The Melbourne derby in the BBL, between the MCG-based Stars and the Docklands-based Renegades, has become among the most fiercely contested and eagerly anticipated rivalries on the annual T20 calendar. The crowds throng the grounds, rooting for their side of town, the players can feel the passion and the extra edge to the clash, and the organisers, of course, only know it too well. Here are five moments from previous derbies that capture the essence of the fixture and the drama that accompanies it.
Local boy Cameron White becomes MCG villain
When Cameron White made the switch to cross-town rivals Melbourne Renegades after being a key member of the Stars for four seasons, the MCG crowd made sure he copped some stick. Boos rang out through an 80,883-strong record crowd, and White was surprised about being meted out treatment usually reserved for defecting AFL stars. "I didn't really know what to expect. But in the back of my mind I thought, 'parochial Victorian supporters'. You see it in the footy a bit," White was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Zampa's "header" runs Nevill out
The 2015-16 BBL season's viral video moment came when Adam Zampa took a nasty blow to his head from a meaty Dwayne Bravo drive off his own bowling. The ball crashed into his nose off a deflection from non-striker Peter Nevill and onto the stumps. Even as Nevill came over to ensure Zampa was fine, the bowler was appealing for a run-out - Nevill was way short of his ground.
"I realised what had happened," Zampa said. "As soon as it hit me I said it's out, but it (my nose) was pretty sore." In the middle of a bizarre scenario, Nevill had not realised that he was out. "Jeff Joshua (the umpire) had to tap me on the shoulder and say, 'By the way mate, you're out,'" he said of the incident.
Zampa's "header" won him admirers, including lifelong Chelsea fan Alec Stewart.
Jumbotrons? In a cricket match?
Jumbotrons, large-screen displays popularized in American stadia by the NFL and NBA, made their cricketing debut at the indoor Docklands Stadium earlier this year. At 22m above the pitch, a pair of them were placed beyond normal hitting altitudes, and they provided a behind-the-bowler's-arm perspective for spectators sitting side-on in the stands. A record crowd at Renegades' home ground packed in to view the spectacle, and no batsman managed to do damage to them on the day.
Warne v Samuels and the aftermath
While the idea behind the "one city, two teams" formula was to create an intense spectacle, tempers crossed acceptable limits when Marlon Samuels and Shane Warne clashed on-field during the Melbourne derby in 2013. Samuels had grabbed David Hussey as he was trying to turn for a second run during the Stars' innings, angering Warne. During the second innings, Warne flipped the ball back at Samuels after he had driven Warne straight. Samuels reacted angrily to the provocation, throwing his bat over Warne's head. A mic-ed up Warne then proceeded to grab Samuels' shirt and ask him if he was planning to grab anyone else. He blamed Samuels for the incident, asking, "What are you meant to do when someone throws a bat at you?"
Samuels was out of the tournament with an eye wound from later in that game, but nearly three years later, he reignited the fire and dedicated his World T20-winning innings in Kolkata to Warne.
A BBL high, and a world record
When 80,883 people poured into the MCG for the Melbourne derby last year, it shattered the BBL record by a distance. The derby was among the best-attended franchise T20 games in the world. It was not the only record broken on the day, as the preceding WBBL derby became the best-attended women's domestic game, with a turnout of nearly 13,000.
Forget the result for a second pls...WHAT A F...K..G unbelievable crowd this eve! The @BBL is insane & Melbourne - I <3 you xxx— KP (@KP24) 2 January 2016