The last time the Renegades and the Stars clashed in a Melbourne Derby in the Big Bash League, a record crowd turned up to watch the two teams slug it out T20 style. With Chris Gayle set to play in his first match following the sexist remarks to TV reporter Mel McLaughlin, expect this Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars Big Bash League matchup to get cranked up another level, in terms of pressure, interest and let's-see-how-Gayle-performs.
Gayle will be the cynosure of this match, with the left-hander expected to be selected for in the playing XI for the Melbourne Renegades. Having escaped with just a fine for flirting with McLaughlin on live TV earlier this week, Gayle will hope to put all those controversies behind him and get the cricketing world talking about his prowess with the bat again.
"Having Chris [at the top] keeps the opposition bowlers under a lot of pressure," Cameron White told the Renegades' official website. "He's been threatening to play a real big hand, so hopefully this is the time he does it."
How much this Gayle furore will affect the Renegades team as a whole we will find out on Saturday, but the Stars will hope to take advantage of any possible uneasiness hovering around their opponents.
This is a more important BBL game for the Renegades, because they currently lie in a precarious position, having managed just two wins in five matches. A loss against the Stars, and their hopes of moving into the playoffs this season could be gone. A win, however, and they will be right back in the mix, level with their crosstown rivals on three wins.
Both the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars will be without star players, owing to Australia duty. While the Renegades will be without skipper Aaron Finch and Matthew Wade, the Stars will miss the services of Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Scott Boland. The Stars certainly look weaker for those absences, and the Renegades stand-in captain White is hopeful of a victory.
"In this game it's an interesting one, because the teams from last week have changed so much," White told the franchise's official website. "It's almost basically like a new game altogether.
"We'll look to play the game a little differently in terms of our tactics and no doubt the Stars will be the same. The conditions and dimensions are different at Etihad. We've got some things that we need to concentrate on, like all teams do, that's basically what it comes down to."
Squads: Melbourne Renegades: Cameron White (C), Aaron Ayre, Tom Beaton, Dwayne Bravo, Tom Cooper, Xavier Doherty, Cameron Gannon, Chris Gayle, Nathan Hauritz, Ben McDermott, Peter Nevill, Cameron Stevenson, Chris Tremain.
Melbourne Stars: David Hussey (C), Michael Beer, Seb Gotch, Evan Gulbis, Peter Handscomb, John Hastings, Ben Hilfenhaus, Kevin Pietersen, Rob Quiney, Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Worrall, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa.
Where to Watch Live
Melbourne Renegades vs the Melbourne Stars is scheduled for a 7.10 pm local time (2.40 pm IST, 8.10 am GMT, 3.10 am ET) start. The match involving the under-fire Chris Gayle can be watched live in India on Star Sports 1/HD1. Viewers in India can also watch the match via live streaming online on Starsports.com and Hotstar.com.
Sky Sports 2 UK will broadcast the BBL Melbourne Derby live in the UK and Ireland. The match can also be live streamed online on Sky Go.
Willow TV and Willow TV Online is the place to be to watch the BBL game live in the US.