The Melbourne Renegades are a force to be reckoned with in the world of Australian Twenty20 cricket. Based in the vibrant city of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, the Renegades are a prominent franchise club that competes in the prestigious Big Bash League (BBL). With a rich history and an ever-growing fan base, the Renegades have become an integral part of Melbourne’s sporting identity.
Leadership on and off the Field
Under the guidance of their skilled and experienced coach, David Saker, and the inspiring leadership of captain Nic Maddinson, the Melbourne Renegades have continued to make waves in the BBL. They represent a blend of seasoned veterans and emerging talents, making them a formidable team.
Home Advantage at Docklands Stadium
Docklands Stadium, affectionately known as Marvel Stadium, has been the cherished home ground of the Melbourne Renegades since the inception of the Big Bash League in 2011. The stadium boasts a unique drop-in pitch that is specially designed for cricket, providing the perfect setting for thrilling T20 action. Notably, at the conclusion of the 2016–17 Big Bash League season, Docklands Stadium was rated as the most entertaining venue for Twenty20 cricket in Australia, a testament to the electric atmosphere it creates for fans.
A Taste of Geelong
Since the 2017–18 Big Bash League season, the Renegades have expanded their horizons, playing up to two home matches at Kardinia Park in Geelong, situated approximately 70 kilometers southwest of Melbourne. This move has allowed fans in Geelong to witness top-tier T20 cricket up close and personal.
Overcoming Challenges in Unprecedented Times
The 2020–21 Big Bash League season presented unique challenges for the Melbourne Renegades and the entire league. Due to the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Renegades were required to adapt swiftly. As a result, they played their home matches at diverse venues across the country, including Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, and Adelaide Oval in Adelaide. This adjustment was necessary to navigate quarantine restrictions and ensure the safety of all involved.
The Renegades vs. The Stars: A Fierce Melbourne Derby
One of the most anticipated fixtures in the Big Bash League is the Melbourne Derby, a showdown between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars. This rivalry was established when Cricket Australia decided to place two teams in Melbourne at the league’s inception in 2011.
With both teams drawing their core group of players from the Victoria cricket team, the rivalry quickly became a spectacle in Melbourne, generating tremendous excitement among fans. The derby matches, held at iconic venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Docklands Stadium, consistently attract large and passionate crowds.
Notably, in the BBL05 season, the Melbourne Derby set a remarkable record by drawing a crowd of 80,883 during the first leg at the MCG. This remains the highest attendance for any domestic cricket match in the history of the sport, highlighting the magnitude of this fierce rivalry.
The Early Years (2011–2013)
The Renegades’ inception marked the beginning of an exciting cricketing journey. Led by foundation captain Andrew McDonald and coached by Simon Helmot, they embarked on their maiden season with a promising squad that included local talents such as Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Hodge, and Dirk Nannes, alongside international stars Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq.
The initial season posed challenges, resulting in only two victories against the Sydney Thunder and the Sydney Sixers. Aaron Finch’s remarkable performance with 259 runs and Shahid Afridi’s ten wickets were notable highlights.
The 2012–13 season marked a turning point, with star additions like Ben Rohrer, Peter Nevill, and legendary cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan. The Renegades’ exceptional performance during the regular season, finishing at the top of the ladder, showcased their potential. Aaron Finch’s century, a historic first for the Renegades, further cemented their status. Although they were eventually defeated in the semi-finals by the Brisbane Heat, the season was a considerable success.
Challenging Times (2013–2017)
Subsequent seasons brought forth challenges, with the Renegades struggling in the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons, despite making key signings like Matthew Wade and Callum Ferguson. These challenging seasons led to the departure of coach Simon Helmot.
The appointment of David Saker as the new coach for the 2015–16 season was a turning point. The Renegades welcomed experienced players such as Cameron White, Xavier Doherty, and the explosive Chris Gayle to fortify their squad. Although they narrowly missed the finals, finishing fifth, their performance was commendable.
Glory Beckons (2017–2019)
The 2017–18 season brought rejuvenation for the Renegades. With significant signings like Jack Wildermuth, Mohammad Nabi, Kieron Pollard, Tim Ludeman, Kane Richardson, and the return of Brad Hodge, they finally broke through to the finals after a five-year hiatus. Finishing third on the table and securing six victories out of ten matches, the Renegades showcased their determination. However, their semi-final dreams were crushed by the Adelaide Strikers, who triumphed by just one run.
The 2018–19 season was a story of champions in the making. With retirements taking away Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge, crucial signings such as Dan Christian, Cameron Boyce, Harry Gurney, and Usman Shinwari strengthened the team. The Renegades finished the regular season as runners-up behind the Hobart Hurricanes, setting up a home semi-final against the Sydney Sixers.
The semi-final, a nail-biting encounter, saw the Renegades chasing 181 runs for victory, with six wickets down for 148, needing 33 runs from 14 balls. It was a moment of heroics when Dan Christian and Kane Richardson secured the win with a single ball to spare. The final, a Melbourne Derby at Docklands Stadium, witnessed a remarkable victory against the Melbourne Stars. A modest total of 145 runs was defended with resilience, earning the Renegades their first BBL title.
Dan Christian’s all-round brilliance earned him the “Man of the Match” accolade, with 38 runs and crucial wickets. The victory marked a historic moment for the Renegades and their devoted fans.
The Melbourne Renegades’ journey in the Big Bash League is a testament to their unwavering spirit, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. With each season, they continue to etch their legacy in the annals of Australian cricket.
Melbourne Renegades: Navigating the Wilderness (2019–2022)
In the rollercoaster world of T20 cricket, the Melbourne Renegades faced a series of challenging seasons from 2019 to 2022. After tasting championship glory in 2018–19, they found themselves grappling with adversity and consecutive wooden spoons.
Change in Leadership
Their journey took an unexpected turn when coach Andrew McDonald, who had steered them to their maiden BBL title, departed in October 2019, just months before the 2019–20 season. Michael Klinger, a retired first-class cricketer, stepped into the role of head coach. Under his guidance, the Renegades aimed to defend their title.
Turbulent Start to 2019–20
The 2019–20 season began with high hopes, but visa players Usman Shinwari and Faheem Ashraf pulled out on the eve of the season. In their place, English duo Harry Gurney and Richard Gleeson joined the squad. Injuries and inconsistent form troubled the Renegades throughout the season, and they finished in 8th place. However, they managed to conclude the season on a winning note by defeating the Brisbane Heat.
A Continuation of Struggles (2020–21)
The subsequent season mirrored the challenges of the previous one. Visa recruit Imran Tahir withdrew due to personal reasons, and Australian test bowler James Pattinson was called back to the national team, rendering him unavailable for Renegades’ selection. Adding to their woes, frontline spinner Cameron Boyce had to withdraw from the season due to illness. Despite starting with a victory against the Perth Scorchers, the Renegades faced difficulties. In some matches, they experienced heavy defeats, often by over 100 runs.
Amidst these struggles, the silver lining was the emergence of young talents, including Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mackenzie Harvey, Will Sutherland, Zak Evans, Mitchell Perry, and Peter Hatzoglou. While they finished in 8th place once again, they managed to secure one more victory compared to the previous season.
Changing of the Guard (2021–22)
As the 2021–22 season approached, the Renegades witnessed significant changes. Head coach Michael Klinger stepped down from his position soon after their final victory in the 2020–21 season. Another pivotal change was the resignation of Aaron Finch as captain, only weeks before the new season. Nic Maddinson was chosen as the new skipper.
Despite these shifts, the Renegades faced a familiar outcome, securing the 8th position for the third consecutive season. A bright moment during this season was Cameron Boyce’s remarkable feat of taking four wickets in a row in the final match against the Sydney Thunder.
For the Melbourne Renegades, these years were a test of resilience and determination. Although they faced adversity on the field, they nurtured young talents and worked tirelessly to change their fortunes. As they look ahead, they aim to rise from the wooden spoon era and make their mark in the BBL once again.
Melbourne Renegades Squad:
Martin Guptill, Marcus Harris, Sam Harper (wk), Aaron Finch (c), Jonathan Wells, Matthew Critchley, Will Sutherland, Ruwantha Kellepotha, Tom Rogers, Kane Richardson, David Moody, Jake Fraser McGurk, Mackenzie Harvey, Jack Prestwidge, Corey Rocchiccioli