Big Bash; Aaron Finch will play his final game at the MCG

The importance of a win in the Big Bash Melbourne derby for the underachieving Stars at the MCG on Saturday night cannot be understated.

Taking down their cross-town rivals, and cellar-dwellers, the Renegades will point the Stars in the direction of the finals and put them within touching distance of the title that has eluded one of the most power-packed teams in the tournament.

But in a significant sign of how revered former Australian and Renegades captain Aaron Finch is among all his peers, teammates and rivals, Stars all-rounder Marcus Stoinis said losing what is a tribute game to the retiring superstar would make defeat much easier to swallow.

Finch, a foundation Big Bash player, a foundation Renegades star, is signing off after a hall of fame career in whiteball cricket that includes the second-most amount of runs in Big Bash history.

He is one of just two players with more than 3000 runs in the competition, his 3311 behind only Chris Lynn (3725) on the all-time list.

Standing next to spin star Adam Zampa, who Stoinis will play against on Saturday night at the MCG but has played with, under Finch as captain in Australian ODI and T20 teams, the all-rounder said his former skipper’s impact on so many players had been profound.

“Obviously he’s been great for the BBL, been great for the Renegades, for Victorian cricket and Australian cricket,” Stoinis said.

“But for us, we’ve got a different lens in that he helped nurture us through our early stages of playing for Australia. He captained us pretty much the whole time.

“He was the one that sort of in those first games where we weren’t feeling comfortable in ourselves, threw us the ball kept us going, educated us.

“So as much as he’s in the opposition. I’m glad that it’s working out that I get to play in the game that is his farewell because he deserves a farewell.

“I do hope we win, but he deserves to have a great night.”

Zampa, who crossed to the Renegades for one final season playing with Finch, who has only managed four games, said his impact on cricket would be long-lasting.

“He’s one of those inaugural players from the first year that the competition was built around,” Zampa said.

“I don’t think the BBL would be in the position it is without players like Finchy.

“He’s been a mainstay of the Renegades for 13 years now and his contribution will be, we’ll be forever be grateful for players like him.

“We’ll probably definitely see him around the cricket circles, that’s for sure. But yeah, it’s exciting to kind of have this opportunity to say goodbye to him.”

Finch led the Renegades to a maiden BBL title in the summer of 2018/19, the side overcoming local rivals the Melbourne Stars in the final.

“No moment can compare to winning the BBL title, that for me was very special and something I’ll remember,” Finch said.

He was named captain in the Renegades’ team of the decade in 2021 and holds the record for most appearances with the franchise – 107, including Thursday night’s game.

A foundation player for the Renegades, Finch is currently the second-highest run-scorer in BBL history with 3311 runs behind only Chris Lynn, who has made 3638.

Finch has played 106 games for the Renegades, and captained the club to its one and only Big Bash title, a victory over the Stars, in the 2018-19 season.

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