Both on and off the field, the Renegades’ BBL13 campaign has provided its fair share of challenges.
Prior to the tournament, fans were full of promise. The arrivals of Peter Siddle, Adam Zampa, Quinton de Kock and Joe Clarke were enough to awaken an element of hope that has slowly fizzled since their BBL08 victory.
Will Sutherland and Jake Fraser-McGurk also impressed throughout 2023 across the List-A and First-Class formats, with the latter breaking the record for the fastest List-A century off only 29 balls.
What has eventuated has been far from ideal, culminating in only one win for the tournament thus far.
Off the field, captain Nic Maddinson remains sidelined based on form, whilst veteran Aaron Finch was also not selected for last night’s Melbourne Derby.
To add to their selection troubles, acting captain Will Sutherland confirmed post game that Renegades fans have seen Joe Clarke and Mujeeb Ur Rahman for the final time this season. Clarke has been ruled out with a quad injury suffered in their win against the Adelaide Strikers last Friday night.
Meanwhile, Mujeeb is also unlikely to feature again in BBL|13 due to the repercussions of an ongoing contract dispute with the Afghanistan Cricket Board.
“It’s not great, is it?” Sutherland said.
“We missed Mujeeb early tonight, I think with five bowling options and the way the wicket turned out to be, we probably needed two spinners out there.”
“[Clarke’s] going [too]- he’ll be out for 3 to 6 weeks I’d say.
“There’ll be some good opportunities there for a few guys. Ruwantha (Kellapotha) and even Fergus O’Neill, so it’ll be good to see what those guys do.”
It begs the question, where to now for the Renegades?
They’ve come close to victory on multiple occasions – against both the Scorchers and the Sixers – whilst last night’s Derby, as well as their first meeting with the Scorchers, have been affected by rain.
After letting such games slip – Sutherland is “not sure it’s mathematically possible” to consider the possibility of finals. However, he believes the team needs to remain optimistic to reward their fans.
“I think we need to get some wins for our fans first and foremost,” he said.
He’s setting his sights towards tomorrow’s match against the Hurricanes, hoping they can finish their season with some momentum.
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Sutherland believes the main catalyst for their downfall last night was the inability for their batters to maintain their spot at the crease.
“We just lost probably a few too many wickets. To be seven wickets down, I think it was, in a 14 over game, probably a few too many,” Sutherland said.
“So we just didn’t give ourselves a chance with wickets in hand at the end.
“I think in hindsight it was actually a big toss [in a 14 over game]. They were able to just take it nice and easy, they knew they just needed a few wickets in hand – surge at the end and they were able to get the job done.”
The return of Shaun Marsh has elevated the Renegades’ attack, contributing to their first win of the season against the Strikers on Friday. However, they have struggled to maximise partnerships and stick to a tactical plan throughout the tournament. As well as this, their ability to find boundaries has oftentimes been limited to the power play and power surge respectively – especially in comparison to top-performing sides.
Sutherland’s plan to bowl Jono Wells – who hasn’t bowled in a BBL match for 11 years – was strong, however, it didn’t have the effect that he hoped.
“I got a little bit greedy there with the wicket being a spin friendly,” Sutherland said when asked why he didn’t bowl.
“Maybe I should have bowled as well.
“I think with Beau Webster and Tom Rogers, there was a decent match up there. It didn’t work out how I would have planned, but I think it was a conducive spin wicket, so that was my thinking.”
With their limited availabilities, Sutherland, alongside fellow young star Fraser-McGurk, have crucial roles to play in reviving the Renegades’ season.
Adam Zampa will need to find form fast, taking only two wickets from 171 balls across the Renegades’ past five matches.
There is, though, still that hope that began to fizzle prior to the tournament. Despite the setbacks, the Renegades’ list boasts promising young talent combined with experience. They are only a few minor tweaks away from reviving their season.
It’s all-or-nothing as BBL13 winds up, but to answer Sutherland’s question – it is still mathematically possible.