CHRIS Gayle and his Caribbean sidekick Dwayne Bravo want to win Melbourne Renegades a home Etihad Stadium semi-final this season by catapulting the red team into the top two.

The Gades host Sydney Sixers — who they haven’t beaten for three seasons — on Wednesday night and are targeting their best start since BBL02, the only summer the Gades have played finals.

One of Australia’s top curators Les Burdett has helped prepare the red team’s drop-in wicket with chief executive Stuart Coventry wanting more runs after the club’s first three home games last summer failed to produce 35 overs.

Renegades star Dwayne Bravo is joined by Bollywood star Pallavi Sharda (blue) ahead of the “Bollywood Bash”. Picture: Mike Keating.

Renegades star Dwayne Bravo is joined by Bollywood star Pallavi Sharda (blue) ahead of the “Bollywood Bash”. Picture: Mike Keating.Source:News Corp Australia

Bravo said that the Etihad boundaries, like every cricket ground in the world, wouldn’t bother Gayle when his gold bat returns to the crease alongside devastating opener and Renegades skipper Aaron Finch.

“(Gayle) just wants to do well for the team and for us, as two overseas professionals, we want to make sure we get Renegades into the finals and into the top two to give ourselves the best chance of winning this title,” Bravo said on Tuesday.

“We play tournaments to win, not just to be a part of it and me personally I definitely want to win titles as that’s something I enjoy doing.

“We have one of the strongest teams in the tournament on paper. To have someone like Gayle and Finch open, I don’t think anyone will want to miss that kind of combination.”

Bravo — who performed his new song “Champion” as the Gades prepare to host a “Bollywood Bash” party on Wednesday night — said Gayle and his gold bat were keen to entertain the Melbourne fans.


The Etihad Stadium pitch is again expected to be spin-friendly and the Gades added recruit Nathan Hauritz into their squad alongside Carlton Cricket Club bowler Cameron Stevenson.

The Sixers have lost spinner Nathan Lyon to the Test squad with Ryan Carters and teenage spinner Riley Ayre added to the squad after Sunday’s 95-run win against Hobart.

Bravo guided the Gades to victory against Brisbane Heat with two big sixes in the penultimate over but he credited the win to the 111-run stand between Finch and Stars recruit Cameron White.

Finch said ripping the heart out of Sydney’s batting line-up would be critical to winning tonight.

“I think you need early wickets for a start. They’re such a dangerous side when (Brad) Haddin’s at the top and Michael Lumb — they can score as quick as anyone,” Finch said.

Gayle unleashes gold bat

“And then Maddo (Nic Maddinson), he’s as cleaner striker as any. You have to take wickets up front otherwise you’re going to be chasing a few.

“They’ve got a lot of tricks with their bowling with (Doug) Bollinger, (Sean) Abbott and Steve O’Keefe in the squad.”

Bravo said his “Champion” song was penned after winning the Caribeean Premier League at his home in Trinidad and Tobago and Gayle had contributed a few lyrics.

The entertainer reels off champions — “a positive person who’s done great things” — which include Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, Usain Bolt and Serena Williams.

And he even included Wendy Fitzwilliam, the Trinidad and Tobago glamour named Miss Universe in 1998.


By Adam