Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell may know each another better than any two cricketers in Australia, but the former housemates aren’t expecting any favours from the other come Sunday’s KFC Big Bash final.
With no silverware to show from the first seven BBL seasons, the two Melbourne BBL sides are set for an intriguing decider on Sunday at Marvel Stadium after the Maxwell-led Stars and the Finch-skippered Renegades held their respective nerves in tense semi-finals.
Not only are the pair two of the most destructive limited-overs batters in the world, Maxwell and Finch also lived together in Melbourne's north-west for one year.
Having watched countless games of cricket together and shared their inner-most feelings when times were at their toughest, there isn't much the pair don't know about one another.
"We talk about cricket probably as much as two blokes do," said Maxwell. "Having lived together we've always discussed tactics and certain things we'd do watching the game – we do watch a lot.
"It's just a really exciting opportunity – two really close mates going up against each other in the final."
Although a plot from the Stars to hijack the final from the Docklands to the bigger MCG has been nipped in the bud (and today passed off as theatre by club chairman Eddie McGuire), there was a distinctly Melbourne-vibe to Saturday's pre-game media opportunity.
McGuire and his Renegades counterpart, Jason Dunstall, are two of Melbourne’s most recognisable sporting personalities – both hail from Victoria's dominant sporting code – while Finch and Maxwell both talked at length about Melbourne's other favourite past time – coffee.
The pair, incidentally, had run into each other that morning at their local café in Aberfeldie.
When asked about his relationship with Maxwell, Finch said it would have little bearing on Sunday’s match.
"You always want to beat whoever you play, regardless of whether it's your mate or someone you've never played before," said Finch. "I think it's important that you go in with that winning attitude.
"One team's going to win, one team's going to lose, it's just about embracing that, taking the game on and not taking a backward step."
Maxwell admitted there's hardly a detail the pair haven't shared with one another.
"I do know him really well, I suppose that comes from training together a lot and talking through each others' games a lot and being completely honest with each other," said Maxwell.
"We've shared our vulnerabilities to each other pretty openly when we have been struggling at times and vice versa, we've been able to share what's going well when things have been working with us.
"I suppose having that level of communication has been great for both of our development and keep us at the top of our games for a long time."
For Maxwell, in his first season captaining the Stars, the summer represents a major personal success regardless of Sunday's result.
The club had a horror BBL07, finishing bottom of the standings, but have bounced back this summer with a renewed focus on bowling strength to topple the summer's standout side, the Hobart Hurricanes, in Thursday’s semi.
Maxwell revealed his charges' calm response to an embarrassing defeat to the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba, where Ben Cutting and Max Bryant chased down 158 in just 10 overs, was an enormous moment in their season.
"I've really enjoyed the captaincy but it comes down to the guys also responding to that - I can give as many directions as I like but if they're not responding it's probably null and void,” he said.
"The fact the playing group have been so accepting of me … I can't speak highly enough of how well they've done to adapt to split second decisions and random field changes – they've been brilliant.
"I think we've just peaked at the right time of the tournament … I think that Brisbane Heat game really showed to us, it actually showed me the character in the field.
"I thought we took that really well, two guys going off and there wasn't much we could do about it. The way we still kept our heads up – you can quite easily drop your bundle and the whole season just disappears like that.
"That's a sign of a really good side and I hope we can put a similar performance tomorrow."
Finch meanwhile has had an eventful summer – it begun with him being appointed captain of Australia's one-day side months out from a World Cup, before he then made a long-awaited Test debut and had an encouraging first series in the UAE.
The opener has since lost his spot in the Test side and although he's been a little short of his usual destructive self back in the BBL, Finch is confident he can produce on the biggest stage.
"It's been a little bit patchy, no doubt, which has been the case all summer," Finch said of his own form. "Hopefully tomorrow night, (I can) come out and smack some.
"Hopefully we can pack out the place and make it a real celebration of what has been a really special Big Bash in going to 14 games for the first time - just making it a great event for Victorian cricket as well."
The 2018-19 KFC BBL Final will be on Sunday Feb 17 at 2.45pm AEDT at Marvel Stadium. Tickets on sale here