December 21: Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades in Perth
Our XI: Sam Harper, Josh Inglis, Aaron Finch, Ashton Turner, Shaun Marsh, Cameron Bancroft, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Marsh, Chris Jordan, Kane Richardson, Harry Gurney
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates
Captain: Shaun Marsh
The defending champions have added much needed steel in the middle order with Marsh, and a solid 44 in the first game makes him the captain for this game. A safe pick.
Vice-captain: Sam Harper
Harper was one of the main reasons Renegades won the BBL last season. Their best batsmen last season exploded in the first game this time too, with two sixes and four fours in a 19-ball 39. Looking at how the Scorchers bowlers were taken apart by the Sydney Sixers, Harper will be licking his lips.
He took three wickets against Pakistan the last time he played here, and Perth is always good for quicks. Richardson has a lot of T20 experience and the most successful BBL bowler last season should be your first pick among bowlers here.
The Scorchers’ best batsman last season is also their most experienced in T20s. He started the season with a regrettable run-out, but if the top order fails, he will be responsible for getting them the runs.
The new-look Scorchers pace attack needs time to settle down, so we are sticking in another Renegades top-order bat. Finch has been scoring moderately big and quite quick this year, so he’s a must-have.
Young Inglis entered the Scorchers XI at the fag end of last season, but when he did, it was with a bang. And, on evidence, he has been asked to let it rip. The Scorchers top order needs to pick itself up, and with Liam Livingstone not at his best, Inglis must do the heavy lifting.
A Perth track supporting the quicks and an out-of-sorts Scorchers batting order – play Gurney. He got the dangerous Alex Hales and Usman Khawaja in the first game and is fresh off winning the Caribbean Premier League with an economy of 6.16 and a healthy strike rate of 14.3.
Point to note
Both the teams started with losses, but on paper the Renegades look the favourites. Choose your Scorchers players wisely, and picking your captain and vice-captain from the Renegades is a sensible gamble.