The Heat begin their BBL 12 campaign in Cairns on Thursday night when they host a Melbourne Renegades team desperate to start their season on a winning note after three disastrous seasons.
Until they prove they are a competitive Big Bash team, the Renegades have to be laid at every opportunity.
Winning three consecutive wooden spoons in a completely even competition with completely equal resources and a completely equal salary cap is an extraordinary achievement.
The ‘Gades have won three, four and three games in their last three seasons and while they have made significant change to their squad in response, key players like Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and Martin Guptill are all on the downside of their T20 careers. Andre Russell will join for the first four games fresh off a T10 stint in Abu Dhabi where he failed to scored more than 15 runs in seven of eight innings.
While the Heat bid farewell to Chris Lynn, his form was ordinary last season so the additions of Colin Munro, Sam Billings, Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja later in the summer look a net positive. Their bowling isn’t a strength, but it won’t need to be in this match-up.
There can be no confidence in the Renegades so the Heat are the bet here.
Steketee has started the domestic season in great touch and is a standout pick to top the wicket tally for the Heat.
The Queenslander has taken 25 wickets at 15 in Shield cricket this season, just two behind new Aussie Test squad member Lance Morris. He’s also taken 2+ wickets in his last two games against the Renegades and 2+ in 8 of his last 12 home BBL games.
While equal favourite Mitch Swepson has played international T20 cricket, he averages less than a wicket per game in the Big Bash.
Jono Wells is a very good inclusion for the David Saker’s team coming off a stellar BBL|11 season.
The Tasmanian scored the second-most runs of any batter last season, finishing with an average of just under 39. He’s also passed 20 in each of his last four games against the Heat.
Finch, Marsh and Russell have all been horribly inconsistent in recent years so Wells is a strong play to top score for the ‘Gades.
Same Game Multi
Heat H2H / Wells 20+ runs / M.Steketee 2+ wickets