The Melbourne Renegades have made the finals of the Big Bash League just once, and were eliminated in the semis. The Perth Scorchers are the dominant force of the competition, with three titles to their name, including the most recent one. What’s more, the Scorchers have never lost to the Renegades in six and bit years of the BBL.
Yet according to Perth coach Justin Langer, it’s the Renegades, not his own side, who are the team to beat this summer.
The two teams, both of which started the season with consecutive victories, are on an early season collision course, set to square off at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
The Renegades will enter the match off a six-day break after beating Brisbane Heat at Docklands last Saturday night, while the Scorchers – despite being ravaged by international call-ups and injuries to gun quicks Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile – beat the Melbourne Stars by 13 runs at the WACA Ground on Tuesday night.
Whether the wily Langer was playing mind games or not is hard to tell, but in any case he said the vast experience of the Renegades, who feature former Scorchers spinner Brad Hogg, meant they deserved to be considered the standout side.
“I think they’re the favourites for the tournament,” Langer said after beating the Stars.
“They’re so well-balanced with their team. They’re such a well-balanced team. [They’ve got] experience, Cameron White is a brilliant leader, [Aaron] Finch is dangerous. [Brad] Hodge. I’d pay money to watch Hodge bat.
“They’ve got a very good team. I think they’re the team to beat.”
Langer said Coulter-Nile and fellow quick Joel Paris were both getting close to being available to play again after injuries.
Opener Michael Klinger made just one against the Stars after returning to the side for his first game since revealing the cancer battle of wife Cindy.
Langer reiterated that the club was supporting the veteran. “It’s great to see him playing cricket,” Langer said. “We’ll just help him through as much as we can.”
Seamer Andrew Tye, who continued his excellent start to the tournament with 5-23, said “it was awesome to have [Klinger] back in the change rooms”.
“What he’s going through is just heartbreaking. If he ever needs anything, and if he ever just wants a hug, we’ll be there for him.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.