Coming into the match having lost seven successive games, the Melbourne Renegades needed something special from one of their players to get them over the finishing line. And Mohammad Nabi raised his hand and did exactly that, producing a remarkable innings to guide the Renegades to a six-wicket victory against the Adelaide Strikers at the Adelaide Oval on Friday (8 January 2021).
A target of 178 was not going to be easy to chase down, but the Renegades managed to get there with one delivery to spare thanks to Nabi’s brilliant unbeaten 71. The Afghanistan star was well supported by Jake Fraser-McGurk, with the duo adding 68 runs for the fifth wicket from just 44 deliveries.
RENEGADES KEEP UP WITH THE RUN RATE BEFORE NABI HEROICS
When the same two teams met on Tuesday (5 January 2021), the Renegades got off to the worst possible start while batting with Aaron Finch dismissed off the first delivery of the innings. While the start wasn’t as bad this time around, they couldn't get through the Powerplay with all their wickets intact as Finch was dismissed by Wes Agar.
For a team that had the kind of record that the Renegades did before this match, every point would do at this stage of the competition. So, securing the Bash Boost point by having bettered the Strikers' score of 82 at the 10-over mark would have given the BBL 08 champions a lot of confidence.
But while the Renegades were batting at a brisk pace, not everything was going according to plan for the Melbourne-based franchise. The Strikers were getting timely breakthroughs, with Rashid Khan accounting for two wickets to put the match in the balance. Fellow spinner Danny Briggs was also bowling well, dismissing Mackenzie Harvey in his first over.
Peter Siddle bowled a superb 15th over, conceding just two runs which was even more impressive when you consider that it was during the Power Surge. And with 50 runs needed off the final five overs, it was anyone’s game at the time.
Nabi and Fraser-McGurk then batted superbly to take their team home. The former had a below-par season before this match, but he showed his class here with a knock that included nine fours and two sixes. There was no surprise when he was named the Player of the Match.
RENEGADES FIGHT BACK AFTER TOP START FROM STRIKERS
Earlier, after opting to bat first, the Strikers – who have often begun slowly this season – got off to a top start. While Phil Salt is expected to be the more attacking of the opening batsmen, it was Matt Renshaw who was more aggressive at the beginning of the innings.
Through the season, the first-wicket partnership has been a bit of an issue for the Strikers. Before this game, in eight innings, only thrice did Adelaide's opening stand reach double-digits in BBL 10. Here, Renshaw and Salt put on a partnership of 61, the Strikers' best opening stand of the season.
The Renegades had to wait until the eighth over for a breakthrough, with Jack Prestwidge striking with his first delivery. Renshaw would be frustrated to have not converted his start into a bigger score – after all, this was the fourth time that he has been dismissed in the 30s this season.
Salt then notched up his second half-century of the season and his 75-run partnership with Carey put the Strikers in a very good position. There was a bit of confusion in the 14th over as Carey seemed to signal for the Power Surge, but the umpire did not call it. Both teams didn't realise that and played on as if the fielding restrictions were in place. After three deliveries, the uncertainty was cleared as Carey showed great sportsmanship and mentioned that he had called for the Power Surge, following which the umpire made the signal.
Amidst all this chaos, Carey was batting superbly and struck three sixes and one four against Kane Richardson. 25 runs came off the first of the Power Surge overs, but the Strikers skipper had to head back to the pavilion an over later, dismissed for 42 by Imad Wasim.
Following Carey's dismissal, the Strikers lost their other set batsman Salt as well. Peter Hatzoglou was expensive in his first two overs but came back strongly by taking the wicket of not only Salt but Tuesday's Player-of-the-Match Ryan Gibson too in the same over. Jake Weatherald made a quickfire 19 before becoming Hatzoglou's third scalp soon after.
Prestwidge and Richardson bowled well at the death, conceding just 14 runs off the last two overs between them as well as accounting for one dismissal each during this period. While they didn't finish as well as they would have liked to, the Strikers would have been quite pleased with their total of 177/7 during the break. But it was clearly not enough in the end.