Renegades out for BBL first against Perth

Dec 28, 2017 - 5:05 AM Could Friday night's clash between Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers be a Big Bash League grand final preview?

The competition's two unbeaten sides meet at Etihad Stadium and Brad Hodge says the Renegades would be genuine contenders if they can beat the Scorchers for the first time in the team's history.

"They've been the best bowling unit in the competition for a long long time and our batting group is going to be challenged. It'd be a pretty special win," he said.

Even in their 7-1 season in 2012/13, when the Renegades were minor premiers, the Scorchers inflicted the team's sole loss.

It's been a millstone holding the Renegades back, but on current form, one they're well poised to rid themselves of.

In their two matches to date, Andrew McDonald's team have made short work of chases against Hobart and Brisbane.

Perhaps that's why opposing coach Justin Langer called the previously underperforming Renegades the team to beat this season - much to Hodge's amusement.

"Did he? That's interesting from a team that's three-time champions," Hodge laughed.

"Probably coaching 101 from JL to take the heat off.

"We'll embrace it.

"It's a really positive sign we're playing really pretty good cricket ... the comment's pretty just."

Part of overcoming the Scorchers is finding a way to handle Mitchell Johnson.

No one has bowled more dot balls in this year's competition than the 36-year-old, who Hodge praised.

"He's on fire isn't he. He's a pretty scary character," he said.

"It's really good when legends of the game come back and still continue to show how good they are. You almost question why they gave it up in the first place.

"We have to try and nullify the Mitchell Johnson effect."

At the other end of the speed gun, Brad Hogg will saddle up against the Scorchers in his second season in Melbourne.

"Hoggy versus his old team is going to be a pretty exciting one. Whenever you play against your old mates it's interesting and it can be difficult," Hodge said.

"I'm sure he'll rise to the occasion and bring his A game."

Hodge, 42, is yet to be dismissed, finishing off both of the Renegades run chases.

"It's nice to come in and put some icing on a cake that's already made," he said.

Source: AAP

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