Sydney Sixers 4 for 171 (Hughes 41, Haddin 31*, Perera 2-26) beat Melbourne Renegades 6 for 170 (Finch 57, Ferguson 39, Dwarshuis 3-25) by six wickets
Daniel Hughes gave Sixers a quick start in their 171 chase © Getty Images
Amid a confusing conclusion, Sydney Sixers pulled off the highest successful BBL chase at the SCG – hauling down Melbourne Renegades’ 170 with three balls to spare – to move a step closer to finals qualifications.
Aaron Finch spoke after Renegades’ defeat to Stars on Saturday about how he was frustrated to keep falling in the 20s and 30s. So, having won the toss and chosen to bat (just the third time that has happened this BBL) he will have been pleased to make 57, his second – and Renegades’ third – half-century of the season. Only problem is, he was starved of the strike when at his most dangerous – in the Powerplay. He faced just eight balls for 12 runs in the first six overs as Sunil Narine, and then Cameron White, were dismissed without making a huge impact.
Finch grew into his innings, but with the field spread and the boundaries fairly long, he was unable to accelerate as he would have hoped. Indeed Renegades’ efforts to clear the ropes were not limited to their captain – they hit more twos – 18 – than they did fours and sixes – 17.
Ferguson shows his worth
Much has been made of the fact that Australia used four No. 6 batsmen in their six Tests this summer. Well, two of them were on show – and looking in good touch – here. The forgotten man, Callum Ferguson, was perhaps lucky to be retained in the Renegades team ahead of Marcus Harris, but after a slow start he anchored the rest of the innings well. Renegades had gone ten overs without taking ten from an over, but Ferguson – know for his classical strokeplay – smote the first two balls of the 20th over from Sean Abbott into the Bill O’Reilly Stand, with the first travelling 108m, the second longest six of the tournament.
Is there anything Aaron Finch can’t do?
Opening batsman, captain, death bowler. Now, wicketkeeper. Finch has done the lot this season. Rainfall had made the ground wet and Peter Nevill was hit on the forehead by a skidding throw from the deep and – after a lengthy delay – was asked by the doctor to leave the field for a concussion test. Much to the enjoyment of his team-mates, Finch strapped on the gauntlets. Just an over later, Nevill was cleared to return, but the trick worked – Sixers had been cruising to their target before the incident, but a ball after Finch padded up, Michael Lumb sent Thisara Perera straight to Narine at short third man!
Sixers chase – and that thrilling final over
Sixers’ chase went to the final over because the weight was spread and none of the top four capitalised on impressive starts. Openers Daniel Hughes and Michael Lumb set things up with a stand of 72. Then Nic Maddinson and Moises Henriques both got themselves in and got themselves out, with the former stumped off Narine and the latter picking out the man on the fence off the excellent Perera, whose variations and defensive bowling were outstanding in his first game for the Renegades.
And so came the confusing final over, from which Sixers required nine. With Brad Haddin set – but not striking the ball well – James Pattinson found a dot ball. Haddin threw his hands at a shortand wide ball, and got four through point, then – with the umpire’s arm outstretched for a no-ball – scrambled two into the legside. Sixers needed two from three, and from the resultant free-hit, Haddin was brilliantly caught on the fence at long-on by Cooper, but they sprinted through for two. As the umpire incorrectly signalled six, and Finch called for him to check Cooper’s foot, neither team appeared to know the game was over. But after the game, Haddin explained the ingenious strategy he and Jordan Silk used, and made it clear they knew what was happening.
“It wasn’t confusing for us!” said Haddin. “Silky just said to get it as high as I can off the free hit and we will run two, which would win us the game. I actually thought that Tom Cooper trod on the fence, but we knew exactly what we needed.”
The Renegades were a bit more confused, however. Captain Finch said after the game, “I thought they needed three when Jimmy [Pattinson] bowled that last ball!”
Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo