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BBL 2016-17, Match 30 Review: Finch, Perera power Renegades to sensational last ball victory

Aaron Finch of the Renegades
Aaron Finch of the Renegades. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Melbourne Renegades kept their hopes alive in the BBL after completing a sensational last-ball win against the table toppers Brisbane Heats at the Gabba today. It was a terrific brand of cricket from both the teams but in the end, the Renegades held their nerves and clinched a nerve-wracking encounter. The bowlers were smashed for plenty and both captains Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum smashed quick-fire half centuries for their respective teams. Chasing a daunting target of 200, the Brisbane Heats looked well on course to chase down the total but fell agonisingly close and eventually lost the match by a solitary run.

Brisbane Heats captain Brendon McCullum won the toss and opted to bowl. The Melbourne Renegades went off to a rollicking start courtesy their openers, Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris. Finch took on Mark Steketee in the very first over of the match and smashed a four and a six to ease the nerves if ever there was one. Seeing his partner smash the ball, Harris decided to join in the fun and struck two delightful boundaries of Jack Wildermuth in the very next over.

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The onslaught grew from strength to strength as it was the turn of Harris to smash Steketee out of the park and he obliges by hitting a six and a four in the 3rd over. With the score at 38/0 at the end of 3 overs, the Melbourne Renegades looked well on course for a mammoth total. Both McCullum and Harris kept on punishing the Brisbane Heats bowlers all around the Gabba and stitched together a sensational 106 runs partnership for the opening wicket in a mere 9 overs.

Aaron Finch smashed Marnus Labuschagne for three consecutive sixes in the 8th over to bring up the century stand between them. Harris was eventually dismissed in the first delivery of the 10th over. It was a slower delivery from Ben Cutting and Harris edged it straight to point fielder. The fours and sixes dried out for a brief period and it brought about the downfall of Arron Finch. The hard-hitter was dismissed by Steketee in the 14th over with a well-disguised slower delivery.

Tom Cooper came in the middle and struck two delightful boundaries before giving away his wicket in the 16th over to John Buchanan. Cameron White too fell cheaply as the visitors failed to capitalise on a sensational start. Their innings finally got some late impetus when Callum Ferguson smashed Ben Cutting for a couple of sixes and a four to propel the visitors to 199/7 in their allotted 20 overs.

Chasing a mammoth 200 runs to win, the fireworks started from the very first over as former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum went on the rampage from the outset and smashed Tom Cooper for a six and a four in the very first over to set things rolling for the hosts. Despite the breezy start, Heats lost their other opener Jimmy Pearson in the very first delivery of the 2nd over of the bowling of James Pattinson. Pearson failed to control a short delivery and ended up top-edging straight to the wicket-keeper.

Despite the wicket, there was no stopping McCullum. He stepped down the pitch and smashed Pattinson for a humungous six in the very next delivery and followed it up with two consecutive fours in the same over. Seeing McCullum smash the Renegades bowlers, Heazlett too decided to up the ante and smashed two consecutive boundaries of Nathan Rimmington in the 3rd over of the innings. The next over saw Sunil Narine being smashed for a four and a six by McCullum and Heazlett respectively.

The partnership grew from strength to strength as McCullum and Heazlett both smashed Tom Cooper for 21 in the 5th over. With the score at 84/1 at the end of the 5 overs, the Heats looked well on course to chase down the daunting target. But just when the duo was taking the match away from the Renegades, Thisara Perera struck in his very first over by removing Heazlett in the 6th over. Meanwhile, McCullum completed a terrific half-century in a mere 18 deliveries but with the fall of wickets, he had to curb his natural instincts and scored only 6 runs in the next 17 deliveries.

The run-rate came down by a considerable margin but with McCullum still in the crease, the match looked in Heats’ grasp. After hitting a four of Sunil Narine in the 11th over, McCullum gave away his wicket in the very next over to Thisara Perera. It was a huge wicket considering the context of the game as the Heats. One more wicket fell in quick time as the hosts were reduced to 129/4 in the 14th over.

Ben Cutting then smashed Perera for a couple of sixes in the 16th over to bring back the hopes for the Heats. Cutting was eventually dismissed in the 18th over by Rimmington and the chase looked pretty tall from there on but the Heats still knew they had a chance with Joe Burns still out in the middle.

With 18 runs required of the final over of Nathan Rimmington, Joe Burns changed the complexion of the match within a matter of two deliveries. The first two deliveries of the over went over the stands for monstrous sixes and with 5 required off 4 balls the match looked well and truly in the hosts grasp. But as they say “Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties as it was evident one more time.

Burns was dismissed by Rimmington in the 3rd delivery and with that, he also sealed the deal for the Renegades. Though he bowled a couple of wides but bowled some pretty good Yorkers. The Renegades eventually won the last ball thriller by a solitary run to keep their chances in the tournament alive.

Watch: Brendon McCullum displays ‘The Walking Shot’

Brief Scores

Melbourne Renegades 199/5 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 71, Marcus Harris 48, Mark Steketee 2/37)

Brisbane Heat 198 in 19.5 overs (Brendon McCullum 64, Thisara Perera 2/27)

Melbourne Renegades won by 1 run

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