Harper and Richardson can end sad season in style

Melbourne Renegades v Hobart Hurricanes
Tuesday January 26 04:50
TV: live on BT Sport 2

Pluses and minuses of rock bottom campaign

It’s time to reflect on the Renegades’ campaign.

Positives: a rare against the odds win over their rivals the Stars a week ago, the form of wicket-keeper batsman Sam Harper, the discovery of giant leg-spinner Peter Hatzoglou. And that’s about it.

Negatives: Too many to mention but here are a few. Aaron Finch was awful all campaign, averaging 14 and not hitting a fifty in 12 attempts.

Not one of their many overseas players, with the possible exception of Mohammad Nabi, made an impact and improved the team. Most of their bowlers were far too expensive. Most of their batsmen too often got out playing rash shots rather than trying to play themselves in. We could go on.

There’s plenty to think about, not less the decision to release Dan Christian at the start of the campaign. How handy could he have been for them? The result is yet another rock bottom finish.

Wade back just in time

The return of Matthew Wade to the side could well have got them into the playoffs. His 86 against the Sixers (a nice winner for us at 7/2) was crucial in getting the Hurricanes to a big score and they can seriously thank Wade and D’Arcy Short for that start because they were guilty of a bit of a batting collapse.

A win here will see them into those Playoffs but they’ll miss out on a Top 3 finish whatever happens which means there’s a lot of work to do if they do get there.

Hobart Matthew Wade long shot 1280.jpg

But that’s not to think about now, because first they need to win this one. Their batting looks strong at the top but they can’t afford to not kick on in the death overs again.

Match winner fraught with danger

We’re at the MCG for this one where we know that 170 or 175 should be enough to win you the game batting first. As ever, the key will be to keep finding gaps on the huge outfield and run lots of twos and threes. It can’t all be six hitting at this ground because those long boundaries can get you into trouble.

The Hurricanes are 1.75/7 which seems about right. But I’ll stay away from backing a side at that price under the utmost pressure against one that has nothing to lose and will be trying to end the season on a high. I’ll also stay away from backing a side at 2.47/5 with just three wins in 13. So we move onto other markets.

Time to harp on about Harper

Sam Harper has been, as I mentioned, one of the few success stories for the Renegades. He’s the team’s top scorer with 332 and he’s got them at an average of 27. His strike rate isn’t fantastic at 124 but it’s not too bad either and that can partly be explained by the fact he probably feels he can’t be too aggressive with little batting to come all the time.

He’s also in good form with 63, 39 and 57 in his last three games, top scoring in the first and third and only being pipped at the post in the second.

The two men ahead of him in the betting (and in the batting line-up) and their poor form have been two of the reasons why the Renegades are in this position. Sure, Shaun Marsh or Finch could go out and get 80 in this game. But they certainly haven’t being playing like they’re about to so 16/5 on the keeper-batsman looks good to me.

Aaron Finch Melbourne Renegades.jpg

Richardson to be top man with the ball

Kane Richardson has done his bit, taking 15 wickets in 11 games. A far cry from his outrageous effort two seasons ago but when you add an economy rate of eight to the equation, and a strike rate of 16.2, it’s fair to give him 7/10 for his efforts.

He’s been good recently, taking 2/38, 1/40, 1/29 and 2/24 in his last four games. Only Hatzoglou has more wickets than Richardson’s 15 (he has 16) and their strike rate is almost identical. But despite Richardson being the slightly shorter price, I’ll go with him at 11/4 just because of the extra experience and knowledge that comes with Richardson having faced this lot so much in the past.

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