Back Brisbane to win basement battle

Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat
Saturday January 23rd, 05:05 GMT
Live on BT Sport

Renegades waving goodbye in style

Melbourne Renegades victory over the Stars on Wednesday underlined how one big performance can overturn the odds in the shortest form of the game. Chasing a par score of 158, Aaron Finch’s men were plodding at less than five an over after the first eight, despite only losing two wickets at that stage. The designated pinch hitter then took up 18 balls to score just 14 before Mackenzie Harvey blasted 47 from 21 to take the Renegades home in the final over.

That win isn’t enough to save Melbourne Renegades’ season but it’s helped to shorten the gap in the market for Saturday’s match and it shows how unpredictable T20 can be. By giving some of their younger players a chance in the latter stages, Finch’s side have a new energy and are more of a threat in these final group games.

Heat extinguished by Strikers

Brisbane Heat have lost their last two matches and are losing touch with the top five following Thursday’s loss to Adelaide. Chris Lynn’s side have been able to add Marnus Labuschagne to their line up but two identical totals of 115 in those most recent games underline clear concerns for Brisbane backers this weekend.

The luxury of Labuschagne should strengthen the top order and he did return the top score against the Strikers - albeit with just 28. With Jimmy Peirson now coming in at seven, there is batting depth but confidence is clearly low. Those concerns extend to the attack where six of the seven bowlers used against Adelaide went at above nine-an-over.

Mixed memories at the Marvel Stadium

The Renegades return to the scene of Wednesday’s triumph with Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium taking on hosting duties. In contrast, Brisbane Heat will have unhappy memories of this surface having collapsed to 115 against Perth earlier in the week.

This is only the fourth game of BBL 10 to be held here and Perth Scorchers have already made good use of the facilities - posting winning totals of 174 and 179. The Renegades are the only side to have won while chasing as they hunted down Melbourne Stars’ 158. That isn’t a wide pool of stats to use but it does tend to indicate that if the side batting first exceeds 170, it will be a tough chase.

Brisbane Heat lead the way in the result market at odds of 1.855/6 for the win while Melbourne Renegades are behind at 2.0421/20. This is a basement battle between the bottom two sides but eight points separate them and Brisbane remain on the cusp of the playoffs.

Having ignored my own sage advice to never go against your first instinct last time out, I’ll stay with the Heat this time. The dip in form is an obvious concern and the Renegades’ sudden resurgence suggests there may be value in the outsiders. However, with Marnus Labuschagne now involved, Brisbane’s talented batting unit surely can’t be out of touch for too long.

Having just mentioned Marnus Labuschagne and the added strength he brings to Brisbane, it seems logical to follow up and involve him in today’s recommended bet. As second favourite to top score for the Heat at 5/2, there is some value in a market which Chris Lynn heads at 2/1.

The one concern is that the Australian international has only played 11 T20 games in his career and the 28 he made against the Strikers is his highest score. Labuschagne’s overall List A returns are much better and that T20 record deserves to be broken on Saturday.

Other options here include Sam Heazlett at 10/3, Max Bryant at 7/2 and Joe Denly at 9/2.

I’ve been avoiding third tips and this strategy has been working up to now but there are some tempters around for Saturday’s match. Having woken up in the final overs in their win over the Stars, Melbourne Renegades could be a value pick in the most sixes betting at 7/5. Brisbane are favourites at 5/6 with the tie at 11/2.

The Renegades hit five maximums to the Stars’ three last time out and they have the capacity to convert in this market even if they lose the game.

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