COVID-19 continued to play a major part in the Stars BBL|11 campaign, with English import Joe Clarke and Ringwood CC batter Tom Rogers both forced outs from the previous match.
Again though, this opened the door for Victorian Sheffield Shield batter Travis Dean and debutant Patrick Rowe, who has averaged 94 in Victorian Premier Cricket this season, to take their place in the playing eleven.
The Stars won the toss and elected to bat first and Dean looked comfortable at the level, scoring 32 runs off 26 balls.
However, it was Renegades captain and former Star Nic Maddinson (3/20 off four overs) who caused trouble, taking the first three wickets of the match dismantling the Stars top order.
England international Reece Topley (3/27 off four overs) removed captain Glenn Maxwell early and the Stars were forced to restabilise, primarily through Hilton Cartwright, who scored 41 runs off 29 balls.
Inexperience proved tricky for the Stars, however they managed to post 126 runs despite the early loss of wickets.
Forced to defend a low total, Stars skipper Maxwell captained aggressively early, using Qais Ahmad (1/33 off four overs) in the powerplay. The move paid dividends as the mystery spinner dismissed Sam Harper for in his first over.
A 63-run stand from experienced pair Aaron Finch (50 offf 40) and Shaun Marsh (21 off 17) laid the platform for the Renegades.
Tom O’Connell played his role with the ball taking 2/11 from his two overs, which included a spectacular catch by Haris Rauf to dismiss Aaron Finch.
Gades duo Mackenzie Harvey (23* off 25) and James Seymour (17* off 14) finished the job off for the Renegades with two overs to spare, achieving the Renegades second win of the season.
As one of the more senior members of the Stars, Hilton Cartwright stood up with the bat when it mattered.
Cartwright hung around despite the wickets crumbling around him, as he put together a composed 41 runs off 29 balls.
Cartwright’s BBL|11 has been the pinnacle of consistency so far. He has reached double figures in every match and has now made 40+ runs in an innings on three occasions.
He has also been the Stars most prolific batter to this point of the tournament, accumulating 256 runs with a strike rate of 147.
Joe Clarke’s COVID absence paved the way for Pakistani quick Ahmad Daniyal to make his Big Bash League debut. It did not take too long for Daniyal to have an impact either, as he managed to break the partnership between Marsh and Finch removing Marsh caught at fine leg. He finished with figures of 1/24 off three overs and will look to build on his Stars debut as the tournament progresses.
The next Melbourne Stars match is scheduled for Friday the 7th of January against the Adelaide Strikers.