T20 Big Bash League - KFC

Renegades look to rebound v Strikers - Preview

1/1/2013 16:09 PM

By Niall Seewang 

RENEGADES captain Aaron Finch believes his team can rebound strongly from its first loss of the season and quickly regain its winning feeling when it hosts the Adelaide Strikers at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night. 

Finch, the leading run scorer in the BBL|02, said he had complete confidence in his squad to promptly recover from its first stumble after a previously flawless campaign. 

That stumble was a 51-run defeat to the Perth Scorchers at the WACA on Saturday night. 

The loss ended a run of four straight wins, and cost the Renegades top spot on the competition table. 

Despite the setback, Finch said the Renegades would enter Wednesday's second-versus-third showdown in a confident frame of mind. 

"We're three (wins) from three (games) this year at Etihad, we play the conditions really well, we've got a lot of options which is really good, and is something you need at Etihad," he told melbournerenegades.com.au. 

"We'll go into the game really confident. 

"They (the Strikers) are coming off a disappointing loss (to the Stars on December 27) as well, so the team that bounces back quickest (should win the game)." 

Finch said he respected the talent in the Strikers' line-up – especially its top-order and slow bowling attack - but added the men in red were capable of countering their opponents. 

"They've obviously got some firepower with (Kieron) Pollard - and (Tim) Ludeman's been playing OK at the top of the order - but I think we can match them there and take the points and get to five wins," he said. 

"They've got (Johan) Botha, an off-spinner, (Cameron) Boyce, a leg-spinner and 'old' (Brad) Young who's a left-arm orthodox, so they've got three totally different players and we have to be adaptable.  

"But I think we've got players who are highly skilled and who can adapt to that, so I'm really confident." 

One key weapon in the Renegades' arsenal who is quickly growing in confidence is batsman Ben Rohrer. 

The left-hander was a shining light against the Scorchers, belting his first BBL half-century (top-scoring with 52 off 33 balls) in an awesome display of clean hitting.  

Such has been his outstanding impact that Rohrer has scored the sixth most runs (161) so far this tournament. 

"He's been great, he's played some really important innings for us so far … he's been a good player for a long time and he's really brought some stability to our middle order," Finch said of Rohrer. 

With Finch, Rohrer and Marlon Samuels in the red corner, and Ludeman, Pollard and Nathan Reardon (who are all in the top five six hitters in the BBL|02) in the blue corner, a high-scoring slugfest could be on the cards on Wednesday night. 

And in a further boost to the Renegades, their star off-spinner, Muthiah Muralidaran, appears set to take on Adelaide despite suffering a minor groin niggle during the defeat to Perth.  

He has been named in an unchanged 13-man squad set to tackle the Strikers. 

Adelaide, meanwhile, has made one change to its 13-man squad, with left-arm paceman Gary Putland, who was rested for two games, returning at the expense of all-rounder Matt Johnston. 

As well as being able to witness two of the best teams in the competition going toe-to-toe, fans will also be able to watch the Renegades' riders, who will repeat their spectacular performance at the season-opening derby against the Stars. 

The riders, including X Games gold medalist Cam Sinclair, will perform a death defying explosive Pyro Backflip Train.  

Gates open at Etihad Stadium at 5.30pm, with the match to start at 7pm.


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