It was with much anticipation that the first Melbourne Derby of BBL04 took place at Etihad Stadium last night, but unfortunately for Renegades fans, the anticipation far outweighed the return.
In fact, as a Renegades fan, I managed to only find solace in the fact that the bacon, beef and cheese burgers at Etihad Stadium were quite delicious. Well, almost find solace.
It was never going to look pretty when opening strike bowler James Pattinson conceded 13 runs in the opening over – a far cry from his return of 3/24 just days earlier against Sydney Thunder in his return to the international cricket scene, including the prized wickets of Jacques Kallis and Michael Hussey – but no one would have expected what transpired for the rest of the evening.
On a day that got to 38 degrees in the city, the Stars looked relatively comfortable and scored at will to reach 6-169 off their 20 overs, a tally that should have been within reach of the ‘Gades; but was anything but.
#GetOnRed may be the catchcry of the Renegades, but it will be replaced by #RedFaced after their abysmal effort to stumble to a record low score of just 57 – the lowest team score in the relatively short history of the Big Bash League.
In fact, after sitting through the innings in the overbearing heat at Etihad Stadium, I’m nearly tempted to say they were lucky to even make 40.
The crowd let out the biggest cheer for the night when the team reached 50 runs – a testament to how insipid the home team were throughout their innings. With only Tom Cooper batting at four and Sundries making double figures – that’s correct, SUNDRIES – the Renegades were never going to be a realistic chance for a win, but to be that badly belted at home was nothing short of an embarrassment.
With West Indian pair Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell now finished completing their contract and heading off to South Africa to compete against the Proteas in their three match T20 series, the “thanks and good luck” message was well and truly lost in the figures of the Stars three Bs – Beer, Bird and Boland – who returned 2/14, 2/12 and 2/10 respectively off their spells, tearing apart the top and middle order.
Whilst Bravo was handy with the ball returning 3/22 off his three over spell, he was just as horrific with the bat as the rest of his team-mates.
33,430 people braved the weather to watch a collapse of monumental proportions, that saw the score sitting at 5/16 half way through the fifth over. In fact, not even multiple attempts of the Mexican Wave could salvage the night for most.
As my boyfriend so eloquently summed it up after getting a Renegades membership as a Christmas present – “Worst. Christmas. Present. Ever.”
(Note to self: do not get him a sporting club membership for presents in the future if I want the club to actually perform).
The question is, what actually happened? Was it a reflection of how well the Renegades are actually playing, or was it just an aberration that happens every now and then and we forget all about it?
The Renegades, on paper, are a class side that shouldn’t ever have a result like that forced upon them. Unfortunately for them though, the game was not played on paper.
Let’s be honest – they were terrible. Horrific. It was like watching a car crash and not knowing how it was possible for the car to keep crashing; like a stupid horror movie that scares the pants off you but for some idiotic reason, you continue to watch instead of leaving early to beat the traffic home.
Yes, I can take some positives from the match. They can’t possibly play that badly again, so there’s that. The chances of a repeat performance this year are slim. Hopefully, they would have learned a lot from last night – like how NOT to bat, how NOT to bowl and how NOT to sledge the opposition in the first innings before you’ve actually faced a few balls yourself.
Englishman Ben Stokes and Bangladeshi Shakib Al-Hasan, widely regarded as the best T20 player in the world, now fly to Melbourne to replace Bravo and Russell so will not have the pain of last night’s demoralising defeat in their shoulders.
But yes, it hurts more because it was the local derby. It hurts more because the cross town rivals have the upper hand leading into Saturday’s return derby at the MCG. It probably hurts the most that Kevin Pietersen actually won a game in BBL – yes, I was hoping and yes, one can only wish.
The Stars now look down the barrel of a home game against the Sydney Sixers, currently flying at the top of the ladder, Monday night whilst the Renegades need to lick their wounds and go onto the front foot with a trip to Hobart to face the Hurricanes on Wednesday. With the Hurricanes coming off a strong and unexpected win against the Brisbane Heat on Friday night, the Renegades have one hell of an ask.
To sum up the first Melbourne Derby of BBL04 – when the highlights of the evening include a member of the crowd asking what state in Australia Bravo plays for and a picture of Adam Gilchrist swimming half naked accidentally put on the big screen, you know the cricket hasn’t been fun as you would have liked it to be.
At least the burgers were good.