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Melbourne derby to kick-start Big Bash League in 2017

Kevin Pietersen is set to return to Melbourne Stars
Kevin Pietersen is set to return to Melbourne Stars

12th Match - Melbourne Stars v Melbourne Renegades
1st January, Melbourne Cricket Ground, 18:10 local | 7:10 GMT

The 2017 Big Bash League kicks off with the Melbourne derby when Melbourne Stars lock horns with Melbourne Renegades in the 12th match of the tournament at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Even though Melbourne Renegades had a promising start to the tournament with a 49-run win, they would be highly disappointed with their last ball defeat to Perth Scorchers where Ashton Agar plundered a six off the last ball. There has been heavy reliance on skipper Aaron Finch and the fact that they lost their premier all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to injury will not help their cause either.

Bravo has been replaced by Trent Lawford in the 13-man squad. The likes of Cameron White and Callum Ferguson will have to step up and so does the spin combination of Sunil Narine and Brad Hogg, who hold the fulcrum of the bowling department.

Melbourne Stars will be boosted by the return of swashbuckling batsman Kevin Pietersen but the fact that they achieved a comfortable win against Hobart Hurricanes even without him will be an heartening factor. With likes of Adam Zampa, James Faulkner and Ben Hilfenhaus, without a doubt they possess one of the strongest bowling unit in the tournament.

The batting is no different as Rob Quiney, Luke Wright, Glenn Maxwell and David Hussey will join forces along with Pietersen and can literally tear apart any bowling making them a complete all-round side and a genuine title contender.

Face to Face:

Melbourne Stars emerged victorious on both occasions when they faced each other last season.

In their first game, John Hastings picked four wickets to restrict Melbourne Renegades to 161 after which Luke Wright slammed a century to complete the chase in 19.1 overs with seven wickets in hand.

In the second game, it was the turn of Marcus Stoinis, who kept down Renegades to 155 and Pietersen responded with an unbeaten 67 off 43 deliveries to win the game in 18 overs with eight wickets in hand.

Squads from:

Melbourne Stars: David Hussey (c), Michael Beer, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, Cameron Gannon, Evan Gulbis, Sam Harper, Ben Hilfenhaus, Glenn Maxwell, Kevin Pietersen, Marcus Stoinis, Luke Wright, Adam Zampa

Melbourne Renegades: Aaron Finch (c), Tom Cooper, Callum Ferguson, Marcus Harris, Brad Hogg, Trent Lawford, Sunil Narine, Peter Nevill, Nathan Rimmington, Chris Tremain, Matt Short, Cameron Stevenson, Cameron White

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