit – only Perth Scorchers (7.4) have a better economy rate than the Strikers (7.7) this season thus far.
One huge problem for the Renegades has been the lack of fast bowling options. While Kane Richardson has done well, there has been no support from the other end. In fact, Richardson (11) has taken more wickets than all the other Renegades pacers (10) combined. In the last game, they did try to overcome that weakness by bowling 10 overs of spin, but while Imad Wasim was excellent, the strategy didn’t work on the whole.
On the other hand, the Strikers have three bowlers with 12 or more wickets this season already which is an exceptional feat. While Rashid Khan will not be available for the entire tournament, the displays of Wes Agar, Peter Siddle and Danny Briggs have been extremely encouraging from an Adelaide viewpoint. If they keep these performances up, the BBL 07 champions could break into the top two which is pivotal when you consider the tournament’s current format.
Strikers: Philip Salt, Matt Renshaw, Alex Carey (C, WK), Jonathan Wells, Jake Weatherald , Ryan Gibson, Rashid Khan, Danny Briggs, Wes Agar, Peter Siddle, Harry Conway
Renegades: Aaron Finch (C), Mackenzie Harvey, Sam Harper (WK), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mohammad Nabi, Beau Webster, Imad Wasim, Jack Prestwidge, Josh Lalor/Mitchell Perry, Noor Ahmad, Kane Richardson
NOTE - Stats considered in this article are until 6 January 2021