It was a game reminiscent of the 2018/19 season. Melbourne Renegades - who were the champions then - dominated with bat and bowl. They did not allow Perth Scorchers - the team with the wooden spoon in that season - as much as a sniff throughout the game.
After bowlers wreaked collective havoc, Shaun Marsh killed the run-chase with a superlative effort. What's more, the Renegades also won the Bash Boost Bonus to earn all four points from the game.
New season, new hopes with the ball
Picking wickets was a struggle for the Renegades in the last season. The script took a u-turn in their first game in the new season. Each of the first three overs resulted in a wicket each. The new addition to side - Josh Lalor, brought in from the Heat - lifted the Renegades with two scalps upfront.
There was swing in the air for Lalor who bowled an exceptional first over at the right lengths. Kane Richardson did his bit taking the prized wicket of Josh Inglis in the second over.
The Scorchers' batsmen looked in an unusual hurry. There was a flurry of boundaries sprayed across the early wickets. But all the three dismissals came due to unnecessary aggression. Lalor cleaned up Colin Munro who danced down the track. Inglis and Joe Clark fell to aggressive shoots to short-pitched balls. Clark's aggression was the most surprising as he had already hit a four and six in the over while his team was two wickets down early.
The designated captain - Mitchell Marsh - and the acting captain - Ashton Turner - joined forces to stop the fall of wickets. Turner attacked the debutant leggie Peter Hatzoglou to collect three boundaries in the last over of the Powerplay.
Just when their senior men were looking set to resurrect their innings, a suicidal run broke their stand in the eighth over.
The way Turner had treated Hatzoglou in his first over, he did not seem like a threat at all. With no Turner around, Hatzoglou spun a web around the Scorchers' batsmen. He used his height to his advantage to deliver deliveries that angled back in and foxing the batsmen. He trapped Marsh and Cameron Bancroft in front while giving only 17 runs in his last three overs.
Being seven down and staring an early finish, they opt to take the two over Power Surge in the 15th over. That over did help them score 13 runs with Andrew Tye hitting one over the long-on fence.
With a 30-run eighth-wicket stand, Aaron Hardie and Tye looked like they will ensure that Scorchers bat out the overs. Especially Hardie who played a handy knock of 33 off 36 deliveries. But, once they were dismissed in back to back overs by Kane Richardson and Lalor, lasting full twenty overs seemed tough. Sticking to his back of a length all day, Kane Richardson finished their innings on the first ball of the last over. He ended up with the best figures on the day so far in the process.
A testament to the abject failure of Scorchers' batsmen on the night is the fact that they lost one wicket each in ten overs. Implying that the restless batsmen did not show patience to stitch a partnership. A phase of four and three overs without a wicket came during the small partnerships for the fourth and eighth wicket respectively.
In the words of the man of the match Lalor himself - "Marsh [Shaun] made a tough run-chase look like a walk in the park". After a troubled start against away going deliveries by Jason Behrendorff, Marsh got into his own. He was severe square of the wickets on both sides while playing some good shots down the ground as well.
The experienced heads of Marsh and Aaron Finch were happy to put a play and miss behind them to make full use of a loose ball.
Finch was quick on anything at his legs from the pacers and was solid down the ground as well. The pair added 70 runs for the first wicket and sucked the life out of any hopes that Scorchers had.
With not much to defend, none of the three pacers with international exposure had an impact on the game tonight.
Coming out of an injury, Jason Behrendorff bowled out with the new ball, but not before conceding 34 runs, 13 of which came in his last over. To make matters worse, it was also included a front-foot no-ball.
Both Finch and Marsh clobbered Andrew Tye for a six each. Finch smashed him down the ground while Marsh unleashed a pull that also won the Renegades the Bash Boost Bonus.
Jhye Richardson fared better than the other two. He dismissed Finch who skied a wide one. Running back from the covers, Mitchell Marsh held onto the chance with the tip of his fingers. With virtually nothing to defend, Fawad Ahmed did not have much say as well. But, he did lure Sam Harper into a drive and caught him in his follow through.
Marsh held one end up as he breezed past a half-century. But, Jhye Richardson ensured that he is not around till the end by cleaning him up but not before he had almost won the game for his side. As the team in the red faces the Sixers tomorrow afternoon (December 13), there will be a tab on beers which will be out to celebrate a superb start after a torrid last season.