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Sunday's Big Bash League Preview: Heat can take massive step

The race for play-off spots intensifies on Sunday when Brisbane Heat take on rock-bottom Melbourne Star and table-topping Perth Glory host Melbourne Renegades.

Perth have won 10 of their 13 Big Bash matches to date while the Renegades have been very inconsistent, winning six and losing six of their 12 fixtures.

Brisbane head into Sunday’s games just one point behind the Renegades so know that victory against the hapless Stars is vital for them.

In-form Heat target four in a row

WhatBrisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars
WhereThe Gabba, Brisbane
When13:40, Sunday 22nd January 2023
How to watchFox Sports, Kayo, 7 Network
OddsBrisbane Heat 7/10, Melbourne Stars 59/50

Brisbane Heat appear to have hit form at exactly the right time. When they were thrashed by Perth Scorchers just over a week ago their play-off hopes appeared to be over.

However, they have recorded successive victories over Adelaide Strikers, Melbourne Stars and Hobart Hurricanes and are 7/10 to beat the Stars again on Sunday.

Their victory against Hobart on Friday was built on a fine bowling display after they had scored 162-5 in their 20 overs.

The Hurricanes appeared to be on course for victory when they reached 73-2 at the end of the 11th over but, after Matthew Wade (45) had been dismissed by James Bazley, they faltered and eventually lost by 12 runs.

Matt Renshaw bowled three overs of off-breaks for figures of 1-14 and Spencer Johnson went at less than a run a ball in taking 1-22 in his four overs.

Renshaw can be backed at 14/1 to be the Top Bowler in the game while Johnson is available at 9/2.

Renshaw had earlier scored 41 from 31 balls. He is Brisbane’s key player at the moment as he hit a last-ball boundary earlier in the week as the Heat beat the Stars by three wickets at the MCG.

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The Stars have endured a dismal campaign and have been too reliant on runs from Joe Clarke, while English left-armer Luke Wood has been their best bowler.

They have a strong squad on paper but the likes of Trent Boult, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have failed to come up with the goods on a regular basis.

Melbourne Stars have lost nine of their 12 fixtures this season and will be desperate to reproduce the form they showed earlier this month when they thrashed Adelaide Strikers by nine wickets, Coulter-Niles taking 3-17. Coulter-Nile is 11/4 to be the Top Bowler in the match.

Scorchers still the team to beat

WhatPerth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When19:15, Sunday 22nd January 2023
How to watchFox Sports, Kayo, 7 Network
OddsPerth Scorchers 14/25 Melbourne Renegades 29/20

Perth come into the game on the back of two comfortable seven-wicket victories over the Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes and they seem determined to finish the regular season at the top of the table.

David Payne (3-20), Peter Hatzoglou (3-14) and Lance Morris (3-26) made history in Friday’s match against Hobart, becoming the first trio to take three wickets in the same innings of a Scorchers match. Payne is 3/1 to be the Top Team Bowler in the game while Hatzoglou is available at 9/2 and Morris at 13/5.

Aaron Hardie and Josh Inglis ensured the run-chase was a mere formality.

The Melbourne Renegades suffered an eight-wicket defeat to the Sydney Thunder in their last match - a result that dented their play-off aspirations. They have lost two of their last three matches with their one win coming against Melbourne Stars.

Will Sutherland has been excellent for the Renegades this season, and he impressed again against the Thunder thrashing 26 runs off the final over with three sixes and a four as his side reached what in the end was a below-par 142-9.

Corey Rocchiccioli made a good impression on his Renegades debut, taking the wickets of David Warner and Ollie Davies in two balls. However, if the Renegades are to clinch a crucial victory they will probably need Aaron Finch to enjoy a memorable day. Finch is 10/3 to be the Top Team Batter in the encounter which the visitors are 29/20 To Win.

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