January 27: Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat in Melbourne (Docklands)
Our XI: Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, AB de Villiers, Marnus Labuschagne, Mohammad Nabi, Jimmy Peirson, James Pattinson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mitchell Swepson, Kane Richardson, Beau Webster.
NOTE: AB de Villiers had kept wickets in Brisbane Heat’s last game.
Captain: AB de Villiers
You don’t pick a fantasy league side without de Villiers in it, if he’s available. Similarly, you always make him either captain or vice-captain, especially when he has just smashed 71 off 37 in his last match. And he might keep wickets too. De Villiers might have arrived to the BBL party late – literally and otherwise – but now that he has, ignore him at your own peril.
Vice-captain: Aaron Finch
Fresh off a century in his last match, Finch makes the ideal vice-captain. If you’re feeling a bit daring, you might want to swap captains and vice-captains around too.
Back in the squad after the India ODIs, Richardson has been among the few bright spots in the Renegades’ season. With ten wickets in eight matches and an economy rate under 7, he can be relied on to net you some useful points. He bowls at the death and in the Powerplay, which are high-risk, high-return overs. Richardson’s returns have generally outpaced the risks.
Capable of exploding without warning and changing a game all on his own, Lynn is a must-have in your side. He bats in the top order, so there’s little danger of him not getting enough space to build an innings, and though he has only two fifties so far, his average of 31.08 shows he’s generally gotten off to starts.
You need to have Labuschagne in your team for pure potential and form. He’s scoring runs irrespective of the format, and in the last outing, made 24 not out in just 13 balls. He can’t put a foot wrong nowadays, and even though his batting position appears a tad low, he’s well worth having. Don’t forget his leggies, which can be an added bonus.
Mohammad Nabi: Nabi has played only five games so far in the BBL, but in those, he’s done what he always does: scored runs at a blistering pace, been difficult to dismiss, and been useful with the ball. As an all-round package, Nabi is uniquely useful in T20 cricket. Invariably, he ends up contributing in at least one discipline, and often two.
James Pattinson: Strike bowlers are a prized possession in T20 cricket, as in all formats, and Pattinson has been that for the Heat whenever he’s played. Only five matches have netted him nine wickets, and his average of 16.88 is the best in the squad, given a minimum of 15 overs bowled.
Point to note
This will be the last league match of this year’s competition. The Renegades have nothing to lose, with no chance of qualifying. The Heat face a do or die situation: win and qualify, lose and miss out. The Renegades might choose to experiment with a few spots with a more long-term view, though there is the matter of ending the season well, given how it has gone.