Stars rule Renegades, eye finals
Cricket Australia might've made one big blunder when it created Melbourne's two Big Bash League franchises eight years ago.
The powerbrokers decided a red team would play under a roof, represent the working class and be called the Renegades.
On the east and playing at the lush MCG would be a flashy green team - the Melbourne Stars.
Well, perhaps it's time they switch venues.
The Stars chalked up their sixth consecutive victory at the Renegades' home ground, cruising to a six-wicket win at Marvel Stadium in front of 38,117 fans.
The Stars took 4/5 in 18 balls during the Renegades' powerplay to power-up their chances of storming into this year's semi-finals.
It was a walk in the park at Marvel when playing at their home ground has long resembled a gloomy forest, with the Stars winning just four out of their past 15 matches (26.7 per cent) at the MCG.
Conversely, the Renegades are 2-1 at the G in the past three seasons yet they have won just five out of their past 22 matches (22.7 per cent) at Marvel Stadium.
With the BBL ladder as congested as a forward AFL stoppage, the Stars jumped from bottom to fifth.
The 4-5 Stars are suddenly within one win of the second-placed Renegades (5-5) and with a game in hand.
The Gades dragged the run chase into the final over but after Marcus Stoinis and Dwayne Bravo thumped 16 off Dan Christian in the penultimate over it was academic.
A STAR-NIS IS BORN
MARCUS Stoinis opened the batting and the bowling. He picked up 3/19 and then crunched a matchwinning 70 not-out (65) as no other Star reached 20 runs. This after crunching an unbeaten 78 (49) and taking 2/26 against the Renegades at the MCG on January 1.
Gades coach Andrew McDonald must reach for the Panadol when he is preparing plans for face Stoinis. That's five Stoinis wickets at an average of nine runs and 148 runs - without an average, having not been dismissed - at a strike-rate of 129.8 in this summer's two Melbourne derbies. Talk about a key player, meanwhile teammate Evan Gulbis wasn't required to bat or bowl.
MOHAMMAD NABI SLAM-DUNKS BUNNY BEN
BEN Dunk is the exception to that venue quirk with the Melbourne Stars opener falling for two golden ducks at Marvel Stadium. And both the first-ball dismissals have been at the hands of Afghanistan star Mohammad Nabi.
Last year Dunk was hit on the knee roll in a close lbw decision and Dunk was a slower off-break beat the outside edge and hit the top of off stump. That's 2/0 (two balls) from Nabi to Dunk at Marvel Stadium. No prizes for guessing what Aaron Finch's match-up will be next year.
IT was Bravo by name and bravo by nature as West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo pulled down one of the catches of the summer.
With Finch (two sixes) and Marcus Harris (three fours) racing to 0/30 off just 16 balls, Harris lofted over mid-on targeting another boundary. But Bravo flew and his right hand gloved a clean take, sparking a Renegades relapse with yet another collapse.
Nic Maddinson sprinted to take another pearler to remove Finch and then Cameron White and Sam Harper were bowled playing poor cross-bat shots, with White's pull shot against a slower ball particularly ugly.
Would you believe 0/30 (16 balls) became 3/30 and then 4/35 (54 balls). The red team's total of 121 was their second-lowest when batting first in BBL history.
EVERY batsmen in the world knows you don't take on Glenn Maxwell's arm. Well, now Maxwell knows you don't take on Kane Richardson's arm. The Renegade's flat and rocket-like throw to Cameron Boyce at the bowler's end caught Maxwell a long way short, leaving the Stars 3/35. Richardson said pre-game that Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis were the prized wickets. Well, he picked up Maxwell but Stoinis once again proved the derby difference.
BIRD IS THE WORD
JACKSON Bird was the last player the Stars signed on their primary roster and that contract was vindicated. The veteran quick conceded 12 runs in the first over and then responded with a double-wicket maiden.
Bird had Finch caught in the deep and then castled ex-Star Harper to bring up his 27th career powerplay wicket. That ranks No.2 in BBL history, behind Jason Behrendorff (33). Bird's best T20 figures of 4/31 also came against the Renegades at Marvel Stadium back in the BBL03 Melbourne derby.