The Renegades secured an extremely rare victory over their cross-city rivals the Stars.
They’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of losses to Glenn Maxwell’s side over the years but were extremely fortunate to play a side missing seven or eight first-choice players.
Still, give credit where it’s due. It’s one thing knowing your opponents are depleted, it’s another going out and being ruthless about it.
Yes, the Stars’ batting line-up was almost unrecognisable from the one that normally turns out but you still have to go out there, bowl well, take your catches and do the basics right.
They restricted the Stars to just 126, which they chased with ease.
Kane Richardson took 3-24 and walked away with the man of the match award but you have to wonder why it didn’t go to Nic Maddinson. The skipper took 3-20 and that included dismissing all of the Top 3 in the Stars’ batting order.
Maddinson has been a revelation with the ball. Very much a part-timer bowling left-arm spin, he’s taken five wickets in just nine overs this BBL, at a remarkable strike rate of 10.8.
It’s a big bonus that he’s chipping in with wickets and if he can start scoring some runs, he will have justified the Renegades’ decision to bring him in from the Stars to lead the side.
The win allowed them to move off the bottom spot but there’s still a lot of work to do if they’re to make the Playoffs.
English fast bowler Reece Topley has played his last game for the Renegades and will now return to the UK in preparation for a tour of the West Indies.
Topley had a decent if unspectacular stint, taking nine wickets in eight games, saving his best performance for last. He took 3/27 against the Stars but was a bit expensive in his eight games, going at 8.38 for the season.
As is the case with the other English players leaving early, the Renegades are unlikely to replace him at short notice.
Fellow fast bowler James Pattinson missed out last time after testing positive but should be back to take Topley’s place.
Player to Watch: Aaron Finch
Whatever happens from hereon, Aaron Finch was the man who captained Australia to their first-ever T20 World Cup.
But he’ll want to make an impact in the BBL as well this year. He gave up the captaincy to focus on his batting and missed a couple of matches at the start of the season as he recovered from injury.
He’s been good since coming into the side, scoring 68, 8, 1 and 50 in his four knocks.
It’s worth remembering that he’s the BBL’s second highest runscorer just behind Chris Lynn, so has had plenty of success in this competition in the past, at least on an individual level.
Now with the impressive Shaun Marsh back in the side, plus Sam Harper and Maddinson, they finally have a decent top order.
The Heat had their match against the Sixers postponed the other day after there were 12 positive cases of Covid among the players.
The two extra days have given the Heat the chance to call up other players not originally in the squad, such as players currently featuring in grade cricket in Brisbane.
But the BBL must go on- whether it’s actually completed in the end or not- so they’ll have to play this one.
They’re currently fifth on 14 points so have a chance of making the Playoffs but let’s see how badly hit they are by Covid over the next two games.
At present, there’s no information about which players tested positive. Heat fans will be hoping that most of them were fringe players rather than their main men because this isn’t the deepest squad in terms of quality.
They’d hate to lose the likes of Lynn, Ben Duckett, Mujeeb, Mark Steketee or James Bazley.
All five of those have been really good so far this season.
Englishman Tom Abell has gone home injured so the Heat have brought in Fakhar Zahman in but for just three games.
Player to Watch: Fakhar Zaman
Zaman was a bit of a late bloomer to international cricket, only making his debut for Pakistan aged 27.
He’s only played three Tests so far but has already racked up 53 ODI appearances and 64 T20Is.
His ODI numbers are excellent but his T20 career hasn’t been quite as good with just seven fifties in 64 games and an average of 22, although his strike rate of 131 is extremely impressive.
Normally an opener, he batted at three for Pakistan at the recent World Cup so it will be interesting to see what position the Heat bat him in.
Heat’s Likely XI
No information at present.
Venue & conditions
This is the first match of the season at Geelong so there’s really not much to go by.
But in those three, the Renegades lost the lot of them so it’s obviously not a happy hunting ground for them.
The forecast isn’t great so it could be a rain-reduced affair.
Renegades vs Heat Head-to-Head
Let’s look at the Renegades vs Heat head-to-head. The Renegades are 10-6 up over the years, which is a bit surprising. But the Heat won the last game between these two played earlier this season, chasing 141.
And they also won the two before that.
Renegades vs Heat Toss Prediction
Time to look at the Renegades vs Heat toss winner statistics. The Heat have had the better of the toss over the years so let’s go with them to win it again.
Time to round things off with some fun facts ahead of the game.
If Chris Lynn plays, this match will feature the two record run scorers in the Big Bash. Lynn has 2944 runs, Finch has 2558. Finch has two BBL centuries, Lynn has one. But Lynn has 24 fifties to Finch’s 20.
Mark Steketee has been superb since being available, taking 10 wickets in just five matches for the Heat.
McKenzie Harvey is the only Renegades player to reach 200 runs for the season.