A sensational knock from Ben McDermott guided the Hobart Hurricanes to a comfortable six-wicket victory against the Melbourne Renegades at the Bellerive Oval on Saturday (19 December 2020). In pursuit of 158, the 26-year-old walked out to bat in the first over of the innings and looked at ease from the word go. He was unbeaten on 89 from 55 balls at the end, having hit seven fours and five sixes in his innings.
Earlier, the Hurricanes won the toss and put the Renegades into bat. After getting bowled out for 60 in their previous game, the last thing they would have wanted was a poor start, but that is exactly what happened here.
James Faulkner is making quite the habit of getting early breakthroughs this season. Here, he got his team off to a brilliant start by dismissing Renegades stand-in skipper Shaun Marsh for just one. With Aaron Finch missing, the Renegades would have been hoping the experienced Marsh would make a big contribution, but it wasn't to be.
In BBL 10 thus far, Faulkner has taken four wickets in the first over of the opposition's innings in four matches, which is a superb return.
Jake Fraser-McGurk, who opened the innings in the absence of Finch, also didn't last long as he was caught at slip off the bowling of Scott Boland who began his spell with a wicket-maiden.
It was the duo of Sam Harper and Rilee Rossouw who then consolidated the innings, bringing up their 50-run partnership off 42 deliveries.
The Renegades, in a surprising X-Factor move, decided to bring Mackenzie Harvey in to replace Peter Hatzoglou. Considering they were only two wickets down at the time, it didn't seem to make much sense to add another batsman to the XI. Asked for an explanation, Renegades coach Michael Klinger mentioned that the substitution was done to give more freedom to the batsmen in the middle and, from that viewpoint, it worked for a short time.
While both Rossouw and Harper began steadily, they stepped up a few gears once they got a start. Between overs 11-13, the Renegades scored 38 runs which put them in a very good position.
Rossouw brought up his maiden BBL half-century, and considering that he came into bat with the score reading 4/2, it was an excellent effort from the left-handed batsman. He was eventually dismissed by Nathan Ellis for 59 off 40 deliveries.
At the start of the 17th over, the Renegades decided to go for the Power Surge and the two overs with the fielding restrictions in place ended up being very productive for the batting team, with 14 runs scored off each over.
The second of those overs actually began poorly for them with Mohammad Nabi having to head back to the pavilion as he was adjudged to be out leg-before-wicket. Replays, though, showed that the ball pitched outside leg and Nabi will consider himself quite unfortunate.
The Hurricanes fought back well in the final two overs, with Ellis and Riley Meredith conceding just six runs each. The Renegades ended their innings on 157/5, with Harper top-scoring with an unbeaten 66 off 52 deliveries.
Just as the Renegades had lost a wicket off the third delivery of their innings, the Hurricanes did so as well. It was Josh Lalor with the crucial wicket of D'Arcy Short for one. In four innings thus far this season, Short has had three scores of two or lesser, which will be concerning for the Hurricanes.
While McDermott began positively, Will Jacks was run-out for 10 after some brilliant footwork from Lalor in his bowling follow-through.
Noor Ahmad, at the age of 15 years and 350 days, became the youngest man to play in the BBL and he made an impact with the wicket of Hurricanes captain Peter Handscomb. In fact, he was unlucky to have not followed that up with another scalp as Colin Ingram was struck on his pads only for the umpire to give the decision in favour of the batsman. Hawk-Eye's ball tracking showed that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps, but unfortunately for the Renegades and Noor Ahmad, there are no reviews in the BBL.
After a few tight overs, the 11th over proved to be costly for the Renegades as 23 runs were scored against Lalor. The left-arm pacer, despite taking a wicket with the new ball and then effecting a run-out earlier in the innings, didn’t seem to be 100% fit.
Leading the charge for the Hurricanes was McDermott who brought up his fifty off just 33 deliveries. He was well supported by Ingram, who after that reprieve early in his innings, got off to a start.
At the start of the 14th over, the Hurricanes decided to take the Power Surge. While it didn't start all that well, with Ingram getting dismissed by Kane Richardson, McDermott continued getting the big shots away, hitting Will Sutherland for back-to-back sixes in the following over.
On the back of McDermott's brilliance, the Hurricanes needed just 23 runs to win from the final five overs and they got there with ease, with Tim David hitting the winning runs for the Hobart-based franchise by striking consecutive sixes off Richardson.