The Melbourne Renegades had begun the 2019/20 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL) with nine successive defeats before ending the season at the bottom of the league table. Hence, when they started this season with a win, they would’ve been looking forward to a turnaround in fortunes. But that hasn’t happened as they have now lost seven consecutive matches after that victory in the first game.
The latest of those setbacks came against the Adelaide Strikers at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday (5 January 2021) with the BBL 8 champions succumbing to a 60-run defeat. While it was a fine display from the Strikers, it’s needless to say that the Renegades have a lot of work to do from here, especially with regards to their batting.
BATTING WOES CONTINUE FOR RENEGADES
Chasing a target of 172, the Renegades got off to the worst possible start with captain Aaron Finch dismissed off the first delivery of the innings. It was a soft dismissal as well, with Finch only managing to guide a delivery on his pads to his opposite number Alex Carey behind the stumps.
For a while after, though, it seemed like the team from Melbourne would turn a corner with Mackenzie Harvey and Sam Harper leading a gutsy fightback. The duo built an impressive 67-run partnership for the second wicket and, at the time, the Renegades seemed to have their noses slightly ahead.
But just as they looked to put their side in the driver’s seat, Harper was bowled for 31 by Danny Briggs in the 10th over. In fact, this was a crucial over in the context of the match and not only because of Harper's wicket. At the start of the over, the Renegades seemed to be cruising towards the Bash Boost point and needed just four runs off six deliveries. Briggs proceeded to bowl a fantastic over, conceding just one run.
From thereon in, it was all one-way traffic, with the Renegades losing nine wickets for only 44 runs. Pacers Wes Agar and Peter Siddle were the most successful of the bowlers for the Strikers, accounting for three dismissals each.
GIBSON, WEATHERALD’S EXCELLENT PARTNERSHIP PROPELS STRIKERS
After winning the bat flip and opting to bat, Ryan Gibson and Jake Weatherald's superb 96-run partnership propelled the Strikers to a total of 171/5.
While the Strikers seemed to be behind the eight ball for most of their innings, they managed to turn things around during the final stages. It all started in the 17th over when the batting side decided to take the Power Surge. The following couple of overs with the fielding restrictions in place proved to be highly productive for the team from Adelaide, with the duo of Gibson and Weatherald scoring 29 runs in those 12 deliveries.
Then came the most expensive over of the innings as Josh Lalor conceded 23 runs, mostly to Weatherald who was sensational. The left-handed batsman would bring up his half-century in the final over before falling for a 25-ball 51. Gibson was unbeaten on 43 from 31 deliveries at the end and was named the Player of the Match.
Earlier, the Renegades would have been pleased to have restricted the Strikers to 22/1 in the first Powerplay. In the initial three overs, despite the fielding restrictions, the Strikers managed just one boundary. Phil Salt, who is usually a very aggressive batsman, couldn't get going and eventually fell for a 11-ball 8 to Kane Richardson in the final over of the first Powerplay.
After a slow start, the pair of Matt Renshaw and Carey brought the Strikers on the front foot with a fine 54-run partnership for the second wicket. But just as Renshaw looked to up the scoring rate, he was caught at the square-leg boundary, only one delivery after he had hit a huge six. It was Mohammad Nabi with the crucial breakthrough for the Renegades.
Imad Wasim was bowling an economical spell and the pressure he put on the batsmen showed as he accounted for the important wickets of Jonathan Wells and the well-set Carey in the 11th over to put the Renegades on top. But after that, the Strikers fought back brilliantly and rarely did they let go of the advantage until the end.
On the back of this victory, the Strikers have moved up to the fourth spot, with 17 points from eight matches. On the other hand, the Renegades have just five points from eight games and require something extraordinary to qualify for the playoffs from here.