The Renegades will be out to lock down 4th place and qualification to the semifinals when they meet the 5th placed Thunder tonight in the nation’s capital. However, that could prove a tricky task with key batsmen Aaron Finch and Cameron White expected to miss the match due to national duty. Still, Melbourne does bat relatively deep and the loss of their key personnel is expected to be offset by news that Usman Khawaja may also miss the match due to thumb bruising. From a head to head perspective, the men in red hold the advantage, winning five of six matches, including a big 49-win when these sides met on December 22. We’re tipping Melbourne here, but the generous odds on the Thunder are very tempting.
Key stat: In all matches between the sides, Melbourne average 139 per innings to Sydney’s 129.
Shane Watson has enjoyed a productive season for the Thunder, scoring 20+ in six of his nine innings. After posting an unbeaten 49 in his last game, the all-rounder is hovering around the $4 mark. Another consideration is former Test player Ed Cowan who will line up in the lime green for the first time this season. The talented bat was in good form for NSW prior to the Big Bash, and given the opportunity, could be the man to anchor the Thunder innings. For the Renegades, Tom Cooper is tremendous value at $5 and goes into the fixture with scores of 24, 19, 57, 34 and 52* across his last five innings.
Key stat: Ed Cowan posted the most runs (969) in the 2016/17 Sheffield Shield season and had an average of 70+.
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